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Omaha Internet Crime Lawyer

Legal Defense Against Internet Crime Charges

Internet crimes can be prosecuted under state or federal law. They carry heavy penalties, including jail time and fines. Many internet crimes in Nebraska are charged and prosecuted under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, at 18 U.S. Code § 1030. An offense under this act involves knowingly and intentionally accessing certain information on a computer without authorization or in a manner that exceeds the person’s authorization. This federal act is interpreted broadly to include several different actions, including:

  • Phishing -- attempting to acquire sensitive data through fraudulent solicitation by email or on a website
  • Trafficking computer passwords
  • Computer trespassing -- gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer
  • Obtaining classified government information
  • Threatening harm to a computer or system

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Common Internet Crimes

Internet and cybercrimes are on the rise. In addition to phishing, the following are among the most common internet and cybercrimes today:

  • Ransomware: This crime involves installation of malicious software on a system by hackers. Essentially, the software holds information for ransom. It may shut down the victim’s computer or encrypt the files until the victim pays a ransom. In many cases, the files are never recovered.
  • Account hacking: A hacker gains access to a victim’s accounts containing personal information without authorization.
  • Intellectual property theft: Music, movies, and books are illegally obtained and made available for free download. Not only is this a crime against the artists, but many of these illegal downloads contain hidden malware.
  • Credit card fraud: A significant percentage of credit card fraud starts with spyware installed on someone’s computer or device without that person’s knowledge. The spyware runs in the background, collecting data that is used to make fraudulent purchases.
  • Prostitution: Escorts advertise their services on their personal websites, in social media forums, or in online classifieds. This is illegal in most states in the U.S.
  • Child pornography and solicitation: Perpetrators gain access to sexually explicit images of children through the internet. In some cases, they arrange for personal meetings.
  • Drug trafficking: Online drug trade has increased with the rise of cryptocurrency. Offenders use the internet to purchase or sell illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, and marijuana.
  • Stalking: Cyberstalkers use email, social media, or websites to stalk and harass victims. Online harassment may involve threats, false accusations, slander, libel, or other embarrassing or demeaning behavior.

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What Are the Legal Defenses for Internet Crimes?

To convict a person of an internet offense, the prosecution must prove all elements of the crime. A common defense is to demonstrate that one or more of these elements are lacking. Legal defenses frequently used against charges of internet crimes include:

  • Lack of intent to commit a crime
  • Use of defendant’s identity by someone else without defendant’s knowledge
  • Inaccurate reporting
  • Forensic flaws
  • Illegal surveillance by law enforcement
  • Illegal search and seizure of defendant’s computer and/or hard drive
  • Miranda rights violations
  • Defendant was not given access to counsel

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What Should You Do If You Are Charged With an Internet Crime?

Internet crimes are complicated. With no geographical boundaries, they are often prosecuted as federal offenses. If you are facing internet crime charges, speak with an attorney, who can begin preparing a defense strategy as soon as possible. Our Omaha internet crime lawyer can help protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we are compassionate listeners and effective litigators. Our legal team is committed to providing a strong defense against the charges to protect your future. We are proud to serve the community and advocate for your best interests. Call us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation with an Omaha criminal lawyer. We can explain your options under the law.

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