South Carolina Cyber Crimes Lawyer

In today’s society, we do nearly everything online, from shopping for necessities to booking travel to communicating with loved ones and enjoying entertainment. Governments, banks, and nearly all businesses are dependent on secure computer networks to function.

Cyber crimes have become a strong priority of law enforcement because of their potential for harm and destruction. However, law enforcement and prosecutors sometimes overstep, snagging innocent people and bringing unwarranted charges that have the potential to ruin a person’s livelihood and reputation.

If you have been charged with a computer crime or believe you are being investigated because of your online activity, contact a South Caroline cyber crimes attorney immediately. Trying to deal with federal law enforcement officers without representation is foolhardy. Secure the services of an experienced professional who knows the issues that arise in cyber crime cases.

Different Types of Computer Crimes

An alleged cyber crime could be one of many different criminal acts that involve computers or electronic information. Federal prosecutors called United States Attorneys typically prosecute these cases because computer networks cross state lines and international borders. In addition, the South Carolina Computer Crimes Act, §16-16-20, criminalizes malicious use of a computer to commit financial fraud or damage a business, and local law enforcement and prosecutors could bring a case under this statute.

There are a wide variety of activities that federal prosecutors might consider cyber crimes. These include:

  • Identity theft—using a computer to access someone’s personal information for financial benefit
  • Phishing—accessing financial information through the introduction of malware, viruses, or damaging code
  • Piracy—making or distributing copyrighted materials such as music, movies, or games, over the internet
  • Improper solicitation of a child—communicating with a person under age 18 for sexual purposes
  • Pornography—using the internet to access or distribute pornographic images, especially images of sexual exploitation of children
  • Hacking—breaking into computer networks for an unauthorized purpose

There are various elements that prosecutors must prove to convict a person of these crimes—the elements to prove distribution of child pornography obviously would differ from the elements required to prove film piracy. The specific crime charged will determine how a capable defense attorney proceeds.

How a Defense Attorney Could Help During an Investigation

It is not uncommon for prosecutors in cyber crimes cases to inform the target of the investigation and their associates that an investigation is underway. A person who receives such a notice should seek legal counsel immediately.

Law enforcement and investigators from a prosecutor’s office might seek to speak with someone they suspect of being involved in a cyber crime to induce them to provide information about other players in a financial fraud, for example. Brokering such an arrangement requires significant skill to ensure that the client receives the best deal possible under the circumstances.

Law enforcement often will engage in “fishing expeditions,” casting a wide net to gather as much information as possible, then using that information to bring a range of charges. An attorney could force them to narrow the scope of the investigation as regards the client and prevent the government from seeking information or evidence that is not relevant to their investigation.

Defenses to Cyber Crime Charges

As noted above, the specifics of a defense depend on the charge the client is facing. However, there are some defenses that often arise in cyber crime cases in general. These have to do with violations by investigators.

Government agents often go “undercover” to investigate cyber crimes. They might pose in online communities as someone interested in images of child sexual abuse, or they could be impersonating a politically engaged person seeking to breach a government website. There are many roles an investigator could assume to collect information about suspected cyber crimes.

It is critical to obtain records of the investigators’ participation in these communities, forums, and chat rooms. There is often information in these records that offers evidence of wrongdoing by investigators. If the investigators behaved in a way that infringed the rights of the defendant, a savvy defense attorney might be able to prevent the use of any evidence that arose out of the tainted investigation.

Seek a Seasoned South Carolina Cyber Crimes Attorney to Defend Against The Charges

The law regarding computer crimes is still developing and it is not always clear how far prosecutors can go to get the evidence they need for conviction. Without a lot of precedent to guide them, defending a criminal charge based on online activity requires a defense attorney who is knowledgeable, creative, and skilled.

A South Carolina cyber crimes lawyer has the understanding and experience to provide a vigorous defense to the charges you might face. Call today to get started on your defense.