New Jersey Internet Crimes Lawyers
Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend Clients Accused of All Types of Internet Crimes in Essex County, Union County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Somerset County, NJ
From online shopping to online business structures to social media, a substantial part of our personal and business lives now takes place on the internet. Criminal activity that takes place on the internet has increased dramatically in proportion to the central role that online activity now plays in all of our daily lives. The penalties that apply in internet crimes cases can be just as substantial as those that apply when you are accused of committing a violent crime, and often include significant jail time, restitution and substantial monetary penalties.
Whether you have been accused of a broad-scale violation of internet laws or something seemingly simple, such as accessing a former significant other’s computer without authorization, you need a strong legal defense to fight the charges. At Zegas Law, we have the legal knowledge and skills necessary to remain current in the face of the frequently-evolving laws that apply in internet crimes cases. We fight to minimize the charges against you if at all possible, understanding the difficult to satisfy evidentiary standards that the prosecution must satisfy to obtain a conviction in internet crimes cases. If you have been accused of any type of internet crime, call or contact our office today to discuss defense options in your case.
Examples of Internet Crimes
The evolution of internet-based crimes has happened rapidly, and the New Jersey and federal legislatures have not been far behind in criminalizing certain activities involving the internet and computers. We represent clients accused of internet crimes in North Jersey, including:
- Internet-based sex crimes
- Internet-based white-collar crimes
- Identity theft
- Data theft
- Cyber stalking or terrorism
- Computer hacking
- Child pornography
- Theft of trade secrets
- Bank fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Damaging property through viruses, spyware, and malware
Internet Crimes Carry Serious Penalties in New Jersey
If convicted of an internet crime, you may face a wide range of penalties that vary in severity depending upon the impact that the alleged crime had on the individuals involved and the public as a whole. In general, it is a crime to use the internet to access any type of computer system or program without authorization, including where that access is used to carry out some type of theft or fraud. Internet crimes are taken seriously in New Jersey, and can be punished as:
- Fourth-degree crimes. Accessing and recklessly altering, damaging or destroying any data or computer-related equipment, program, system or medium is a fourth-degree crime unless the property is valued at more than $5,000, in which case it is a third-degree crime. Cyber stalking is usually a fourth-degree crime, but can be elevated to a third-degree crime if certain aggravating circumstances are present.
- Third-degree crimes. Accessing any data, database, computer storage medium, computer software, program or equipment, computer or computer system or network without authorization is a third-degree crime. It is also a third-degree crime if the unauthorized access was part of a scheme to defraud, or to obtain services, property, identifying information or money (valued at under $5,000) from the owner of the computer or any third party.
- Second-degree crimes. Altering or destroying any of the above, or denying, disrupting or impairing computer services, including access to the internet, that are available to other users of the computer services, is a second-degree crime. It is a second-degree crime where the unauthorized access was part of a scheme to defraud, or to obtain services, property, identifying information or money from the owner of the computer or any third party, if the property was valued at more than $5,000.
- First-degree crimes. If any unauthorized computer access or destruction results in disruption to public services—such as water, transportation, communications, gas, power or any other public service—it becomes a first-degree offense if the disruption is substantial.
Wrongful access and disclosure of personal identifying information or data in and of itself can also be punished as a third-degree crime, carrying up to five years in prison and $15,000 in fines or a second-degree crime with the potential for 10 years in prison if the information was protected by law or court order.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Confidential Consultation
If you have been accused of committing an internet crime in Northern New Jersey, you need a strong advocate on your side to help minimize the potentially harsh penalties and prison time that can apply. At Zegas Law, our skilled team of criminal defense lawyers and investigative support staff are committed to remaining current in the law so that we are ready to go to work in building an innovative and strong defense in your case. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss options for defending your internet crimes allegations, call our office or fill out this secure online contact form today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Crimes
FAQ: Are there any specific sentencing requirements that apply in internet crimes cases?
Yes. If you are convicted of a first-degree internet crime, or if the victim was a government agency (regardless of whether it can be shown that you targeted a government agency), you must serve at least one-third to one-half of the entire sentence (which can range from 10 to 20 years in prison). Further, separate convictions for distinct internet crimes will not be merged together when arriving at the sentence—meaning that the prison terms can be “stacked,” resulting in much lengthier prison sentences.
FAQ: What types of aggravating circumstances can make conviction of an internet crime a more serious offense?
The charges against you can be elevated based on the identity of the victim—if the victim is a minor or a government entity, or if you are convicted of cyberstalking when a restraining order was already in place, the grading of the crime and related sentencing can be more severe. If the internet crime involved fraud or stealing property, the value of the property in question will also impact the grading of the crime and severity of the consequences.