Federal Internet, computer and cyber crimes lawyer St. Louis, Missouri. Because the internet crosses state lines, cyber crimes often bring federal charges, which brings complications to your case and makes a possible sentence more severe. As the Internet and cyber world has become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, law enforcement agencies have significantly ramped up their efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute people they suspect to have committed an Internet, computer or cyber crime. If you’re under investigation in St. Louis or the surrounding areas of an Internet or computer crime, or have already been arrested or charged, call a Combs Law cyber crimes lawyer today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online to discuss your situation for free.
Combs Law offers confident, competent and aggressive federal criminal defense in Sty. Louis and the surrounding areas. We will never judge you and will listen to everything you have to say about your case. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP.
Federal Cyber, Internet and Computer Crimes
Computer crimes fall into many categories, but generally deal with accessing, possessing, distributing or otherwise using information or material accessed online that is either illegal or accessed illegally. Common cyber crimes include:
- Identity theft
- Internet privacy
- Credit card or bank fraud
- Money laundering
- Sale of illegal goods
- Cyber Stalking
- Espionage or treason
- Transmission of harmful material to minors
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Child pornography
While the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 and 18 U.S. Code § 1030 specifically target crimes against computers with government information or financial information, as the Internet is considered a facilitator of “interstate commerce,” virtually any crime involving the Internet is subject to federal jurisdiction.
Punishment for Federal Cyber Crimes
Missouri Revised Statutes §569.095 through §569.099 have laws against tampering with computer data, equipment and users. However, as the Internet is under the control of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), many cyber, internet and computer crimes are prosecuted at the federal level. Federal charges tend to be more serious and the penalties are typically more severe.
The punishments for these crimes are severe, and can range from anywhere from fines to up to 20 years in prison, or even life in prison if the alleged activity led to someone’s death. That’s why you need an experienced federal crimes lawyer in St. Louis, one who is comfortable in both the investigation phase and the courtroom, to start working on your case as soon as possible.
Defending Against Federal Cyber, Internet and Computer Crimes
Most of us use the Internet every day for everything from chatting with friends, to buying products, looking up local services or seeking information to satisfy their curiosity on a subject. As we all know, not every link you click on will be what you expect it to be, and there are many bad actors online looking to deceive people and take advantage of them. It’s entirely possible you’re part of an investigation into Internet crimes when you never intentionally did anything wrong. The important thing when you’re involved in any federal or state criminal investigation in St. Louis is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so they can start to work with you to develop a sound legal strategy. Some defense strategies we may choose to implement include:
- Mistaken identity — If people can pretend to be you to steal financial information, they can do the same to commit crimes. It may also be that someone else was using your computer or IP address. We can introduce evidence that brings into doubt whether you were the person actually committing the crime.
- You were the victim of entrapment — Law enforcement officials often perform cyber sting operations, which is where undercover officers or agents will attempt to get someone to attempt a crime. In some cases this can lead to entrapment, which we can use in your defense. To make an entrapment defense, you must demonstrate that you were not predisposed to commit the crime and you would not have attempted it if not for the actions of the police. The government must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not entrapped.
- Your rights were violated — While the FBI has tried to maintain that they can look at your emails, cell phone records and other private information stored with a 3rd party without a warrant, a 2018 Supreme Court decision, Carpenter v. United States found that doing so violates our Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure without a warrant. If evidence against you was not legally obtained, we can move to have the evidence omitted.
- You were authorized to access the data — While it’s a federal cyber crime to access restricted data, in some cases we may be able to argue that you actually did have authorized access to the data.
- Your lack of knowledge of the crime — Depending on the crime and how involved you were, we may be able to show that you had no knowledge a crime was even being committed. If you innocently clicked on a link that led to you downloading illegal materials you did not want, were exploring the dark web and stumbled on something you weren’t looking for, unwittingly were the reason a hacking virus got transferred to another party or otherwise were an unwilling participant in someone else’s crime, we can try to make the judge and prosecution see reason.
- The statute of limitations has passed — Under 18 U.S. Code § 3282, the statute of limitations for most federal Internet crimes is five years. That means if you are not indicted after five years of the date the crime was allegedly committed, the federal government can no longer prosecute you.
In some cases, the evidence may be stacked against you, and we may advise plea bargaining, where the prosecution will give you a lighter sentence in exchange for pleading guilty and avoiding a lengthy trial, or if you agree to give them information that would be helpful in another investigation.
Speak to a Combs Law Attorney in St. Louis, MO About Your Federal Cyber, Internet and Computer Crime Charges
Everyone has a right to a great criminal defense, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Call Combs Law to protect your rights, your future and your freedom. Whatever the circumstances surrounding the allegations and your degree of guilt or innocence, you can trust in Combs Law Group to be nonjudgmental and work to get the best results in your case. We work with you closely to implement the best defense strategy we can. While the advice we offer you is based on experience and knowledge of the law and court systems, ultimately you are the one that will make the decision based on how to proceed. Call a Combs Law cyber crimes lawyer today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online to discuss your situation for a free consultation.