Computers and Internet technology have become a part of almost all aspects of our lives. The use of social media and social media and file sharing services has grown exponentially in the past decade. As the use of this technology has grown, the criminal justice system has increasingly begun to penalize behavior related to the use of computer technology.
What are Computer and Online Crimes?
People may face a variety of charges under state and federal law related to the use and transmission of information over computer networks. These charges include financial crime, online impersonation and social media-related violations, unauthorized access to computer networks, and possession and transmission of child pornography.
Texas has several statutes that criminalize certain conduct using a computer. Breach of computer security under chapter 33 of the Texas Penal Code criminalizes accessing a computer or network without the effective consent of the owner. Penalties range from a class A misdemeanor to a first degree felony depending upon the type of activity that takes place after the breach occurs.
Online impersonation, also found under chapter 33 of the Texas Penal Code, makes it a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony to use social media or send e-mail under someone else’s name if the user has the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person.
Solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography are crimes that do not specifically require the use of a computer, but do in most cases.
Federal law criminalizes many of the same activities that are illegal under Texas law, and also has a broad variety of specific statutes addressing computer crimes.
Our Firm’s Qualifications
A person facing a charge for a computer crime or Internet crime needs an attorney that not only understands criminal law, but who also understands technology. David Nachtigall is a graduate of one of the top information technology programs in the country (University of Texas BBA in Management Information Systems, 2001), a former Fortune 500 technology consultant and computer programmer, and someone who still occasionally builds PCs for his use at home.
Whether the government can prove that a person violated the law by using the Internet or a computer network may come down to interpretations of hardware-level technical data. A criminal attorney with a deep background in information technology may be able to offer insight and defensive strategies that an attorney without a technical background simply cannot.