Did you use the Internet to commit a crime?
Nowadays most people use the Internet on a daily basis and for many different purposes, legal or otherwise; a New York criminal defense attorney can help you if you’ve been charged with an Internet related crime.
- Laws relating to technology and telecommunications are changing as fast as the devices and tools that they are intended to govern.
- These laws exist in a convoluted network of state and federal jurisdictions. In this constantly evolving framework, it is easy to be charged with a crime but very difficult to defend yourself.
Only a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer can guide you through these regulations and their potential consequences.
Just as there are many different laws regulating the Internet, there is an endless variety of ways in which the Internet and social media can be used to commit crimes. An entire book could be written to describe these many different offenses, but for the sake of brevity, some of the more common crimes involving the use of the Internet and telecommunications devices include:
- Illegally downloading movies, music or applications
- Child pornography
- Various types of fraud, including credit card fraud and/or identity theft
- Inappropriate communications with a minor
- Unauthorized access to computers or electronic information, and
- Threats, harassment and/or cyber stalking
The only constant in technology is change. Likewise legislators are constantly trying to keep up with these new developments and keep children, shoppers and web surfers safe. You can find yourself being prosecuted for a crime even if your actions seemed entirely innocent. Attorney George Vomvolakis understands the shifting nature of criminal law and he will work tirelessly to defend your rights and restore your reputation.
I didn’t know I was chatting with a minor. What might happen to me?
As a society we have a strong interest in protecting minors from online harm and exploitation. Even if you didn’t intend to chat or share photos with a minor, you can get into a substantial amount of trouble. Teenagers and others often forget that the Internet isn’t a toy and they engage in many activities that are inappropriate, deceptive and irresponsible. In many cases their parents are unaware of their activities and you might falsely assume that you are communicating with another adult. Unfortunately, your lack of intent or lack desire to harm a minor can still get you into a criminal situation.
Some of the most common crimes involve the sexual exploitation of minors. Whether you are “chatting” with a minor, exchanging photos or downloading illicit content you can face harsh punishments.
- Child pornography– This is a surprisingly pervasive crime that we often hear about in the news media. The state of New York has made it illegal to possess, sell, or distribute any data, images, computer files or videos that contain images minors engaging in sexual activity or that are intended for the sexual gratification of the user. Unfortunately there have been cases where individuals engaged in unintentional and innocent conduct on seemingly legitimate internet sites have become the focus of child pornography investigations. This happens for several reasons but one of the primary causes is hacked wireless signals where somebody else has accessed illegal content by stealing a Wi-Fi connection. Even if you did nothing wrong, the stigma attached to child pornography charges can be very harmful to your reputation.
George Vomvolakis has been a criminal defense attorney for years and worked as a prosecutor prior to entering private practice. He has the experience and temperament to mount a vigorous defense of your case. He also has extensive experience dealing with media exposure of criminal charges and has appeared on numerous prominent television and news programs as a legal analyst.
Can I really get in trouble if somebody “hacked” my Internet connection?
Depending on the circumstances, innocent people are sometimes arrested for criminal activity because somebody else was using their IP address to commit illegal acts. Even if you’re never arrested, the investigation process is a terrible inconvenience. In the last several years there has been a proliferation of electronic crimes using the Internet across New York State:
- “Phishing” scams– we have all been exposed to potential phishing scams just by using our email accounts and mobile phones. Essentially, phishing involves the use of “spam” emails, text messages or instant messages to fraudulently acquire sensitive personal information about another person for illegal purposes. Under New York’s Business Code Section 390-b — the so-called “Anti-Phishing Law” — it is unlawful to solicit, collect, or request personal information via electronic means for unlawful purposes. You can face fines and restitution as well as tripling of the fines if you engaged in repeated instances of phishing.
- Credit card fraud– New York State prohibits two distinct types of credit card fraud. First, under Penal Code Section 165.15 (1), it is illegal to knowingly use a stolen credit or debit card to secure goods or services or to attempt to do so. It is also illegal to induce another person to obtain goods or services using a knowingly stolen credit or debit card. Second, it is illegal to use a credit, debit or public benefit card if you know that it has expired or has been revoked. Even if it wasn’t stolen, it is still a criminal act to use an inactive card to attempt to trick a merchant into exchanging services or goods under Penal Code Section 165.17.
- Wire fraud– this offense is generally accompanied by other charges for “white collar” crimes. Generally it involves the use of phones, faxes or other types of communication to orchestrate or carry out a fraud crime. It is almost always a federal crime. If you are facing federal charges for wire fraud you need an attorney who has experience in federal criminal defense.
Given the ease with which law enforcement is able to track and trace online activity, illegal conduct will not go unnoticed. There have been numerous instances of heavy fines being handed down to people that illegally downloaded content or trafficked in illicit sexual material. Whether you were responsible for the acts or not, you don’t want fingers pointing at you. Even an allegation of child pornography or identity theft can haunt you for years and affect all aspects of your life.
Free case analysis!
Attorney George Vomvolakis has been defending individuals charged with serious crimes for years. He also has the experience of a prosecutor and he understands how the government will build its case against you. He keeps up to date on the latest developments in case law and criminal statutes. Internet crimes are inherently complex and you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer telling your side of the story. Call today for a free case consultation!