With just about everyone having access to the Internet these days, the number of computer crimes being committed in New Jersey and elsewhere in the U.S. has exploded. This has prompted law enforcement at both the federal and state levels to focus more and more on cybercrimes. Moreover, prosecutors often seek maximum punishments in cases involving computer crimes because they are looking to send a message to any potential offenders. As a result, anyone charged with a computer crime could be looking at severe penalties that include a lengthy term of incarceration in prison. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that a person facing computer crime charges in NJ or elsewhere contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances and intricacies of this relatively new area of the law.
Cybercrimes in New Jersey
There are several different types of computer crimes. Beyond that, these crimes can be prosecuted at either the state level or the federal level. That’s because there are NJ criminal statutes and federal criminal statutes that explicitly address specific cybercrimes.
Here are a few of the different types of cybercrimes that you could potentially be charged with in New Jersey:
1. Luring: One of the most heavily prosecuted cybercrimes in NJ is luring because law enforcement is really cracking down on computer-related sex crimes. In recent years, undercover sting operations have resulted in numerous arrests for luring and enticing of underage victims. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6, a person who lures or entices a child via electronic means can be charged with a second degree felony. Not only will offenders face up to 10 years in state prison, they will also be subject to Megan’s Law sex offender registration requirements.
2. Endangering the Welfare of a Child: In New Jersey, child pornography cases are typically prosecuted as violations of the child endangerment law. Anyone who possesses or distributes images or videos of juveniles engaged in sexually explicit acts can be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. A conviction could lead to serious prison time and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
3. Cyber-Harassment: Prior to 2014, anyone who used the Internet to harass someone could be charged with a crime under NJ harassment laws. However, cyber-harassment is now classified as a unique crime and applies to anyone who makes a communication in an online capacity to threaten someone or make lewd or indecent comments. Cyber-harassment is a felony-level offense and can result in prison time.
4. Identity Theft: The Internet has made it easier than ever to impersonate other individuals and commit identity theft. However, New Jersey law specifically prohibits anyone from stealing personal identity information that belongs to someone else. Depending on the circumstances of the crime and the total value of the property or cash that is stolen, a person who commits identity theft via the Internet can face several years in prison.
If you have been charged with a computer crime in Atlantic County, NJ, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation about your case.