“Computer Crimes” is a Broad Term
Computer crime encompasses many different acts having to do with computers and the internet. California Penal Code defines “high tech” crimes in terms of using technology to commit or assist in committing a crime. Extracting or using personal information with the help of a computer can lead to identity theft and fraud. Other computer crimes include:
Piracy cases tend to receive a lot of media coverage, perhaps because it is such a common activity. But the penalties for piracy can be very steep. If you are accused of computer piracy, do not wait before contacting a Fresno computer crimes attorney.
How Widespread is Computer Piracy?
One survey by Business Software Alliance of 15,000 people from 33 countries found that 57% of respondents reported acquiring pirated software (or software that was not properly licensed). While most of these respondents reported only “rarely” pirating software, around 5% reported that they “always” used pirated software. Even if these numbers proved to be inaccurate, it would be safe to say that piracy of software, movies, and music happens all the time. Law enforcement agencies on all levels have cracked down on piracy, often in an attempt to make an example out of someone and discourage others from pirating copyrighted works.
Consequences of Conviction for Computer Crimes
Because computer crimes cover such a broad range of activities, consequences vary. Fraud and / or forgery under California law may get the convicted person a fine of $1,000 and a year in jail. If computers are used for embezzlement, the penalties escalate with the amount of money embezzled. Federal laws on piracy are strict too. Under U.S. law, civil penalties for willfully infringing the copyright of a software owner can be as high as $150,000.
Contact a Fresno Computer Crimes Attorney without Delay
If you are accused of a computer crime, whether it’s phishing, piracy, or any other type of computer-related crime, you need to call a skilled Fresno criminal attorney with experience in computer crime cases as soon as possible. Do not talk to police without your attorney present. Many people find that by talking to police before calling their attorney, they further incriminate themselves and make it that much harder to develop a strong defense.
Protect Your Legal Rights
When you are accused of computer crimes or any other type of crime, you still have legal rights, and it is important that you protect them fully. Protecting your rights does not mean that you will “get away with” a crime, but it does help ensure that if there is a trial, it will be as fair as possible. By contacting your Fresno attorney as soon as possible, and by being absolutely honest with him or her, you maximize your chances of being treated fairly by a prosecutor, a judge, or a jury. And if you are convicted, a skilled defense attorney can work with the court on sentencing to get you the most favorable possible outcome.