It is easy to make the mistake of thinking that anything you do online can quickly be erased or concealed behind an anonymous account name. However, state and local government agencies devote massive resources to investigating cyber crimes and identifying any person involved in criminal activity involving computers. In other words, virtual misconduct has very real penalties.
Below are three different types of Internet or digital offenses that can lead to criminal charges and harsh consequences upon conviction.
- Theft: Online theft is perhaps more prevalent than ever before. Because so many people shop, store credit card info and do banking online, there are various opportunities to steal or attempt to steal financial information and money.
- Fraud: Impersonating someone else or using the Internet to take advantage of or defraud victims is a serious crime, whether a person is accused of a denial-of-service attack or spoofing others.
- Assault: People often think you have to physically touch or hurt someone to be accused of assault. However, this is not true. Assault charges can be filed when there is just an intent or threat to cause physical injury to someone. Cyberbullying, harassment, online stalking and similar behaviors can lead to assault charges.
In some cases, people who engage in these behaviors know exactly what they are doing. In other cases, the people involved fail to understand the severity of their crime. Some might even consider certain offenses to be harmless pranks. In any case, the results can be the same: severe, life-changing criminal consequences.
In order to protect yourself, your freedom and your future, it can be crucial that you consult a defense attorney as soon as possible if you are accused of or being investigated for any type of computer or Internet crime in Texas. Doing so can help you assess your legal options and make some informed decisions about how to defend yourself.