As people of all ages use technology at an increasing rate, the rate of Internet and computer crime is also on the rise.
Many of us use at least some form of technology for our livelihood or daily past times, and the lines between what is ethical and legal when it comes to accessing digital information or communicating online are increasingly confusing.
It’s best to understand your rights—before it’s too late.
As a Colorado criminal defense lawyer, I get asked plenty of questions about Internet crime. Here are a few I thought you might find helpful:
1. If I’m just messing around online, can I get in trouble for talking about sex with a kid?
Yes. You can be charged with attempt. Police won’t believe the “messing around” justification, so it’s best to assume that just communicating online can lead to criminal charges such as Internet luring or attempted sexual assault of a child.
2. If I end up talking to an undercover cop and not a kid, isn’t that entrapment or not a crime at all?
No. Impersonation is not entrapment. Entrapment requires that someone force you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do. Again, you can be charged with Internet luring or attempted sexual assault of a child.
3. If I delete files I’ve downloaded on my computer, are they really gone?
No. Forensic computer analysts can usually recover deleted documents. Plus, programs that allow peer-to-peer sharing can add files to your computer that you may not even want there. These inadvertent downloads can also lead to charges, including sexual exploitation of a child.
4. If I arrange to meet someone off the Internet, but don’t actually go, is that still a crime?
Yes. Even if a meeting isn’t possible (for example, you’re across state lines, too far away or don’t have a car), just making arrangements can lead to attempt charges like Internet luring or attempted sexual assault of a child.
5. How serious are these crimes? What are the possible sentences?
Some of the most serious charges in Colorado are indeterminate sentencing (two years to life, where the judge picks the bottom number and the parole board decides when and if you get out). Probation could be indeterminate as well: lifetime sex offender registration, lifetime parole, lifetime prison or lifetime probation.
To deal with any type of possible Internet crime, it’s crucial to hire a Colorado criminal defense lawyer with this specific type of legal experience. If you have any questions about criminal defense in this area of law, please contact Wolf Law today at (720) 479-8574.