It took a while for the law to catch up with technology. However, now, states like Texas have strict laws regarding the unlawful use of computer systems. In many cases, a computer crime is merely one of many offenses committed. You may have been arrested for digital theft, piracy, using a computer to defraud, identity theft or a sex crime, but may also be charged with other crimes. Because cyber-criminology is still a growing field, it is vital that you consult a defense lawyer who remains abreast of legal developments in the digital realm.
Types of computer crimes
One of the most serious computer offenses in Texas is breach of computer security – a felony if you obtain more than $1,500 as a result of the breach. For example, if you hacked a department store’s computer to steal $10,000, you would likely be charged with breach of a computer security system. Other computer crimes include:
- Online solicitation of a minor – Solicitation of a minor online is a third-degree felony punishable by $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years. If convicted of this offense, you may also be required to register as a sex offender.
- Identity theft – In Texas you are guilty of identity theft if you obtain, possess, transfer, or use identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent and with intent to harm or defraud another. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you face between two years and life in prison and extensive fines.
- Child pornography – If prosecuted on the state level, you may be charged with a third or second-degree felony based on the specific facts of your case. The State of Texas explains that a person violates the law when they knowingly or intentionally possess visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child who is engaging in sexual conduct was taken.
Depending on the specific computer crimes police accuse you of committing, your case may be prosecuted by the state or federal government. For example, if you are charged with digitally trafficking child pornography, you could face federal penalties.
A San Antonio attorney can develop an effective defense that keeps your sentence at a minimum.