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A Strong Defense For Computer And Cybercrimes

Prosecutors have upgraded their charges to account for new technology, even as the laws have lagged behind. The attorneys at The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC, are experienced in the defense of computer and internet cases, both in Maryland and on the federal level:

  • Possession, receipt, distribution or manufacturing of child pornography
  • Solicitation of minors or assignation via the internet
  • Identity fraud
  • Online fraud
  • Hacking or breaking into computer files or email
  • Internet stalking and harassment
  • Social media hacking or stalking

We handled internet crimes for decades. Our lead attorney, James Crawford, was at the forefront and evolution of these prosecutions. His team has garnered the knowledge and experience to handle these matters aggressively and successfully. For the last 30 years, we’ve developed a reputation for handling these matters in a diligent and successful manner.

The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC, understands how modern computer and internet use can impact criminal charges – and we’re ready to defend your right to a trial unbiased by technology skepticism and misunderstandings.

What Is Considered A “Computer Crime” Or “Cybercrime” By Federal Law?

Basically, computer crimes are any illegal action that uses a computer. Cybercrimes are similar, but have the additional requirement of using the internet.

Computer and cybercrimes can include:

  • Creating and infecting other computers with viruses
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other attacks
  • Phishing scams, which trick users into giving personal information and login credentials
  • Embezzlement
  • Credit card fraud 
  • Dark web activities
  • Cryptocurrency theft – and yes, it’s a crime, even if it’s not regulated by the government
  • Identity theft
  • Child pornography distribution, including sexting
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Cyberbullying

What’s The Difference Between Computer Crime Charges And “Regular” Federal Charges?

Often very little – except that a computer or the internet is involved.

Take phishing scams, for example. They pretend to be someone’s service provider or other legitimate, known entity and ask for access to their profile or even extremely personal information.

Back in the day, this type of fraud would be conducted by phone, then on paper forms. It might take months for someone to notice the scam, let alone investigate it. By then, the trail’s cold and the damage may be done.

Now, it can be much faster to discover when something goes wrong or is used where it shouldn’t be. However, evidence is much harder to collect in some ways, as investigators search for the smoking gun in an internet-sized hay stack, to mix metaphors for a moment.

Is The Dark Web Illegal?

The dark web – a portion of the internet only accessible through special encryption processes – is not illegal, in and of itself.

However, because the dark web is so difficult to access, it becomes a favored meeting ground for those who don’t want to be found. Often, those individuals are doing illegal things, such as obtaining child pornography or purchasing illicit drugs.

For example, the summer 2020 Twitter hack by a Florida teenager was facilitated through meetups and brokers on dark web forums. Going to and speaking with his accomplices may have been suspicious, but wasn’t necessarily illegal until they began to plan – and actually carried out – their cyber attack.

What Are Possible Federal Sentences For Computer Or Cybercrimes?

Because many of these tech-based activities end up crossing state lines via computers or the internet, that can mean that federal sentencing guidelines are in play – not Maryland state.

However, due to the rapid advance of technology and the comparatively slow legislative process, few federal statutes proactively address computer or cybercrimes directly.

Instead, most prosecutors charge for more traditional offenses, whose definitions and sentences are already on the books. For example, those who commit a phishing email scam may be charged with fraud, not necessarily a more specific computer crime.

Crimes And Consequences

DDoS – a distributed denial-of-service attack that shuts down a victim organization’s network, paralyzing entire companies – can be charged as a terrorism attack or perhaps blackmail.

A federal prosecutor may consider a hack for stored credit card information to be identity theft (if the hacker personally uses the information) or simple theft (if the hacker sells that information as a valuable item elsewhere).

The main thing to remember with computers and cybercrimes is that because they’re electronic-based, it’s more likely for the prosecutors to come from the federal – rather than Maryland’s – government. That could mean lots of trouble for someone caught up in a law enforcement’s drag net.

How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help Defend Against Computer Or Cybercrime Charges In Federal Court?

The fact is, technology is moving more quickly than laws and regulation can keep up. With so many inconsistencies, the approach to defending these cases requires innovative criminal defense attorneys that can develop comprehensive defenses to the allegations. Our history of success has earned reviews like:

“Hands down one of the best law firms in Maryland. Very helpful and trustworthy. Would highly recommend!”

Consider the dark web. It is as illegal as driving your car around in the middle of the night. Is that technically illegal? No, but it’s really suspicious to law enforcement.

That’s where a great criminal defense attorney experienced with cybercrime cases can really help their clients. They can show how prosecutors’ and law enforcement’s stereotypes about certain types of internet or computer behavior taint the investigation and the collection of evidence – throwing their whole case into doubt.

Evidence may also not demonstrate the accused’s intent to commit a crime, even if law enforcement finds traces of criminal activity on their computers. Many hackers redirect their attacks through multiple computers and IoT (Internet of Things) devices to erase their tracks – leaving innocent, ignorant bystanders holding the metaphorical bag.

Let Our Team Defend Your Rights

Many of these charges are also based on more traditional crimes; prosecutors simply allege the activity took place on a computer or through the internet. 

Therefore, the priority for clients may be to find an experienced criminal attorney who also understands modern law enforcement investigations, rather than focus too much on a “computer attorney” who’s never set foot in a courtroom. For experienced defense, call us at 443-971-8884.