In recent decades, as the use of and reliance on Internet communications has increased, so has the potential for misuse of the Internet. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that it receives an estimated 300,000 complaints of internet crimes on an annual basis. Illinois has responded to the increase in cybercrime by establishing the High Tech Crimes and Internet Safety division of the state Attorney General’s Office. This division is solely devoted to investigating and pursuing potential Internet offenders in Illinois, and criminal defense attorneys must regularly go head to head with prosecutors from this division.
Though Internet crimes do occur on a regular basis, there is also a very high possibility of wrongful accusations and convictions for Internet crimes. Online users may hide behind anonymous screen names and personas, and can successfully pretend to be someone completely different than their true identities. Additionally, many Internet offenders are extremely tech savvy and know how to mislead authorities using false IP addresses and adequately covering their actual tracks. For this reason, correctly identifying the right offender behind Internet crimes can be challenging for law enforcement officers. The investigators of high tech crimes in Illinois can be aggressive in tracking down Internet offenders and may easily misidentify and accuse innocent people of such criminal offenses.
Common Internet Crimes
Though people are figuring out how to use the Internet to commit a wide variety of offenses, some of the most common Internet crimes charged in Illinois include the following:
- Child pornography;
- Child exploitation;
- Software piracy;
- Identity theft;
- Harassment and stalking;
- Terroristic threats; and
- Various fraudulent financial scams.
Despite the fact that everything that happens online occurs in cyberspace and the cloud, it is still very possible for real people to commit very real criminal offenses through use of the worldwide web. Though many Internet offenders never even meet their victims in person, their crimes may significantly affect the lives of others. If you are wrongfully accused of an Internet crime, you will likely face aggressive prosecution due to the devastating effects these crimes can have on victims.
As the prosecution of Internet crimes becomes more aggressive, so must the defense of people accused of these crimes to avoid wrongful convictions. Additionally, the lines identifying what exactly constitutes an Internet crime are not always clear. For example, words that one person may consider to be threatening may be simply considered to be an exercise of free speech to another person. Also, since Internet threats are generally not accompanied by any physical act, many people are unclear when threatening words online cross the line into unlawful territory.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Because of the unique nature of Internet crimes, defense of these charges also requires a unique approach. Not every criminal defense lawyer has kept up to date on the tactics necessary for defense of Internet crimes, which can be very different from crimes committed in the flesh. Chicago attorney Steven Goldman has the knowledge and resources necessary to provide an aggressive and successful defense for clients accused of online crimes, so do not hesitate to call Goldman & Associates to discuss your case today.