This is the first post in a series discussing defending against cyber and other computer crimes in Arkansas. Prosecutors take computer crimes very seriously and it is vitally important that you have counsel qualified to tackle these complicated cases. This series will discuss a range of topics pertinent to cyber crimes, including:
- The seriousness of Arkansas prosecutors’ approach to cyber crimes
- Frequently occurring search and seizure issues
- The need for experts for investigation and during trial
Cyber crime is a broad category ranging from class C misdemeanors to class D felonies. Class C misdemeanors carry a maximum of 30 days in jail, while class D felonies are punishable by 6 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. These crimes are referred to as computer trespass or computer fraud. Computer trespass is defined as accessing, altering, deleting, damaging, destroying or disrupting any computer, computer system, network, program or data. If you access another person’s computer or network without permission and cause no damage, it is a class C misdemeanor on a first offense. Additional offenses, or causing damage increases the penalties and can elevate the crime to a felony.
Keep in mind that valuation of damage involves any time and manpower required to correct any damage caused as well as direct financial losses. Computer fraud is a little more complicated. It is the intentional access of any computer, system or network, with the intent to defraud or extort someone, or otherwise obtain money, goods or service. Computer fraud is a class D felony. For example, if you use your home computer to advertise a service for a fee, but then do not provide that service, you may be charged with computer fraud. Similarly, if you posted a “Craigslist” ad offering something for sale, but did not deliver the goods, you may be charged with fraud. In fact, if you used the ad as a pretense for taking money and committing additional crime then you may be charged with computer fraud and the additional crime. For example if you make a deal for something online, and when you met up with the person you took their money and their car then you may be charged with auto theft or carjacking as well as computer fraud.
These cases are serious and very complicated. The documents involved in proving computer cases are voluminous and require experience and technical expertise. If you are facing a crime involving the use of computers or the internet, it is important to obtain the assistance of an experienced Little Rock cyber crimes lawyer. Our Little Rock attorneys also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas. Contact us today.