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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

Computer crimes and defending yourself against identity theft

Computer crime is a category of offenses that you could be accused of if a computer was part of a criminal act you were or allegedly were involved with. Sometimes, computer crimes are named similarly to crimes that don't use the computer. For instance, fraud can be computer or Internet fraud, or it can simply be fraud.

Computer crimes can involve several kinds of acts. For example, if you introduce a virus to a computer, then you can be accused of a crime. If you use a computer to defraud someone, like if you decide to steal someone's identity, then that's a computer crime as well. Taking data, copying programs, falsifying emails, or stealing information services are all kinds of crimes that can lead to charges.

Will a misdemeanor make it hard to find a job?

You're facing a misdemeanor, and that means you're going to have a blemish on your criminal record. Does it really matter? Will it affect your ability to get a job in the long run?

The truth is that around a third of all Americans get arrested for one reason or another before they turn 23, the National Institute of Justice reports, and misdemeanors then end up on their records in some cases. These offenses don't look as bad as a felony, but they can still come up in job interviews or during applications, making your search just a little bit harder and interviewers more difficult to convince of your integrity.

You deserve a fair and unbiased trial under federal law

Criminal defense is important to your case, because even if you're guilty of a crime, you have the right to be treated as innocent until your guilt is proven. As a person who has been accused of a crime, you have the right to a fair and bias-free trial. You are guaranteed that your legal proceedings will be fair under the Bill of Rights of the United States.

To start with, you're protected by the writ of habeas corpus. Under this, the burden of proof must be provided by the government. This must justify the reason for arrest and for holding a suspect. So, if there is no warrant or no reasonable cause for your arrest, this protection may have been violated. If that's the case, you can be immediately released from jail or prison.

Know your right for a fair sentence in court

When you're going to be sentenced for a crime, you want to know that you're going to receive a punishment that is fair based on the crime committed. If you've made a plea or have been convicted of charges, the sentencing hearing is the moment where your defense will either show its benefit or failure.

During the sentencing hearing, you can attempt to convince the judge why you deserve a particular sentence. Maybe you would like to seek probation instead of jail time, or you would rather have house arrest instead of a prison sentence. Suggesting these punishments in the right way could be convincing, but only if you can make the judge understand why you're someone who deserves that chance.

What are some common online crimes?

What are the most common types of crimes that take place online? You may be surprised to know that fraud and identity theft have been the most common in recent years. As someone who may now be dealing with claims that you've participated in identity theft, you need to be able to defend yourself and explain how the incident took place. There are ways to do so and to prove your innocence without your reputation being too badly damaged.

Certainly, some instances of alleged identity theft could be mistaken; for instance, using a public computer and logging into an email or program without realizing you're under someone else's identity could be easily done. That's why it's important that people log out of their computers at the end of a session. Other kinds of Internet crimes aren't as straightforward.

Gun laws vary: Defend yourself against these potential charges

Gun control is an important part of keeping people safe. Each state in the United States has its own handgun possession laws, which apply to various situations differently. For instance, your state could restrict those with mental health conditions from owning a gun, or it may not have any laws restricting gun purchases at all. Some states don't allow minors to have guns until they're 21, and others allow them at 18. These differences can make it difficult to know where you can carry your weapon, and that could lead to accidental criminal charges that you have to fight.

Under federal laws, most states restrict gun access to those over 18, and those who have received felonies may not be allowed to own one. Certain mental health conditions may also lead to a person being disallowed from owning a gun.

Federal crimes: Avoid serious punishments at the federal level

In Maryland, if you're accused of a federal crime, you need to understand that the weight of punishments is typically heavier than if you were tried in a state court for a misdemeanor or state-recognized felony. Generally speaking, if you face federal sentencing, your case will call for longer sentences in jail or prison and potentially higher fines.

As a person who wants to avoid any unnecessary penalties, knowing that simply being tried at a different level could result in more serious punishments is frustrating. Fortunately, there are ways you can help yourself and hopefully reduce the sentence you might receive.

What are some common Internet crimes?

When you think of Internet crimes, do you immediately think of Napster and illegal downloads? Maybe you think of The Pirate Bay, where a lot of illegal downloads were made before it was shut down. While these are the things people tend to consider, the truth is that there are many other Internet crimes taking place, including the following:

1. Blackmail.

Council member's son placed on probation for violent outburst

There are some cases when you can be accused of crimes for situations that seem minor at the time but that can also come back to haunt you later. Seemingly innocent comments or arguments with an employee or worker at a business could end up resulting in assault or other charges that you then have to deal with in court.

Making threats can sometimes be enough to get you in trouble with the law. Freedom of speech only goes so far, and when you become violent or threatening, the police are able to charge you with a crime. In cases like this one, those charges can lead to probation or other penalties.

Facebook threats dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court

Social media websites are great places to vent your frustrations and to communicate with friends. The things you post do reflect on you, though, and sometimes the things you say can be taken out of context. When this happens, you could be accused of being threatening or harassing, even though you weren't attempting to be.

This is what happened in a case reported on June 1. According to the story, a man was allegedly threatening his wife and others. The case recently went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was found that there should be limits to convictions based on Facebook posts, because even if someone sees a post as a threat, that doesn't mean the person is responsible for threatening behavior.