In New Jersey, computer and internet crimes are serious offenses that carry steep penalties. Most of these crimes fall under Section 2C:20-25 of the New Jersey Statutes, and they can be classified as high as first-degree indictable offenses.
As a result, if you have been charged with a computer or internet crime in New Jersey, there is a lot you need to know. Here are some of the key pieces of information you need to protect yourself:
New Jersey’s Computer and Internet Crime Statute is Extremely Broad
Section 2C:20-25 of the New Jersey Statutes establishes several different computer and internet-related criminal offenses. This includes using computers and the internet for illegal purposes as well as gaining access to computers through illegal means. Some examples of the crimes established in Section 2C:20-25 include:
- Accessing a computer, computer program or data without authorization
- Accessing a computer, computer program or data in excess of your authorization
- Altering, damaging or destroying a computer, computer program or data without authorization or in excess of authorization
- Using a computer or the internet to execute a scheme to defraud
This list is not exclusive, and Section 2C:20-25 is not the only statute that establishes computer and internet-related crimes in New Jersey. In many cases, defendants will face multiple charges under multiple statutory provisions.
The Classification of Computer and Internet Crimes Depends on the Circumstances Involved
As mentioned in the introduction, computer and internet crimes under Section 2C:20-25 can be classified as high as a first-degree indictable offense. Computer and internet crimes can also be classified as second, third and fourth-degree indictable crimes depending on the circumstances involved. Some examples of the types of circumstances that determine a computer or internet crime’s classification include:
- The value of the data or machine targeted;
- Whether the targeted data include government records or other information that is protected by law; and,
- Whether the crime involves the interruption of public communications or utilities.
The Penalties for Computer and Internet Crimes Can Be Substantial
First-degree indictable crimes carry penalties of 10 to 20 years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine. However, even a fourth-degree computer or internet crime conviction can lead to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There are Several Potential Defenses to Computer and Internet Crimes Under New Jersey Law
While the risks of being charged with a computer or internet crime in New Jersey are substantial, there are several potential defenses to these crimes. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can determine what defenses you have available and fight for your freedom on your behalf.
Discuss Your Case with a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer in Confidence
If you have been charged with a computer or internet crime in New Jersey, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can contact you online now.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive criminal defense experience as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our website, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.