Cybercriminals attack consumers and businesses in the hopes of gaining access to their devices and systems and accessing their sensitive data. There can be times when people get charged with cybercrimes — despite the fact that they are actually innocent. If this happens to you, it pays to partner with an Atlanta white-collar criminal lawyer.
Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC makes it easy to connect with a cybercrime defense attorney in Atlanta. We can review your cybercrime case and build a defense designed to get any charges against you dismissed or reduced. To learn more, please get in touch with us.
Cybercrime charges we defend against
A cybercrime defense lawyer in Atlanta gives each case their undivided attention. They learn about the charge that you face and help you prepare your argument accordingly. Below are some common cybercrime charges that our skilled attorneys defend against.
Hacking occurs when someone identifies and exploits a weakness in a computer system or network in order to access data. The hacker can use the data to commit fraud and other illegal activities.
Someone can accuse you of hacking them. In this scenario, you can face civil and criminal penalties. However, when you have an experienced cybercrime lawyer in Atlanta at your side, you can get the help you need to avoid these penalties.
The team at Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC takes hacking and other cybercrime charges seriously. If you’ve been accused of hacking, contact us immediately. Our Atlanta internet crime attorneys can look for ways to get the charge against you reduced or dismissed.
If you use someone else’s personal or financial information without their permission, you may be guilty of identity theft. There are many signs that someone may be the victim of identity theft. These include:
- Getting bills for products or services that they didn’t buy
- Having loan applications denied
- Details about accounts that they didn’t authorize showing up on credit reports
If someone reports you to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for identity theft, the consequences can be severe. The FTC watches over data-sharing activities, including those associated with identity theft. Following an identity theft allegation, it is beneficial to hire a cybercrime defense lawyer in Atlanta who can help you defend against this claim.
Online or computer fraud
With online or computer fraud, an individual uses a computer or system to commit illegal activity. Or, a person may target someone else’s computer in the hopes of damaging, altering, or destroying it. Examples of times when someone can be charged with online fraud include:
- Using emails to get recipients to share their bank account numbers or other personal information
- Utilizing someone else’s computer to get their personal information
- Installing malware on someone else’s computer
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IC3), a division of the FBI, is committed to finding anyone who commits online fraud. Yet, the FBI or other federal or state agencies can inadvertently charge an innocent person with computer fraud. For this individual, it’s paramount to hire an Atlanta cybercrime defense lawyer.
You may work for a company that gives you access to its computer systems and data. The business may provide this access so you can do your job to the best of your ability. If you use your access for malicious reasons, you may be charged with an employer-related cybercrime.
For instance, an employee may use a company computer to view another worker’s personal information. The employee may do so without permission to do so. In this instance, the employee can be punished.
You can be found guilty of an employer-related cybercrime if you work with a government or private-sector organization. If you face an employer-related cybercrime charge, get help from an attorney. Then, your lawyer can take a look at your case and explain your legal options to you.
What is the CFAA and what does it protect?
The 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a federal law that allows prosecutors to address cyber-based crimes. Under CFAA, it is illegal for someone to access a computer without authorization. The act has been updated multiple times since it initially took effect. Regardless, the act continues to govern access to computers — and make sure that anyone who unlawfully accesses a computer is punished for their actions.
If you are found guilty of violating CFAA, you can be put into prison for up to 10 years. For those who violate CFAA a second time, they can receive a prison sentence that lasts up to 20 years. When you hire a best-in-class criminal defense lawyer who specializes in cybercrime, you may be able to avoid the steep penalties associated with CFAA violations.
What is a “protected computer?”
A protected computer refers to any computer that’s used by the federal government or a financial institution or in foreign or interstate commerce or communication. Per CFAA, it is against the law for someone to access a protected computer unless they are authorized to do so. CFAA also prohibits unauthorized users from accessing protected computers with the intent to commit fraud or obtain anything that has value.
What does “without authorization” mean?
When someone acts without authorization, it means that they knowingly do something. For instance, an individual can access a protected computer without the authorization to do so. This individual can be charged with a cybercrime due to the fact that they knowingly used a computer without the authority to do so.
What does it mean to “exceed authorized access?”
In some cases, a person may be given a limited amount of access to a computer. This individual may be allowed to access certain pieces of information on the device. If they exceed the authorized access given to them, they access systems and data beyond those that they are authorized to use.
For example, a government employee may have authorized access to a computer that they use to complete various daily work tasks. The employee may use the computer to view personal or financial information about their coworkers. This employee has exceeded their authorized access — and they can be punished for a cybercrime based on their actions.
What are the penalties for cybercrime in Atlanta?
You can receive civil and criminal penalties for cybercrime in Atlanta. The victim of a cybercrime may sue an at-fault party for damages. In a recent cybercrime lawsuit against Microsoft, the technology giant was ordered to pay $20 million in compensation based on its collection of children’s personal information.
Along with facing a potential lawsuit, there’s a risk of reputation damage and loss of employment based on a cybercrime. If you’re charged with cyberstalking, online fraud, or any other cybercrime, the accusation can damage your relationships with family members and friends. On top of that, an employer may fire you if you illegally access its systems and data, and any professional licenses you have can be suspended or revoked if you’re charged with a cybercrime.
You can receive state and federal charges relating to your cybercrime, too. Rather than face these charges on your own, it helps to have an attorney who provides exceptional service in high-stakes matters represent you. This attorney understands the challenges that can come up in a cybercrime case and helps you address these issues before they get out of hand.
Possible defenses to cybercrime charges
Your attorney will learn as much as they can about your cybercrime charge. They will conduct an investigation to understand the full extent of your charge and what can be done to address it. From here, they can build a legal strategy.
The best cybercrime defense lawyer tailors a legal strategy to their client. They understand all aspects of their client’s case and make sure that this individual can present a compelling argument that explains why they should not be convicted. There are many potential defenses that a lawyer will use to resolve a cybercrime charge, including the following.
Someone else was using your identity
You may let someone else use your computer, and they may utilize your device to commit a cybercrime. Comparatively, you may be the victim of identity theft without even knowing it, and the person who stole your identity may use it as part of a cybercrime. In either scenario, your attorney may be able to show that you were not responsible for an online crime.
You had authorization to access information
The prosecutor in your cybercrime case may claim that you were not authorized to access systems or data. Meanwhile, you may be able to provide documentation that shows you were legally allowed to access the systems or data in question. Your attorney may also be able to argue that you believed you were allowed to access systems or data, which could lead to a plea agreement or getting the charge against you dismissed.
Lack of intent or knowledge
You may have made an honest mistake that led to a cybercrime. This is a point that your attorney can emphasize during your trial. If the prosecutor in your case can’t prove that you willingly or knowingly committed a crime, the charge against you may get dropped.
Under investigation for cybercrime? We can help.
At Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC, our team includes fearless and accomplished trial lawyers who have plenty of experience with cybercrime cases. We blend big firm talent and small firm versatility to help our clients get the best possible case results. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online or call us at (404) 891-9150.