The internet is still relatively new to society and the laws associated with it are still catching up to the many ways it can be used and misused. It is possible to use your computer in order to commit sex crimes that can result in life-long consequences. The attorneys of Banks & Brower are familiar with computer sex crimes because we help defend many people who are charged with criminal wrongdoing through their use of the internet. We have a proven track record of success in helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their cases. If you have been accused of a computer sex crime, you deserve representation that will protect your rights.
Types of Computer Sex Crimes
Solicitation for sex is illegal whether in person or over the internet. Solicitation is not only giving money for sex or sexual contact, but also offering to pay money for sex. It is also illegal to offer to have sex or perform other sexual acts in exchange for money over a computer. Those guilty of either of these may face a misdemeanor charge which may be upgraded to a felony depending on other circumstances.
Child pornography is another common type of computer sex crime. Knowingly selling or sending pictures of children under the age of 18 is illegal, and sentences are more severe for sending material involving children under the age of 14. The material must have no literary, scientific, or educational use in order to be considered child pornography.
Buying or receiving child pornography knowingly online is illegal as well. Punishment for child pornography can range from 6 months to 6 years incarceration as well as up to $10,000 in fines, depending on the age of the victim and other circumstances related to the crime.
Because computer sex crimes generally occur online, they may also incur federal charges and penalties in addition to the state charges involved in such cases.
What to Do If You Are Accused of a Computer Sex Crime
Investigators may urge you to voluntarily turn over your home computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. They may tell you that this will help your case and help establish your innocence. You should never agree to voluntarily turn over your property, or voluntarily allow investigators to search your property, without first consulting an attorney. While investigators may tell you that if you are innocent you have nothing to hide, in fact they are tasked with finding any evidence that may demonstrate your guilt.
You should also assert your right to remain silent. You have the right to not incriminate yourself. You have no obligation to speak to investigators without an attorney present to advise you of your rights and look out for your interests. It is the investigator’s job to prove their case, you are under no obligation to provide them with evidence that may implicate you. Remaining silent is one of the best things you can do to safeguard your rights.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney will help protect your rights by ensuring that any searches performed, or material turned over for investigation, is done so in strict accordance with the law. An attorney will also advise you on what is advisable to say.
Should it not be possible to completely establish your innocence, your attorney can help you negotiate a fair plea bargain that will not require you to admit to crimes you did not commit. In many cases, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge that does not leave you with a felony conviction on your record.