Internet Crimes / Cybercrimes
Some crimes do not happen in the open daylight. With the development of the Internet age, cybercrimes are on the rise. The Internet has become another platform for criminal activity. Texas laws state that certain actions on the Internet can be criminally charged.
Internet crimes normally happen because it gives a veil of anonymity. However, just because a crime is on the Internet does not mean it will not be prosecuted. The penalties may include stiff fines, possible jail or prison time, and a criminal record. If you or someone you know has been charged with an Internet crime, it is in your best interest to obtain a practiced criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX. Allow The Benken Law Firm to be your best resource.
Internet Crimes Attorney in Houston, Texas
Cybercrimes are a serious offense under Texas law. Any person, charged with an internet offense, should seek trusted legal representation immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and discover all your legal options.
The financial and cyber aspects of a crime can be confusing. This is why it is important that you hire an attorney who is experienced with Internet crimes. Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm is well versed in Texas computer and cyber crimes. He will collect evidence, file motions, and exhaust all resources to help defend your liberty. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout all parts of Harris County area including Houston, Houston Heights, Memorial, and Westchase.
Call us now at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free consultation today.
Overview for Internet Crimes in Texas
- Types of Internet Crimes in Texas
- Penalties for Internet Crimes in Texas
- Internet Crime Prevention and Safety Tips
- Identity Theft in Texas
- Additional Resources
Types of Internet Crimes in Texas
Internet crimes come in many different forms. They can range from soliciting a child online to illegally downloading movies and music. Under Texas law, cyber crimes can fall under the realm of sex offenses, white collar crimes and fraud. Internet crimes. These offenses are known as “computer crimes” under the law. The following are some different types of Internet crimes in Texas:
- Identity theft
- Possessing child pornography
- Distributing child pornography
- Internet fraud
- Solicitation of a minor
- Illegal downloading
- Online Impersonation
- Unlawful Decryption
Penalties for Internet Crimes in Texas
Internet crimes cover a wide variety of offenses. Some of these crimes involve fraud such as identity theft, and others involve financial benefits such as embezzlement. No matter the crime, standard statutory penalties apply. These penalties can range from a simple fine to life imprisonment.
The following are the possible penalties a person may face if he or she is convicted of an Internet crime.
- Class C Misdemeanor – Punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- Cybercrime example: Breaching a computer network for a financial benefit that is less than $100.
- Class B Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 180 days in Harris County jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Cybercrime example: Tampering with electronic data for a financial benefit that is $100 or more but less than $750.
- Class A Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 12 months in Harris County jail, and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Cybercrime example: Impersonates another person over instant messaging or similar communication that exposes the name, domain address, phone number, or other types of identifying information.
- State Jail Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of 24 months in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Cybercrime example: Improper photography or visual recording of a child
- Third Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Cybercrime example: Identity theft if a person uses more than 10 but less than 50 identifying items.
- Second Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Cybercrime example: Online solicitation of a minor who is younger than 14 years of age.
- First Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 99 or life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Cybercrime example: Unlawful decryption for a personal benefit if the value of the money or goods is $30,000 or more.
Internet Crime Prevention and Safety Tips
Internet crimes can happen to anyone at any time. There are certain actions a person can do to reduce the chances of being the target of Internet crimes. It is important that you are always aware of whom you are speaking to on the Internet, and what the possible consequences of an online interaction can be.
- Ensure a site is secure and reputable before providing credit card numbers online;
- Do not provide credit card information when requested through unsolicited emails;
- Monitor your credit statements monthly for fraudulent activity;
- Install or update your antispyware technology;
- Keep your operating system up to date;
- Be careful of what you download;
- Do not open spam; and
- Turn on your firewall.
Identity Theft in Texas
Under state law, identity theft is a cybercrime charged under Texas Penal Code § 32.51. According to the statutes, an individual can be charged with identity theft if he or she with the intent to harm or defraud another person obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses:
- Identifying information of another person without their consent,
- A deceased person’s information that would be identifying if they were alive, and/or
- Identifying information of a person who is younger than 18 years old.
A conviction for identity theft depends on the number of pieces of identifying information the alleged offender had:
- State jail felony if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is less than 5
- Third degree felony if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is five or more but less than 10
- Second degree felony if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is 10 or more but less than 50; or
- First degree felony if the number of items obtained, possessed, transferred, or used is 50 or more.
FBI Cyber Crime Unit – Visit the official website for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Find more information surrounding the FBI’s cybercrime units including the Cyber Action Team, the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Texas Computer Crimes Laws – Follow the link provided to visit the Texas Penal Code website. Access the page to find more information on unlawful decryption, electronic data tampering, online solicitation of a minor, and other cybercrimes. You can also see how the state of Texas penalizes each offense.
USA.gov: Online Safety – Access USA.gov, an official website of the United States government, to learn about online safety. You can report a cyber crime and read about how to protect yourself online.
Cybercrime Attorney, Houston TX
If your or someone you know has been charged with an Internet crime in the Harris County area, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced defense attorney. Criminal defense attorney Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm can assess your charges and clarify your legal options.
Brian Benken is up to date with the current technology and Texas Internet laws. Cybercrimes can be difficult to defend and understand. Often, an attorney must not only understand the crime but the technology involved. Brian Benken is always up to date and ready for a challenge. Find a skilled Internet crimes attorney with The Benken Law Firm today.
The Benken Law Firm defends those accused of internet crimes throughout every part of Harris County including Houston communities such as Westchase, Magnolia Park, Greenspoint, and South Park. Call us now at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule your first consultation, free of charge.