Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
People regularly use computers without a second thought, but certain online behavior is illegal and can lead to serious criminal charges. In Michigan, using a computer to commit a crime is a separate charge from the underlying offense, and it carries serious penalties. If you are accused of using a computer to commit a crime in Michigan, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a proficient Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer who understands the complex laws surrounding the charge of using a computer to commit a crime, and if you hire him, he will aggressively defend your rights.Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
In Michigan, it is unlawful to use a computer to commit a crime. Michigan law describes this offense as using a computer or any computer system, network, or program to solicit a person to commit a crime, or to attempt to, conspire to, or actually commit a crime. Notably, using a computer to commit a crime is a separate offense from the crime itself. Further, people can be charged with using a computer to commit a crime regardless of whether they are convicted of the underlying crime.
Using a computer to commit a crime is a broad offense that can encompass a wide range of criminal activities. For example, the crimes out of which such charges arise can include falsely reporting certain crimes, stalking, disseminating child pornography, and other sex crimes involving minors.
The severity of the charge of using a computer to commit a crime and the penalty subsequently imposed depends on the nature of the underlying offense. In other words, if the underlying crime is a felony or misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of less than one year in prison, using a computer to commit a crime will be charged as a misdemeanor, and the penalty imposed for a conviction will be a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. The charges and penalties increase as the seriousness of the underlying crimes increases.Defenses to the Charge of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
People charged with crimes often worry that the prosecution’s evidence will be so compelling that a jury verdict is inevitable. In many cases, though, there are strong defenses that people charged with using a computer to commit a crime can assert. It is important to note, however, that the defenses available are fact specific and will vary from case to case.
In some instances, the defendant may be able to successfully demonstrate that the search that led to the charges in question was unlawful; for example, if the law enforcement agents lacked a warrant, or the probable cause required to conduct a search, or exceeded the scope of the warrant. In such instances, any information obtained via the search should arguably be precluded from evidence.
Another defense is that the defendant did not actually commit the crime, such as if someone else used their computer or impersonated them online or if they were the victim of hacking or identity theft. Additionally, the defense of entrapment may be available if the defendant can show that they were coerced or induced by law enforcement to commit the crime. Finally, the defense of duress may apply if the defendant can show that they were forced to commit the crime under threat of harm or death.Contact a Skilled Ann Arbor Lawyer
Being accused of using a computer to commit a crime can be daunting, but many people charged with such crimes are able to safeguard their rights and reputation. If you have been charged with using a computer to commit a crime, you should not hesitate to contact an attorney. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a skilled Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer who is committed to providing his clients with zealous legal representation. Mr. Bernstein understands that facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience, and if he represents you, he will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable outcome. Our office is located in Ann Arbor, and we regularly defend parties in criminal proceedings throughout Michigan, including cities in Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Dearborn, and Flint. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (734) 883-9584 to set up a confidential and free meeting.