Using a Computer or Internet to Commit a Crime
MCL 750.145d is the Michigan statute that contains the provisions and penalties for using a computer to commit a crime. Inappropriate activity on the internet in the confines of your own home and without ever coming into contact with another person can lead to serious felony charges. Consult with a lawyer at ABDO LAW for a free consultation if you are charged or are being investigated for a computer crime. Phone: (586) 412-5555, Toll Free: (844) Got-Abdo. Do not talk to the police without first consulting with a lawyer.Penalties for Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
The penalty imposed for using a computer to commit a crime will depend upon underlying crime that was attempted or committed by the perpetrator. Most computer crimes are charged as felonies and the penalties associated with computer crimes are as severe or greater than the penalty associated with the undying crime.
1 crime = 2 crimes: The following provision is taken from the penalties provision of Michigan’s computer crimes statute:
If the underlying crime is a felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of 4 years or more but less than 10 years, the person is guilty of a felony (using a computer to commit a crime) punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
In addition, MCL 750.145d(3) provides that the court may order a term of imprisonment imposed under this section be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for conviction of the underlying offense. Prosecution and conviction under state law does not preclude prosecution under federal laws.
Jurisdiction for violation or attempted violation of using a computer to commit a crime may be prosecuted in any jurisdiction in which the communication originated or terminated.Types of Computer or Internet Crimes
Computer and/or internet crimes cover a spectrum of activity. Most computer crimes fall into the categories of sex crimes, financial or fraud crimes such as:
- Solicitation of a prostitute
- Solicitation of a minor for immoral purposes
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Identity theft crimes
- Credit card fraud
Offenses such as stalking and unlawful posting of a message/photograph without consent are a few other crimes that may involve the use of a computer or cellphone devices.
Using a computer or cellular device for illegal sexual purposes, to harass or threaten another individual, or to commit fraudulent financial scams can all lead to serious felony charges. Even a person without bad intentions can find themselves on the other side of the law for unintentional activity in a chat room or peer to peer file sharing website.Macomb County Sheriff Department: M.A.C.E. Unit
The Macomb County Sheriff Department M.A.C.E. unit (Macomb Area Computer Enforcement) provides educational services, conducts cyber-crime investigations and initiates sting operations to discourage and undermine illegal computer related activity. Police sting operations often involve the use of an undercover officer as a decoy that pretends to be a prostitute or minor child and is strategically situated online to flush out local offenders that are looking to meet for a sexual encounter.Entrapment as a Defense to Police Sting Operations
The defense of entrapment applies when an individual is engaged or instigated to commit a crime based upon a scenario or sting operation created by the government (law enforcement/police). The entrapment defense, or the state of being caught in a trap, is often utilized in in drug and sex crime cases when the police use undercover officers to pretend to be involved or complicit in the commission of the crime.
Entrapment is a complete defense to a criminal charge, on the theory that "Government agents may not originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person's mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the Government may prosecute." Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540, 548 (1992). The essential elements of an entrapment defense are:
- Inducement to commit a crime by government agents; and
- Absence of a predisposition to commit a crime.
However, merely furnishing of an opportunity for a person to commit a crime is not entrapment pursuant to Michigan law. A person must show that the police conduct caused him or her to commit a crime that an otherwise law-abiding citizen in similar circumstances would not have committed.Be Proactive and We Will be Preemptive!
You can be charged with serious crimes that can carry prison time without ever leaving your home. There are dangers lurking around every corner of cyberspace. Surfing and searching unprotected internet sites can be a recipe for disaster. We have seen otherwise law-abiding citizens charged with felonies for sending inappropriate messages, engaging in sexual communications with minors or by getting caught in the middle of an undercover police sting operation.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and don’t talk to police without first consulting with a lawyer if you are accused or charged with any crime. Computer crimes are always charged as serious felonies that will require aggressive legal representation. Just because you are guilty does not mean that you will be found guilty! By being proactive, you will be instructed by the highest rated lawyers in Michigan on matters that will facilitate a solid defense strategy. CONTACT US NOW if you are being investigated or charged with a computer crime in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair.
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