Welcome back, and thank you for joining The Kronzek Firm as we unpack the subject of computer crimes in Michigan. In the previous article we looked at exactly what a computer crime was, and what types of criminal activity is usually categorized as “cyber crime”. Moving on, we’re going to be discussing the charges a person could face if convicted of a computer crime.
As we talked about in the previous article , there are many different types of criminal activity that fall under the umbrella title of computer crimes. In each case, there will be specific charges that stem from the specific crime. For example, a person who is accused of circulating child porn is going to be charged with Distribution of Child Sexually Abusive Material. In Michigan, this is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The same goes for other crimes like Soliciting a Minor, Revenge Porn, and Fraud. In each instance there are specific charges that the defendant is likely to face that deal specifically with that crime. However in many cases, because a computer was used in committing the crime, the prosecutor will also slap on an additional charge of Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime.
In this way, you can be charged with both the underlying crime, and the additional crime of using a computer to commit a crime. Surprisingly, there are numerous instances where the computer crime can carry a potential prison term which exceeds that of the underlying criminal charge. This may seem impossible, until you consider the fact that the penalty for Using a Computer to Commit a Crime varies, based on the type and severity of the underlying crime.
How computer crimes are charged in Michigan:
For example, if the underlying offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, then the accused may be charged with another misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, a fine of no more than $5,000.00, or both. As the severity of the underlying crimes increases, the severity of the computer crime charge increases also.
If the underlying offense is a 4 year felony, then the additional using a computer to committ a crime charge would be classified as a felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000.00, or both. For an underlying offense that is a 10 year felony, the using a computer crimes would be classified as a felony with a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000.00, or both. In cases where the underlying crime is a felony punishable by up to life in prison, then the person may also be charged with Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime with a maximum penalty up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000.00, or both.
In addition to the incredibly harsh prison sentences and high fines that a person can face when accused of using a computer to commit crimes, they may also lose valuable items to civil forfeiture. For example, money and other financial assets, along with personal property like computers, peripherals, software, laptops and mobile devices. All of these and more might be confiscated and forfeited by the police during the investigation.
Whether you are accused of kiddie porn, soliciting a minor, fraud, hacking, or any other kind of crime in Michigan that involved a computer, you are going to need expert help! Call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled defense attorneys have decades of experience handling cyber crime charges, and have access to expert witnesses and investigators to assist in constructing your defense. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist you during your time of need.