Federal computer crimes cover a wide variety of offenses that include hacking, cyber terrorism, unauthorized computer access, and unleashing ransomware, computer viruses or malware. Any violation committed with a computer, such as federal identity theft or online stalking, can be classified as a cyber crime.
Because of their potential to create havoc, eliminating computer crime is a high priority at U.S. agencies like the FBI. Investigators use leading-edge technology to track down those who commit cyber crimes. Federal prosecutors are relentless not only in seeking convictions but also in aiming for the stiffest possible sentences.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
The fundamental law that prosecutors use to prosecute federal computer crime is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Signed into law in 1986, the law has been amended several times since to keep up with advances in technology and cyber offenses.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes it illegal to distribute or release computer code that is intended to cause damage and/or economic loss. Under the CFAA, you can be prosecuted for knowingly or recklessly launching a virus into computers used in interstate commerce.
Someone convicted under the CFAA could face a prison sentence as long as 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008, and some provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act are also used to prosecute computer crimes.
Hiring a Pittsburgh Computer Crimes Lawyer for Your Case
If you suspect that you are being investigated for a computer crime or you have been formally indicted, do not delay – hire an experienced federal attorney immediately. Your rights and future are at stake. The sooner an attorney can begin working on your case, the better. Federal law enforcement may have weeks, months, or even years of evidence against you. Your attorney can begin making requests for evidence to determine what can and cannot be used against you. He or she will also guide you through the federal criminal process so that you know what to expect.