Cyber crimes are crimes that use Internet, computers and networks for illegal activities. Cyber crimes include Internet scams, Hacking, Internet Fraud, Copyright Infringement, and an array of Sex crimes. Cyber sex crimes include communication via the Internet with potential victims. Communication by Email, in chat rooms, on cellphones, via social media are used in cyber crimes. Cyber sex crimes include solicitation of minors, grooming, cyber stalking and child pornography. Identifying and charging persons with Possession of Child Pornography, Distribution of Child Pornography and Production of Child Pornography is a focus of cyber investigations. Money laundering, drug trafficking, Internet scams, Identity Theft, Harrassment are also Cyber crimes.
Investigative Methods of Law Enforcement
Task forces on the Federal, State and local levels use various methods to find and charge persons with Cyber crimes. Sophisticated software allows the various law enforcements agencies(FBI, Homeland Security, IRS CID, U.S. Postal Service for example) to troll the Internet for suspect activities. Cooperative task forces of federal/state governments pool their resources and expertise to investigate cyber crime.
After the initial investigation a search warrant is obtained to determine and verify from the Internet Service Provider(ISP) the location and the person connected to the IP address of the suspect.
Search Warrants are executed without notice at the suspect's residence or place of business. An initial(cursory) computer forensic examination of the computer is conducted contemporaneously with the execution of the search warrant.
Law enforcement is focused on obtaining a voluntary statement and admission of wrongdoing from the suspect. Most suspects waive their Miranda rights.
The experienced Cyber crime defense lawyer will use several methods to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the client's case.
The process begins with an in depth interview of the client and anyone who has knowledge of the situation. Persons who live or work with the client and/or who were present at the time of the execution of the search warrant are critical to interview.
An understanding of the technical aspects of computer hardware and software is required to conduct a complete defense investigation in Cyber crime cases.
Coordination with computer forensic experts is very important in determining the strengths and weakness of "evidence". The best Computer Forensic experts are persons who were trained and worked for the government and business. Expert examine hardware and software.
A team approach of Criminal Defense that includes experienced lawyers, paralegals, forensic experts must be used to protect the client's rights and presumption of innocence.
Meticulous review of all information is the foundation of creative and aggressive Defense strategies. Team meetings with the lawyers, paralegals, forensic experts and the client must occur.
This process allows the Defense team to brainstorm the viability of all potential defenses. The defenses can based in the technology by attacking the methods used by law enforcement or can be based in a more traditional defense like alibi. This process provides the client with the tools they need to make intelligent choices.
The use of computer forensic experts is very important in the analysis of the governments investigation and potential evidence. The evidence is potential because defense forensic experts may be able to limit or eliminate the forensic "evidence" that the prosecutor wants to use in the case to prove that the defendant committed the cyber crime.
Computer experts are familiar with the methods and software that government computer investigators use to gather information.
Cyber Crime Criminal Defense - Conclusion
Cyber (Internet) crime is a focus of law enforcement of the Federal, state and local level. Significant government resources are being used to investigate and prosecute Cyber crimes. Regardless of the serious and at times disturbing allegations in these cases the rights of the accused must be protected and defended by experienced criminal defense attorneys. Cyber crimes are different from non-cyber crimes because of the computer and Internet technology involved.
This guide is a cursory overview of Cyber crime defenses and strategies. Consult with an experienced Federal (and/or state) Cyber Crime Criminal Defense lawyer in your jurisdiction to determine and develop specific defenses and strategies.
Copyright 2013 Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd.