Cyber and social media offences can carry serious penalties, including the potential for prison sentences and substantial fines. Many people do not realise that they can be charged with a criminal offence for things they say and do online, including on social media.
Our experienced criminal team have in-depth knowledge of both technology and the law involved in computer and internet crime (Cyber Crime). As such we work to protect your best interests ensuring the best possible outcome.
When necessary, we instruct and work closely with forensic IT experts and possess our own in-house technology to process evidence.
Oracle Solicitors is one of the country’s leading criminal defence firms with over 50 years of experience. We have strong expertise in all types of cyber and social media offences, so detail your legal position, how these types of charges work and your defence options.
Getting the right legal support could see you avoid criminal charges, increase your chances of being found not guilty if you are prosecuted or minimise the penalties should you be convicted of an offence.
Our criminal defence team are here for you at every stage of proceedings, from the point of arrest onwards. We can also advise you before the point of arrest if you are concerned about a potential charge.
Types of Computer and Internet Crime
A crime involving computers and the internet is also known as ‘cyber-crime’. There is a huge variety of different types of these crimes, and they are increasing as technology develops.
Below are a number of common examples:
The Rise of Cyber-Crime
The growth of the internet has had a profound impact on everyday life and the global economy. However, the internet also poses new and growing threats because this rapid growth has been matched by a huge rise in cyber-crime.
The UK government has recently ranked cyber-crime as the foremost threat to national security; stating that sponsored attacks could threaten the UK political and economic systems.
Common social media & cybercrime offences
Harass someone, stalk someone or make credible threats to harm someone, including threats to kill, or to put them in fear of violence it is an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This includes harassment and threats on social media, via email and through other online forms of communication.
Penalties for cyberbullying – Up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine for harassment, stalking or placing someone in fear of violence. Up to 10 years’ imprisonment for threats to kill.
We often see cases where there is a general campaign of hatred, designed to cause harm to the reputation of the victim. Being the victim of harassment can be incredibly stressful and even frightening, and as a result, it is essential that you put a stop to it as soon as possible. If your behaviour online, including via social media, causes someone alarm or distress, or places them in fear of violence, you could be charged with harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Penalties for harassment – A maximum sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, section 4A (which covers stalking involving fear of violence, serious alarm or distress) it is an offence to stalk or harass someone online. Cyber stalking and harassment can take place at school, within the workplace and within Family relationships.
Penalties for cyberstalking – Up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine.
Contempt of Court
You could be prosecuted if you are found to have committed contempt of court or breached a specific court order related to identifying a person or persons involved in a court case or risking the ability of the court to conduct a fair trial.
Penalties for contempt of court – Up to 2 years’ imprisonment for Crown Court and up to 1 month’s imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2,500 for Magistrates’ Court.
Naming a victim of a sexual offence
Victims of sexual offences are granted anonymity and it is an offence to identify such a person online, including on social media.
Penalties for naming a victim of a sexual offence – A fine of up to £5,000
Threatening someone online, whether on social media, by email or through other forms of digital communications is an offence covered by the Malicious Communications Act 1988 as long as it can be shown that the threat is “credible” i.e. the person making the threat can be reasonably assumed to have the intention to carry it out.
Penalties for making threats online – Up to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.
Our Cyber Crime Solicitors
If you have been arrested or suspect that you might be arrested for a computer crime or internet fraud, you need immediate expert help. Also, if you are at risk of extradition our expert Extradition Lawyers is able to provide clear advice.
Our Cyber Crime Solicitors have a reputation for developing the tactics necessary to successfully defend clients in these cases. Cyber cases are extremely complicated which is why you need expert advice, so get in contact with us without any delay.
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