Since the mid-1990s, the internet and communication technology have exploded, facilitating instant communication and providing unparalleled access to information and community. With the click of a button, a user can instantly chat with someone across the street or around the globe. Digital images are downloaded or distributed in a matter of seconds. And while the information superhighway and mobile technologies have in many ways eased our communication and information needs, they have also introduced a whole new set of crimes and facilitated access to a seemingly limitless pool of potential victims.
Though internet and mobile communication seem to have a cloak of anonymity, in truth, digital storage and computer forensics make it almost impossible to erase an electronic trail. If an online chat veers into inappropriate and illegal territory, if temptation or an honest mistake causes you to download and view illegal material, the record is stored and available for investigators to find. Such evidence may be used against you in your prosecution, but there are also numerous options for your defense.
At Phillips & Associates, our internet sex crime lawyers carefully explore every viable defense option to develop the optimal strategy for your case. When it seems as if the world is against you, we are on your side, protecting your rights and privileges through judicious legal counsel and quality defense representation.
Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act
Computer sex crimes and internet sex crimes are any sex offenses which are carried out by means of electronic technology, including internet connection, cell phones, text messaging, mobile devices, computers, computer networks, and electronic storage devices. The Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act prohibits a number of actions involving computer technology, including hacking, fraud, or disrupting a computer, computer system, or network. The Act also expressly forbids using a computer or network to commit any crime:
21 O.S. § 1958- No person shall communicate with, store data in, or retrieve data from a computer system or computer network for the purpose of using such access to violate any of the provisions of the Oklahoma Statutes.
Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than five (5) years, or by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such imprisonment and fine.
The penalties associated with conviction of violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act are in addition to any penalties of conviction of the primary offense. For sex crimes, these consequences can be staggering, including the possibility of life in prison and/or lifetime registration as an Oklahoma Sex Offender.
Internet Sex Crimes
Though commonly referred to as "internet sex crimes" or "computer sex crimes," the offenses described can be carried out via any electronic or digital medium, including cell phones and mobile devices. Computer sex crimes include:
- Child pornography
- Soliciting minors online
Other sex crimes, such as distributing obscene materials to a minor or lewd or indecent proposals to a minor, may also be perpetrated through the internet or mobile technology.
Internet sex crimes are subject to intense prosecution, and public outrage against online predators is strengthened by media coverage from shows like Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator." This type of "investigative journalism" has created hysteria, having countless mothers and fathers believing that a predator is lurking behind nearly every computer monitor in America. When a person is accused of being an online predator, he or she is subject to public humiliation as well as the violation of his or her liberties in an attempt to protect the public.
Prosecutors are swift to bring criminal charges; you need a defense lawyer who is just as swift to protect your rights. An internet sex crimes lawyer from Phillips & Associates has the resources and expertise to successfully handle your defense.
Federal Legislation of Computer Sex Crimes
The United States government has enacted a number of laws designed to prevent and penalize computer sex crimes and the sexual exploitation of children.
- Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998 which amends the federal criminal code to set penalties for solicitation of minors and child pornography perpetrated by mail, wire, or computer; which strengthens penalties for repeat sex offenders; and which restricts federal prisoner access to the internet and interactive computer devices.
- Cybermolesters Enforcement Act of 2000 proposed to strengthen penalties for those accused of stalking children via the internet.
- Internet Crimes Against Children Prevention Act of 2000 which establishes a Federal Internet Crimes Against Children training facility, known as the Innocent Images Online Training Center (IIOTC), to "educate and train local, State, and Federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors who investigate and prosecute Internet and on-line crimes against children."
- Child Sex Crimes Wiretapping Act of 1999 which establishes certain sex crimes against children as predicate crimes for the interception of communication. These predicate offenses include child pornography, coercion and enticement to engage in prostitution or other illegal sexual activity, and the transportation of minors to engage in prostitution or other illegal sexual activity.
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act which protects the privacy of certain types of electronic and online communication but which authorizes the interception of such communication when it may provide evidence of certain criminal offenses, including child pornography, sexual exploitation of children, and other sex crimes against children.
Penalties of Internet Sex Crime Conviction
Cyber sex crimes are felonies, and even if a defendant had no physical contact with his or her accuser, he or she may face a lengthy prison sentence and lifetime registration as a sex offender in accordance with the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act. As a registered sex offender, a person is saddled with housing restrictions, employment constraints, and even limitations on places he or she may freely go. For many of those convicted, being branded a sex offender makes it difficult, if not impossible, to make a fresh start. The conviction carries lifelong ramifications well after any legal debt has been paid.
Computer Sex Crime Defense in Oklahoma
At Phillips & Associates, we are not here to judge you or the circumstances leading to your arrest. We are here to defend and uphold your legal rights and to fight on your behalf. You may have been arrested as a result of a lapse in judgment, an addiction to sex or pornography, or deception by your accuser or task force investigators acting as decoys. Whatever your situation, we offer exceptional legal defense representation backed by a continuing record of success.
Don't discuss your case with anyone—not police, not your accuser, not jail staff or cellmates. Anything you say, even in an attempt to "clear things up," can be used against you. If you are charged with a computer sex crime, immediately contact a defense lawyer who can help you avoid the mistakes that could cost you your case. Call today to schedule your free, confidential case review by an experienced sex crime defense attorney in Oklahoma.
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