Steve Palmer
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Criminal Defense For Cybercrimes In Ohio

We live in a technology-driven society. Criminal charges for cybercrimes involving a computer or the internet are on the rise. My name is Steve Palmer. I am a criminal defense attorney in Columbus who handles complex white collar and cybercrime defense for clients throughout central Ohio. I founded Palmer Legal Defense to protect the rights of those who have been wrongly accused and to help those who have been caught up in the criminal justice system find a new path forward with their lives.

What Is Cybercrime? Computer And Internet Fraud?

If you utilize a computer or the internet to facilitate activities that violate the law, you are committing an internet crime, also known as cybercrime.

Computer crimes include:

  • An attempt to physically destroy a computer
  • Possession, distribution, or creation of internet and/or child pornography
  • Infecting a computer system with a virus
  • Gaining privileged access to a computer or network system – also known as hacking
  • Changing, using, sharing, duplicating or stealing computer programs or information – includes stealing a company’s trade secrets, copyrighted music or films
  • Preventing someone else from utilizing or accessing a computer
  • Obtaining illegal internet service – occurs when a computer hacker accesses online services belonging to someone else and utilizes them without paying, including online banking services and email accounts

Computer crimes can be as vast as the internet itself, covering a wide range of potential for criminal activity. Cybercrimes are often charged in connection with white collar criminal activity, like embezzlement cases or money laundering crimes. Computers are also frequently used to commit fraudulent activity. Due to the widespread reach and access of the internet, cybercrimes are frequently investigated by federal agents, which can result in criminal charges in federal court. I have extensive experience defending federal charges for complex and high-profile white collar crimes in Ohio and throughout the country.

Cybercrime Penalties

Convictions for any criminal charges can result in hefty fines to lengthy jail sentences. But the penalties for computer and cybercrimes can be extreme, especially if you are facing charges in federal court. The number of alleged victims, the reach of the criminal activity or the amount of money in the cybercrimes can all be aggravating factors that can lengthen sentences and increase fines.

Cyberstalking And Defending The Accused In A Digital Age

Anything you put on the Internet stays there forever, or so it is said. As a result, you need to be more careful than ever about what you post online, especially when emotions are running high. I understand just how quickly a wrong word or turn-of-phrase can be used against you and lead to an accusation of cyberstalking. I regularly defend clients accused of domestic violence and related issues of cyberstalking can easily be involved.

Cyberstalking Laws In Ohio

Cyberstalking is prosecuted under Ohio Revised Code 2903.11 Menacing by Stalking or 2917.21(A) Telecommunications Harassment. These charges are serious, and they apply whether your conduct was sexually motivated or not. According to Ohio law, someone who knowingly causes another person to believe that they will physically harm them or will cause them mental distress is guilty of menacing by stalking.

This includes messages posted through the Internet or other telecommunication devices, like phones or pagers. Based on this standard alone, cyberstalking is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. However, a wide variety of factors and situations can result in the charge being increased to felony status.

A stalking charge is increased to a fourth-degree felony if any of the following conditions exist:

  • The person accused has previously been convicted of menacing by stalking or aggravated trespass
  • The victim is a minor
  • The offender has a history of violence towards the victim or another person
  • The incident includes trespassing on the property where the victim lives, goes to school or their place of work
  • The victim was already protected by a court order
  • There was property damage to the victims’ personal premises as a result of the incident
  • The offense relates to the victim’s work at a children’s services agency
  • The offender made a threat of physical harm against the victim or incited another person to do so

A cyberstalking charge can also be elevated to a felony if the defendant is in possession of a deadly weapon during the incident.

Any person found guilty of cyberstalking faces potential jail time and a fine. The maximum penalty depends on the level of the crime. Ohio law sets the penalties for cyberstalking crimes ranging from first-degree misdemeanor charges that can result in up to 180 days in jail, to the more serious fourth-degree felony charges that result in up to 18 months in jail.

In addition, if the crime was found to be sexually motivated, a convicted cyberstalker may be required to register as a sex offender. Even at their most lenient, these penalties can be severe. It is always in your best interest to work with an attorney who can defend you and protect your rights.

Have You Been Accused Of Cybercrimes Or Cyberstalking? Call Now.

I am available for no-obligation and confidential consultations. To schedule an initial consultation, call my downtown Columbus office at 614-224-6142 or send an inquiry through my website. Evening and weekend appointments can be accommodated.