The internet has become a large part of our daily lives, so it’s only natural that crime involving computers, or the internet has increased. Over time, the Michigan legislation has caught up by signing bills that outlaw people from committing certain actions online. Some of these computer crimes include stealing another person’s identifying information, cyberstalking, or possessing illegal material such as child pornography can all lead to a prison sentence.
It’s a common misconception among people that when you use the internet your identity is anonymous. Law enforcement has developed strategies to identify computer crimes including undercover sting operations that can go on for months. If you or someone you know has been charged with an internet or computer crime, we suggest you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Internet and Computer Crimes Attorney in Oakland County, MI
If you are accused of committing a computer or internet related crime, contact Attorney J. Dallo at Dallo Law, P.C.. He is experienced in fighting criminal cases involving digital forensic examinations for computer and high technology investigations. He can level the playing field by understanding the tactics used by the Computer Crimes Unit of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and their seasoned forensic experts, detective examiners, and detective sergeant specialist examiner. Many of these cases involve the examination of cell phones and computers, so having that knowledge is crucial.
Call Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation free. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Bloomfield Hills, Warren, Sterling Heights, Roseville, Easpointe, Utica, St. Clair Shores, Troy, Pontiac, Rochester Hills, Waterford Township, Southfield, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield Township, Clarkston, and Novi.
- Examples of Computer Crimes Under Michigan Law
- Computer Crime Laws in MI
- Additional Resources
Examples of Computer Crimes under Michigan Law
The most commonly prosecuted computer crimes in Michigan include:
- Conspiracy to commit a computer crime
- Credit card fraud
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Cyberbullying another person under MCL 750.411x
- Financial crimes of fraud committed through the Internet
- ID theft
- Possession, distribution, or manufacture of child pornography
- Revenge pornography
- Use of internet or computer system under MCL 750.145d
Computer Crime laws in Michigan
The penalties for a computer crime conviction will depend on several factors. Some computer crimes such as cyberbullying have relatively minor consequences, but in the end you’re still stuck with a criminal record. Other internet related crimes such as committing identity theft or possessing child pornography can result in up to years in prison. To learn some more specifics about certain internet or computer crimes in Michigan, read the sections below.
Michigan Identity Theft Laws
Stealing another’s personal identifying information could lead to identity theft charges. Under the Michigan Identity Theft Protection Act Section 445.65, a person can be charged with the crime of identity theft If they fulfill the following elements:
- Use or attempt to use personal identifying information of another person with intent to defraud or violate the law if by doing one of the following:
- Obtain goods, services, money, property, credit, vital records, confidential telephone records, medical records or employment; or
- Commit another unlawful act
- Conceal, withhold or misrepresent another person’s identity, and then use or attempt to use the personal identifying information to do one of the following:
- Obtain goods, credit, money, property, a vital record, a confidential telephone record, medical records, employment or services; or
- Commit another unlawful act
The state of Michigan is not kind to identity thieves. A first offense could result in up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A second offense may lead to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Offenders with a third or subsequent conviction should expect enhanced penalties of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $75,000.
Does Michigan Have Cyberstalking or Cyberharassment Laws?
There has yet to be a specific cyberstalking or cyberharassment statute added to the Michigan laws. However, that doesn’t stop prosecutors from charging people who exhibit cyberstalking and cyberharassment behaviors. Instead the state attorney’s office will charge the suspected offender with posting a prohibited message through an electronic medium under section 750.411s of the Michigan Penal Code. This section encompasses many computer crimes including cyberstalking, cyberharassment and distribution of revenge pornography.
According to Michigan law, a person shall not post a message through these of any medium of communication, including the internet, without the victim’s consent, if all the following apply:
- The offender knows or has reason to know that posting the message could potentially cause 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts of unconsented contact with the victim
- The message was posted to cause conduct that would make the alleged victim feel frightened, threatened, harassed or molested
- Conduct stemmed from posting the message would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or suffer some sort of emotional distress
Violating these laws will result in a felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years and a fine of up to $5,000. Certain factors could increase these penalties such as posting the message in violation of a restraining order or condition of probation.
Is Credit Card Fraud a Felony in Michigan?
People have been committing credit card fraud since they were introduced to the American public in the 50’s. However, modern technology and the internet has accelerated credit card fraud significantly with some offenders stealing hundreds of people’s credit card information every day. The penalties for committing credit card fraud can be found under Section 750.157n of the Michigan Penal Code, which states:
- The defendant is guilty of credit card fraud if they knowingly and with intent to defraud
- Take a credit or debit card or other financial transaction device from the cardholder without their consent;
- Knowingly possess a stolen credit or debit card without the owner’s consent with the intent to use or sell it
- Knowingly possess an altered or fraudulent credit or debit card; or
- Knowingly using another person’s credit or debit card without consent
Committing credit card fraud is a felony in the state of Michigan. A conviction could result in up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
OCSO Computer Crimes Unit – Visit the website of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) to learn more about its computer crime unit. The unit handles many of their own technology crime cases and investigations at the station level for in-car vehicle navigation and computer equipment which links cell phone, GPS mapping, vehicle data systems in vehicles.
Cyber Command Center (MC3) of the Michigan State Police – Visit the website of the Michigan State Police to find information on the MC3. The MC3 has the task or coordinating a cyber emergency response during critical cyber incidents. Learn more about the Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) that provides investigative support for the seizure and analysis of digital evidence for the law enforcement community.
Cybercrime Attorney in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
If you are under investigation for a computer crime or your case involves evidence taken from a computer system, then contact attorney J. Dallo. He understands how the Computer Crimes Unit handles video retrieval and processing of evidence for the Oakland County Sheriff’s office, other Oakland County law enforcement agencies, including other agencies in Southeast Michigan. Don’t wait another moment for excellent legal representation that could protect your rights and future. Call J. Dallo at (248) 283-7000 today for a free consultation.
Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout Macomb County and Oakland County including Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, Warren, Easpointe, Utica, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Roseville, Rochester Hills, Novi, Waterford Township, Southfield, Troy, Royal Oak, and Clarkston.