In an age when the expansiveness of technology is available at any moment, our society spends more time online than ever before. We turn to the internet to shop, map routes and read the latest news. We interact with people we would be unlikely to have met in a real-life setting, and we access information which would have been very difficult to obtain otherwise.
With so many people using this technology for a wide variety of individual reasons, your virtual life may seem anonymous and untraceable. This very inaccurate belief has contributed to countless poor choices being made by Internet users, many of which can result in serious legal consequences. Before you decide to gamble with your freedom, take a look at three common offenses that have turned other online users into criminals.
Theft Or Fraud
Any time you set up a fake profile online or receive funds over the Internet, you create a traceable footprint. By design, essentially any method by which you can receive payment from someone else will lead a trail back to you. Financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and citizens at large are on the lookout for financial scams, and you probably aren’t committing the offense in a way that hasn’t landed someone else in jail before you.
Harassing others via social media or using the internet to track or intimidate someone online can translate into electronic or cyber stalking. Not only are these types of offenses punishable by incarceration, they may also result in an Order of Protection. An Order of Protection generally prohibits you from being within a certain distance of the victim, and often takes away your right to possess firearms.
Although some people believe viewing child porn is a “passive crime,” your decision to download such material perpetuates the sexual abuse of children by creating a demand for these images and videos. You don’t have to be the one creating the material in order to play an integral role in victimizing children.
In addition to potential prison time, being convicted of such an offense will land you on the Sexual Offender Registry. Restrictions associated with this designation can affect where you can live, where you can work, and whether or not you can be around people under the age of eighteen – even if they are your own children.
Although the internet provides us with a wealth of opportunity, it does not come without responsibility. Just as they do in the real world, your online actions can have severe consequences that won’t disappear simply because you close your internet browser.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete the intake form below.
Greg S. Law, provides aggressive criminal defense representation in the Salt Lake City area and throughout the state of Utah, including cities such as Ogden, Provo, Park City, Sandy, Orem, Heber, Vernal, Duchesne, Roosevelt, Tooele, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, Layton, Kaysville, Farmington, Centerville, Bountiful, Price, Moab, Cedar City and St. George. Salt Lake County ∙ Davis County ∙ Weber County ∙ Utah County ∙ Summit County (UT)