As business and leisure increasingly takes place over the Internet, the state and the nation have begun to recognize that criminal activities may take place there as well. Laws applying to the Internet prohibit the exploitation of children, child and adult pornography, gambling, stalking and “hacking”–destroying or altering someone else’s data. The State of Michigan and the United States prohibit certain activities on the Internet, especially crimes related to children.
Michigan has many laws prohibiting online sexual exploitation of children. These include prohibitions against knowingly storing, making, copying, distributing or exchanging anything showing sexual conduct by a minor (“child porn”). In order to catch potential offenders, law enforcement officers frequently mount online “stings” that seek to entrap offenders. They might ask users to send them illegal material, ask where they can find illegal material or promise to send illegal material to the user if they are given contact information. In other cases, law enforcement impersonates a minor who may “flirt” with the user, exchange photos and ask to meet. Once the meeting is set up, law enforcement arrests the user and charges him or her with crimes related to attempting sexual conduct with a minor. It doesn’t matter that there was no minor present and no sexual conduct; the judicial system will accept the meeting and the prior communications as proof that the user intended to engage in that conduct.
Another set of state laws applying to Internet conduct prohibit stalking or harassment. If you repeatedly contact someone through electronic communication (including e-mail) made in bad faith, you can be charged with a crime. If you repeatedly contact someone electronically to threaten them, and law enforcement decides that the person has a reasonable cause to be in fear, you can be charged with a crime.
The Internet crosses state lines, and therefore these crimes may be charged as federal rather than state crimes–potentially making the case much more complicated. This is especially true when you crossed state or national lines to commit the alleged crime. If you’ve been charged with an Internet crime in Michigan, it’s essential to find a law firm with experience in both Michigan state courts, and in federal courts.
Neil Rockind approaches every case with the belief that the person he and his firm are defending could easily be one of their own family members. Neil Rockind and his firm have seen firsthand how stressful legal matters can be for our clients and their loved ones.
Please e-mail us or call us at 248-208-3800 to find out how we can help assist you with your case. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times–24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.