While many feel safe cruising the internet while believing they are anonymous, many are unaware of just how watched some are when browsing online. Not all internet crimes may be discovered, but those that are may be harshly penalized when convicted.
Accusations Cause Difficulty
Accusations of sex crimes may cause a loss of reputation, social damage beyond repair, ruination of relationships and other related problems. The very accusation may be the foundation for charges in some states, potentially leading to conviction. Accusations of these severe crimes often cause others to lose faith in the accused individual. Some relationships may fail because allegations are believed even though the defendant has not even been convicted. Those in the community the alleged criminal resides in may treat him or her with prejudice based on the accusations alone.
Sex Crimes are an Illegal Activity
Various activities online are illegal. To be an internet sex crime, any activity conducted through use or aided by the internet must be involved. This may include possession or distribution of child images or video of a sexual subject or manner, attempting to entice or encourage a minor’s interactions in a chat room or sending provocative photos or video to a minor. Requesting these may incur additional charges of possession of child pornography as well. These crimes are often complicated with charges at both a state and federal level.
Crimes of Child Pornography
When sex crimes are committed online, these often include charges involving the collection of visual depictions of minors or those that have graphic images of sexual contact or nakedness. Downloading or distributing these images across state lines causes these offenses to be upgraded to the federal level. This may be through server exchanges, transport via routers or even movement with conventional vehicles.
Penalties for these crimes are often harsh with potential additional punishments added on based on the factors of the crime involved. The amount of photos, depictions, age and various similar factors are included in sentencing determination.
Online Inducement and Requests
Luring minors online through enticements with the intent of committing the crime of sexual abuse is a second-degree crime in many states. The minor must be under the legal age of the state, which is usually eighteen. Often prosecution must prove that the perpetrator was soliciting someone under the age of eighteen, some type of attempt was made to entice the youth and intention of committing a crime with the minor was in place. This also involves the use of the internet in the crime.
Penalties through conviction may lead to a prison stay of at least five years. Sex offender registration is a likely possibility if the state requires this. When defending against these charges, the intent behind actions must be proven.
Sex Offender Registration
As with most sex crimes, sex offender registration is required in most states. Any sex offender must register based on the stipulations in the state the crime was committed in and submit various identifying information for the registration. Depending upon the state and crime, registration may be for years or for life. Additionally, sex offenders are often required to register their residence when they move into a new state.
There are variations of Megan’s Law in every state, but guidelines may differ depending upon certain factors. These guidelines are to administer how the sex offender’s information is permitted for viewing by public individuals. Some states have registration through a database with public access, but others have internet registration accessible only to a few. Notifications of sex offenders are often made available to the community he or she will become a part of.
Some states such as New Jersey have regulations on how sex offenders must adhere. This may require those registered to avoid specific towns or areas that ban those with registration. This may additionally ban special areas where sex offenders with a history of crimes against children might run into such young people.
Finding a Lawyer for Internet Sex Crimes
If accused, it is best to find a lawyer that has knowledge about sex crimes. With internet involvement, the lawyer should be well-versed with how to access and use the internet and how these instances apply to these cases.