Phoenix, AZ Computer Crimes Defense Attorney
Experienced Arizona criminal law defense attorneys that have successfully defended many individuals accused of Arizona computer and internet crimes.
If you have been charged with any kind of computer or internet crime in Arizona, you should immediately consult with experienced Arizona criminal defense counsel. Because many of these charges can result in extremely serious sentences upon conviction, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer familiar with defending these types of crimes, such as a lawyer from The Gillespie Law Firm. The Gillespie Law Firm, P.C. is a leading Phoenix Arizona criminal defense firm and the Firm’s Phoenix criminal defense lawyers have special knowledge, years of experience, and a track record of success defending clients charged with these crimes. The Firm can handle all of the aspects of your case. We will strongly advocate your case at all times, yet do so in a discrete manner, as we recognize that your reputation and your future are at stake. If you choose to retain our firm, we will provide the highest level of criminal defense representation available.
Computer crimes in Arizona can include a wide range of charges, such as:
- Computer child pornography
- Internet fraud
- Internet pharmacy
- Child internet solicitation
- Credit card fraud
- Illegal “spamming”
- Identity theft
- Internet gambling
- Internet auction fraud
These kinds of computer and internet crimes often require the help of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney as well as a computer forensic expert to combat the charges. It is not uncommon for perpetrators of internet crimes to reroute their activities through the IP addresses of perfectly innocent individuals, resulting in unfounded criminal charges.
The circumstances surrounding the search or seizure of the computer may also present a possible defense. Our leading Arizona criminal defense lawyers have successfully litigated cases on this basis, including:
STATE OF ARIZONA v. R.L.
While being interviewed on a separate matter, R.L. was questioned regarding an unrelated past incident in which a computer file containing alleged child pornography was found on a computer in his home. After further questioning, the police requested and obtained a search warrant to seize a computer from his bedroom. Images of alleged child pornography were found on the computer hard drive. Subsequently, R.L. was charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, class two felony offenses punishable as dangerous crimes against children in Arizona. Upon conviction, he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years in prison.
With the assistance of an expert witness, our investigation revealed four of the six charged computer images were retrieved from the “unallocated” space of the computer’s hard drive, meaning the images had been “deleted” or only stored temporarily, but not yet overwritten; another of the images was found in the “temporary internet files” directory, where programs store downloaded files automatically and in many cases, without user intervention. However, because this information was not presented to the Grand Jury, we challenged the State’s presentation of the evidence. The Court accepted our position that the Grand Jury presentation was flawed and ordered the case remanded for a new determination of probable cause.
We also attacked the legality of the search warrant used to seize the computer. Confronted with evidence that the search warrant was overbroad, vague, and lacking in probable cause due to police exaggeration of statements made by the defendants, and concealing of exculpatory information, the Court agreed that the State’s warrant was obtained illegally. The Court granted our motion to suppress all evidence seized after the police unlawfully obtained the warrant and subsequently dismissed all six counts against our client.
Punishment for an internet sex crime offender in Arizona will depend on the type of offense, level of offense, and application of any statutory sentence enhancement. Severity of punishment can also be affected by factors such as the defendant’s criminal history/prior convictions, whether the offense was committed while on probation or parole, and numerous other circumstances. In Arizona, many convictions for internet sex offenses require registration with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), and/or local law enforcement agencies. In many cases even defendants who receive probation are required to register as a sex offender. Sex offenders in Arizona are often placed on “lifetime probation,” which includes close monitoring and counseling
ARIZONA COMPUTER / INTERNET CRIMES CHARGED AS DANGEROUS CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN (DCAC)
By far, the most severe section of Arizona’s mandatory sex crimes sentencing schemes involves alleged “Dangerous Crimes Against Children” (DCAC). Computer sex crimes will be alleged as DCAC offenses if committed against a minor who is under fifteen years of age. Arizona’s mandatory sentencing for sex offenses involving children are some of the toughest in the country. For example, the minimum sentence for one count of computer child pornography (Sexual Exploitation of a Minor) involving a person under the age of fifteen is 10 years imprisonment. The presumptive term is 17 years and the aggravated term is 24 years. Under certain circumstances, a defendant charged with a DCAC computer crime can negotiate to have the charge reduced, which may make them eligible for probation. Occasionally, prosecutors will stipulate to a probation plea, but more often, they will offer the defendant a “no agreements” plea, in which case counsel for the defendant must advocate to the Court that probation, not prison, is the appropriate disposition for his or her client.
With less than twenty years of legal precedent, the laws governing the use of computers and internet are fluid and constantly open to new interpretations. Computer and internet activities that were legal can become illegal with little warning, and activities that existed in a legal “grey” area can suddenly be vigorously prosecuted by the state without precedent.
The information set forth above is only a simplified overview of Arizona’s computer crimes sentencing scheme. Each defendant’s individual case is often quite complex depending upon the particular facts of the alleged crime. Many circumstances impact the formulation of sentencing in any given case and the sentencing scheme is far more complicated than the simple explanation you have read about here. Always seek professional personal advice from an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney who can help you identify all of the facts and issues that may affect the outcome of your particular matter.