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Michigan Computer Crime Laws

Modern living has improved due to technological advancement and innovation. We can now handle several financial transactions online, perform complicated work from the convenience of our homes, and virtually communicate with people worldwide.

However, as technology continues to advance, criminal activities are also on the increase. Computer crimes have devastating effects that go beyond just the victims themselves. Businesses, families, and entire communities are also being affected.

The internet offers a false sense of anonymity and security, and many people think they will not be held accountable for their actions. However, the government has created laws which make it illegal for people to commit computer crimes, which includes internet sex crimes. These laws also prescribe harsh punishment for computer crime offenders.

Hiring a competent lawyer plays a significant role in determining if you would beat the charges for computer crimes against you. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a leading criminal defense lawyer in Michigan who can help you secure the best outcome. Nicole is also an excellent sex crimes defense lawyer.

Michigan Computer Crime Laws

Hacker, Cyber criminal with laptop

It is a criminal offense under Michigan law to commit a crime using a computer, computer network, computer program, or computer system. Any person charged with a computer crime may also face charges for the underlying offense.

For instance, if somebody sends harassing or threatening messages to another person via email using their computer, the offender can be charged with stalking as a separate crime and the crime of using a computer to commit a crime. The implication is that they can be charged with two different offenses, even though it is the same act – stalking and a computer crime.

MCL 750.145d is Michigan’s computer crimes statute containing the provisions and penalties of using a computer to commit a crime in Michigan. When you carry out illegal activities on the internet, even if it is within the confines of your home and you do not interact with another person, you may still be liable to felony charges.

Michigan computer crime laws prohibit people from using a computer, computer program, computer network, and computer system to carry out any of the acts listed below:

 

  • Committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or soliciting another person to commit conduct proscribed under MCL 411h (stalking) and MCL 750.411i (aggravated stalking). MCL 750.145d(1)(b).

 

  • Committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or soliciting another person to commit conduct proscribed under Chapter XXXIII of the Penal Code (crimes involving bombs or explosives), MCL 327 (cause death due to explosive), MCL 750.327a (sale of explosives to minors), MCL 750.328 (death due to placing explosives in a building), or MCL 750.411a(2) (false report of certain crimes). MCL 750.145d(1)(c).

What Activities Classify as Internet or Computer Crimes Under Michigan Law?

Internet crimes refer to crimes done using a computer or even a cellphone. They cover a wide range of activities, but can be grouped into two broad classifications – fraud or financial crimes and sex crimes. Examples of computer crimes include:

There are strict laws banning people from using a computer for illegal sexual purposes, harassing or defrauding other people, and identity theft crimes. If you are arrested for a cyber crime, you are at risk of being charged with a felony, which is the most severe criminal charge.

What are the Penalties for Using a Computer to Commit a Crime in Michigan?

Michigan law prescribes a strict penalty for the offense of using a computer to commit a crime. However, the severity of the punishment imposed on people guilty of committing computer crimes depends on the severity of the underlying offense.

Most internet crimes are considered felonies and are punishable by the same degree of punishment attached to the underlying offense. In some cases, the offender may be more severely punished for cyber crime than the punishment for the underlying crime.

Anyone who violates the provisions of the Michigan computer crime statute is guilty of a criminal offense punishable as follows:

  • “If the underlying crime is a misdemeanor or a felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of less than one year, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(a)
  • “If the underlying crime is a misdemeanor or a felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of one year or more, but less than two years, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(b)
  • “If the underlying crime is a misdemeanor or a felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of two years or more, but less than four years, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than four years or a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(c)
  • “If the underlying crime is a felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of four years or more, but less than 10 years, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(d)
  • “If the underlying crime is a felony punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years or more, but less than 15 years, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(e)
  • “If the underlying crime is a felony punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years or more or for life, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.” MCL 750.145d(2)(f)
  • “The court may order that a term of imprisonment imposed under this section be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for conviction of the underlying offense.” MCL 750.145d(3)
  • “This section does not prohibit a person from being charged with, convicted of, or punished for any other violation of law committed by that person while violating or attempting to violate this section, including the underlying offense.” MCL 750.145d(4)
  • “This section applies regardless of whether the person is convicted of committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or soliciting another person to commit the underlying offense.” MCL 750.145d(5)
  • “A violation or attempted violation of this section occurs if the communication originates in this state, is intended to terminate in this state, or is intended to terminate with a person who is in this state.” MCL 750.145d(6)
  • “A violation or attempted violation of this section may be prosecuted in any jurisdiction in which the communication originated or terminated.” MCL 750.145d(7).

What are the Possible Legal Defenses to Computer Crime Charges Under Michigan Law?

Defending computer crime charges can be challenging because there is usually some proof recorded already. The prosecution can obtain evidence even if you have deleted or erased records of your activities on your computer. However, in the case of mistaken identity or being forced to commit the crime, you may be able to put up a valid defense in court.

Also, where your computer was searched and seized without a warrant, as required by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, can be a viable defense. Even if it cannot serve as a valid defense against computer crimes, an experienced lawyer can help to suppress the evidence and render it inadmissible.

Contact Blank Law, PC to Defend You Against Computer Crime Charges in Michigan

If you have been charged with a cyber crime, you should reach out to Attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC to increase your chances of defeating the charges. By creating an attorney-client relationship with her, she can provide legal advice about the criminal justice system and help you build a solid defense strategy against computer crimes.

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Contact Nicole Blank Becker for a free consultation if you have been arrested or charged with a computer crime.

3150 Livernois Rd. Suite 126
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 515-6583
law@nicoleblankbecker.com

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