Cybercrime

Have you been accused of cybercrime offences?

If so, you need to talk to one of our cybercrime solicitors in Leeds at the earliest possible opportunity. We know that law enforcement authorities – both in the UK and overseas – can misinterpret what may be perfectly legal online activity.
We want to help you tell your side of the story and bring the matter to a swift conclusion with minimal impact on your life.
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Why choose our cybercrime solicitors to defend you?

Cybercrime and the associated technologies are complicated. You need a solicitor defending you who is already up to speed with all aspects of this area of law, otherwise you will be starting your defence at a disadvantage. Our specialist cybercrime solicitors have a record of securing successful outcomes for clients accused of computer misuse, online fraud and other cybercrime offences. We also work closely with barristers who have a strong understanding of cybercrime cases and strategies for building a strong defence in them. If you choose our Leeds cybercrime solicitors to represent you, we will bring in these barristers to add even more cybercrime law expertise to your defence.

Which cybercrime charges are you facing?

Our cybercrime solicitors have the experience and knowledge to support you and help you to fight any cybercrime offences you are facing.

They specialise in defending clients against offences including:

Computer Hacking and Malware

Hacking is a general term for the act of intruding into computers, devices and networks to which you were not authorised to have access. This might be to gather personal data or other profitable information, to launch DDoS attacks or deface a website. Malware is malicious software that is spread between computers and devices, usually with the aim of causing disruption or stealing data. Viruses, ransomware and spyware are examples of malware.

Offences related to hacking and malware are usually prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Specifically, unauthorised access to computer material (section 1), unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences (section 2), and unauthorised modification of computer material (section 3) are all offences under the Act.

Depending on what the alleged attack entailed, you might also be charged under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 or the Data Protection Act 1998. RIPA relates to intentional and unlawful interception of communications, while obtaining, disclosing, selling or offering to sell personal data are criminal offences under the Data Protection Act.

Why have you been charged with hacking offences?

If you have been charged with an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, you are accused of carrying out a hacking or malware attack against computer systems, which generally refers to any device used for storing, processing and retrieving information. Police have gathered evidence that they believe shows you are responsible for a hacking or malware attack. This evidence will have been presented to the Crown Prosecution Service, which agreed that it met the threshold needed in order for you to be charged and prosecuted.

What can you expect after being charged with hacking offences?

This is very much dependent on the nature, target and ultimate victims of the alleged hacking or malware attack. All offences under the Computer Misuse Act are triable either way, which means they can be heard at either a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. In general, more serious cases will be heard at the Crown Court, where a judge and jury will hear first the prosecution and then the defence case. The jury will deliver a verdict on whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found or plead guilty, the judge will then sentence you.

An additional complication is the possibility of extradition to the USA. The FBI takes a prominent role in prosecuting hacking cases worldwide, particularly when the alleged offence has impacted US interests. If you are extradited to the USA on computer hacking charges, your chances of being convicted are immediately increased. In the event that you are convicted, the potential sentence will also be significantly longer.

Can you go to jail for hacking offences?

Yes, jail is a possibility if you are convicted of hacking or malware offences. For unauthorised access to computer material the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment. For unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences it is five years’ imprisonment, and for unauthorised modification of computer material it is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Online Fraud & Identity Theft

Online fraud is a very broad term that relates to various tactics used for obtaining personal information for criminal means. This includes electronic financial frauds, fraudulent sales through websites and mass-marketing frauds.

Electronic financial fraud involves carrying out transactions in which the cardholder is not present in order to defraud the cardholder, businesses or both. Fraudulent selling is the act of offering non-existent goods or services or counterfeit goods (advertised as being authentic) to buyers who believed they would receive what had been advertised. Mass-marketing frauds and consumer scams include phishing scams and online romance frauds.

Online fraud allegations might result in charges under general fraud legislation, such as the Fraud Act 2006. These charges, like fraud by false representation, will focus on the underlying deception rather than the cybercrime aspect. Charges against you might also be brought under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, as well as the Theft Act 1968, Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Why have you been charged with online fraud?

If you have been charged with online fraud, a police investigation has gathered evidence that you have deceived people over the internet in order to steal their identity or defraud them. They believe that the evidence amounts to a offence under one or more of the Acts mentioned above. The Crown Prosecution Service has agreed that the evidence is sufficient for you to be prosecuted for the offence with which you have been charged.

What can you expect after being charged with online fraud?

Charges such as fraud by false representation are triable either way, which means your case could be heard at a magistrates’ court or at the Crown Court. This will usually depend on the scale of the fraud you are alleged to have committed. With maximum sentences significantly shorter at a magistrates’ court, larger frauds and those with aggravating factors or more likely to be heard at the Crown Court.

If that happens in your case, a jury will deliver a verdict and, if they find you guilty, a judge will sentence you.

Can you go to jail for online fraud?

Yes, you can go to jail for online fraud, just as you can go to jail for any type of fraud. As mentioned above, the online aspect is often incidental. For example, if you are found guilty of fraud by false representation there is a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. A sentence of that length is reserved for the most serious frauds

Digital Piracy & Copyright

Digital piracy and copyright infringements are deemed as intellectual property crimes. Intellectual property is something to which a person asserts ownership through copyright, design, patent or trademark.

Piracy is when an item, such as music, films, games, software, TV shows and live broadcasts, are copied, distributed or shared without authorisation.

Digital piracy may be prosecuted under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Depending on how the pirated material is used, offences may have also been committed under the Trade Marks Act 1994, the Counterfeiting and Forgery Act 1981, Video Recordings Act 2010, the Registered Designs Act 1949 and the Fraud Act 2006.

Why have you been charged with digital piracy?

There are various ways in which digital piracy offences can be committed, particularly since the emergence of file-sharing and streaming websites.

If you have been charged, the authorities believe there is evidence that you have shared or distributed pirated material. Given that copyright laws are breached by millions of people every day, the likelihood is that the copyright infringement you are alleged to have committed was at a very large scale or for significant financial reward.

It is is also likely that the investigation against you is being led by a specialist investigation team, like the National HiTech Crime Unit, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), Trading Standards Agency, and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). In order for you to be charged, the relevant authority will have presented its evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS has agreed that the evidence meets the threshold for you to be charged.

What can you expect after being charged with digital piracy?

That will depend on the charges you are facing. Copyright infringement covers a range of offences with an equally wide range of penalties. Some offences can be dealt with at a magistrates’ court, while more serious offences will be heard at the Crown Court.

Can you go to jail for digital piracy?

There is a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine for the most serious cases prosecuted under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Get in touch for a free consultation with our cybercrime solicitors in Leeds.

Let’s start the fight against the cybercrime allegations you’re facing. We offer a free consultation, so you can discuss your case with our cybercrime solicitors at no cost. You can arrange to meet us in person, by video call or over the telephone — whichever you prefer.