Are Cybercrimes Prosecuted in State or Federal Courts?

a man on a laptop

Internet crimes, also known as “cybercrimes,” have become one of the fastest-growing areas of the law in the past decade. While this can largely be attributed to increasingly easy access to the internet, it can also be due to the public’s misconception of what is actually considered “illegal” in the realm of cyberspace.

For example, where exactly are cybercrimes prosecuted? Are they only prosecuted in the state where the alleged perpetrator committed the crime, or can they be prosecuted at a federal level, since the internet does not have one geographic base?

How Internet Crimes Are Prosecuted

In most cases, a defendant will be charged in the state where an alleged crime occurred and may face that state’s penalties. In regard to internet crimes, however, it is more of a gray area. This is because a person’s actions on the internet can originate in one state, but be felt in many other states.

There are certain situations in which a single state may bring charges against a person who committed an alleged internet crime. This could manifest in the following way: A user engages in internet activity in their home state and causes harm in another state. Then, an affected person from the other state may charge the user, even if the user does not live in the same state. It is possible that law enforcement from the other state may extradite the user to face justice where the crime occurred.

More commonly, however, internet crimes bring federal charges because the nature of the internet causes it to cross state lines. As federal crimes, such charges may carry even harsher sentences.

Charged with an Internet Crime? We’re Here to Help

If you have been charged with an internet crime, it may feel like the odds are stacked against you. In this situation, you need qualified defense attorneys who are well-versed in this area of the law and have experience handling jury trials and defending clients’ rights.

Contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. at (612) 444-5020 to schedule a free consultation.

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