Cybercrimes in NV: Everything You Need to Know

In today’s electronic world, computers are integral to everything from finding your future spouse to national security. Our reliance on electronics, however, has also led to a significant rise in cybercrimes. Though frequently viewed as less serious “white-collar crimes,” the potential penalties for a cybercrime conviction can be severe. To protect your freedom and your future, it is critical to have a thorough understanding of cybercrimes in NV.

Cybercrimes NV - The Vegas Lawyers

What Is a Cybercrime?

A cybercrime can broadly be defined as any criminal activity that uses a computer or the internet. Common examples of cybercrimes include:

  • Hacking: Gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer or information stored electronically.
  • Identity theft: Identity theft usually happens in combination with hacking, using personal data without permission to assume their identity.
  • Cyberextortion: Through the use of ransomware, the perpetrator attacks or threatens to attack and then demands something (usually money) to stop the attack.
  • Child pornography and internet sex crimes: Downloading, distributing, or possessing photos/videos of child pornography and/or non-consensual sexual acts.
  • Money laundering: Electronic financial transactions are increasingly used to “launder” the proceeds of criminal activities.
  • Internet fraud: Numerous fraud scams, including phishing scams, use the internet to locate and lure victims.
  • Stalking: Harassing or bullying over social media, email, or other electronic means.

How Common Are Cybercrimes?

As our dependence on computers continues to grow exponentially, so do instances of cybercrimes. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network received over five million reports of cybercrimes. That same year, the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) Annual Data Breach Report indicated that over 440 million people were affected by a data breach. Unfortunately, Nevada has the unwelcome distinction of topping the list of states losing the most money to cybercrimes with over $6 million per 100,000 residents.

Who Investigates and Prosecutes Cybercrimes in NV?

In the United States, many crimes can be investigated and prosecuted by either the state or federal authorities – or by both. For federal law enforcement agencies to be involved in an investigation they must first have a reason to assert jurisdiction over the crime. In the case of cybercrimes, the very nature of the crimes typically gives the federal government jurisdiction because the conduct in question “crosses state lines.” The F.B.I., for example, “is charged with defending the U.S. against a full range of cybercrimes, including threats from hackers for hire, organized cyber syndicates, and state-sponsored malicious cyber actors.” Generally, federal law enforcement agencies investigate large-scale criminal enterprises while state law enforcement agencies focus on individuals or small groups committing crimes.

The State of Nevada, however, also has laws in place that directly address cybercrimes. Stalking, for instance, “with the use of an Internet or network site, electronic mail, text messaging or any other similar means of communication to publish, display or distribute information in a manner that substantially increases the risk of harm or violence to the victim shall be punished for a category C felony.”

If federal law enforcement agents investigate the crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court. If state (or county/city) law enforcement agents handle the investigation, you will be prosecuted by the State of Nevada. Keep in mind though that you can be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a Cybercrime Conviction?

The potential penalties you face if convicted of a cybercrime can vary dramatically, depending on things such as whether you are prosecuted in state or federal court, the specific criminal offense involved, the injury to a victim (financial or physical), and your own criminal history (or lack thereof). Many cybercrimes, however, are charged as felonies, meaning you could be sentenced to a lengthy period of imprisonment if convicted.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged with a Cybercrime in Las Vegas?

If you have been charged with a cybercrime in Las Vegas, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Vegas Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and defenses. Call us at 702-707-7000 or contact us online.