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Mount Pleasant South Carolina Federal Criminal Law Blog

Are you a catfish?

"Catfishing" is a relatively new term for individuals who misrepresent themselves online, usually in return for a relationship. The word was first used in 2010 and later added to the dictionary in 2014. Commonly thought of in relation to online dating, catfish may create a fake profile or a profile containing misleading information in order to get a date.

While some individuals who catfish others do it for malicious reasons, this may not always be the case. It is possible to catfish someone without even realizing it. This post will dive into what a catfish is and if there are any legal consequences to being one.

Leaving a trail, the digital breadcrumbs of cybercrime

Owing their name to the tale of Hansel and Gretel, digital breadcrumbs function as a navigational aid by tracking the movements of users within web interfaces and programs. These unobtrusive navigational cues allow for faster web browsing and mark a user’s journey throughout the page. However, in cases of cybercrime, digital breadcrumbs leave clues for prosecutors that can serve as evidence against a user.

 

Charged with blackmail? Understand the elements for conviction

You may have made a mistake that demonstrates your intent to threaten someone online, and you feel lost as to how to defend your actions to the court.

Many people often throw the term "blackmail" around to describe an instance of an individual trying to get you to do something you do not necessarily want to do. Yet cases of blackmail prove complex, and if a court finds you guilty, they carry substantial punishments. Understanding the steps that a court must take to convict you may help you determine whether your charge will stand. Knowing all elements of the proof blackmail may even prevent you from committing similar acts in the future.

What to do if you are accused of identity theft

Many Americans regularly share identifying personal information online, whether it is a social security number, credit card digits or bank account information. Some websites provide encryption tools that are designed to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands.

However, not all tools work, and it seems like hackers become smarter every day. Online identity theft is an increasing problem. According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, identity theft is one of the top ten most reported online crimes with losses totaling nearly $67 million in 2017.

Think you can hide your online activity? Think again.

Savvy internet gurus use the internet to commit crimes that are untraceable. But is that really the truth? Common wisdom has told us that anything we do online is forever.

Today it is rare to find a person who does not keep a smartphone within reach at all times. We use it to pay bills, shop, check the weather, and socialize, acting as a storehouse for our most intimate details. Travelling along with us throughout each day, our smartphones are storing masses of time stamped location data that can be used by law enforcement. Perhaps this does not alarm you, because you believe that you would first need to be a suspect of illegal activity and that police would need to obtain a search warrant to access your phone data. But what if police could collect and access everything on your phone already?

What’s the difference between a felony and misdemeanor?

What if you just got pulled over for a suspected DUI? The police officer says he thinks you were driving while impaired. He gives you a field sobriety test and requests that you take a breathalyzer test as well. In all 50 states the test has been set at .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for driving under the influence or driving while impaired (DWI). The amount is even less if you are a commercial driver, it is .04% (BAC). For those under 21, do not even think about driving while intoxicated. There is a zero tolerance when it comes to you. So, is this DUI or DWI a felony or a misdemeanor and what is the difference?

 

Deep web vs. dark web: Are they different?

Most people visit the same few websites every day. These may include social media platforms, news sites, popular blogs or online stores. Usually, it is possible to trace an internet user's every online move. This data is invaluable to advertisers, law enforcement agencies and other entities that have an interest in your private information.

But there are parts of the internet that are largely hidden to prying eyes: The deep web, and the dark web. The deep web and the dark web are two ways to access the internet away from prying eyes. It is still possible to track users' information through these hidden areas of the internet, though very difficult. The deep web and the dark web have their similarities, but they are also very different.

Fentanyl: Here's what parents need to know.

Through the dark web, tech-savvy teenagers are able to purchase dangerous drugs, including a synthetic drug that is 50 times more dangerous than street heroin: fentanyl. If you suspect your child is using drugs, you need to know about fentanyl and take steps to keep them alive and out of the courts. 

Think you know about white collar crime?

White collar crime is a term that covers a wide variety of non-violent, criminal activity ranging from tax fraud to identity theft and child pornography. White collar crimes often involve computers, the Internet or financial deception.

These crimes are complex and varied, which is probably why there are many misconceptions about them. Here are a few of the common misconceptions.

To plea or not to plea: 5 factors of plea bargaining

One of the most difficult decisions you can make during criminal court proceedings is whether or not to take a plea bargain. On one hand, you could receive a lesser punishment. On the other hand, you might lose the ability to hold a fair trial first. This choice is so difficult that it has been controversial for decades. Regardless, 9 out of 10 defendants accept a plea bargain on average.

You will have to consider many factors to determine if you should take the plea deal or proceed to trial. Here are five common factors to consider:

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