The term cybercrime refers to the use of technology and communication devices – such as computers – for the purpose of illegal activity.
Cybercrime has become an increasingly common form of crime and advances in technology have contributed to its growth – particularly on an international level; however, law enforcement have the means of preventing and detecting cybercrime.
The maximum penalty for the charge of possession of data with intent to commit a serious computer offence (Section 308F of the Crimes Act) is three years imprisonment.
In NSW, a court has the jurisdiction to impose any of a range of penalties for someone who has been charged with possession of data with intent. If the case has been proven but dismissed the penalty could be a good behaviour bond, a suspended sentence, a fine, a community service order, a prison sentence or periodic detention.
Once charged, the police have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you were in possession or control of data with the intention of committing a computer offence with the intention of committing, or facilitating the commission of (whether by you or another person) a serious computer offence. They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the possession of data with intent offence.
Usually if you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court will impose a penalty and it will record a conviction. If the court does record a conviction, you will then be in possession of a criminal record. However, if a lawyer can convince the court that you should not be convicted, you will not receive any penalty at and no criminal record. In every criminal case, the court has the jurisdiction to decide whether to convict you and can as an alternative dismiss you under Section 10.
Charges brought for cybercrime are generally based on similar alternative penalties, so that a cybercrime charge for unauthorised impairment of electronic communication (Section 308E of the Crimes Act 1900), for example, is based upon the charge for generally destroying or damaging property.