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There are over 30 or more different online frauds. They range from identify fraud to account takeovers to loan scams, romance scams and vehicle matching scams. Others are inheritance fraud, internet auction fraud, bank card fraud and click fraud.
Over the past years, much has changed when it comes to cybercrime and the use of technology for committing criminal activity. It’s now a legal area that is sophisticated and full of rules and regulations that are highly regulated.
To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of online fraud, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines below. Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.
Depending on what you are convicted of, the sentence could be as much as five years imprisonment coupled with a £5,000 fine.
The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.
The following factors are considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:
Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.
The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:
In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.
‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.
If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.
After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.
If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.
A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an online fraud offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.
Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of online fraud include:
As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.
In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:
Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors
Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:
The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.
There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC). Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.
If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of online fraud and defrauding the HMRC tax office, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.
Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
|Sentence||Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction||Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction|
|Prison sentences of more than 4 years||Sentence is never spent||Sentence is never spent|
|Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years||Sentence length 7 years||Sentence length 3.5 years|
|Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months)||Sentence length +4 years||Sentence length +2 years|
|Prison sentences of less than 6 months||Sentence length + 2 years||Sentence length +18 months|
|Conditional Discharge||Length of order||Length of order|
|Conditional Caution||3 months||3 months|
|Simple Caution / Youth Caution||None – immediately ‘spent’||None – immediately ‘spent’|
|Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order||Length of the order / once compensation is paid||Length of the order / once compensation is paid|
Our online fraud and cybercrime legal team keep current with changes to the UK law and review the changes that are put into place. Hiring one of our team means that you will have access to a knowledgeable legal professional who has access to the most current information. You will be provided with the best defence and advice. Throughout the entire process, you will be supported by lawyers who can get you the best outcome. Our team have the legal experience, technical know-how and tactical expertise to be successful in most cybercrime cases.
Our highly respected cybercrime lawyers and fraud solicitors are uniquely knowledgeable with computers, have experience of hardware and software manipulation and understand the use of malware in executing automated computer attacks. The cybercrime lawyers will work alongside you to develop the best strategy, extract the most important defence evidence and challenge the prosecution’s case, without compromise.
In addition to possessing cybercrime knowledge ourselves, we also work with expert witnesses who can extract further information from digital devices to prove that you weren’t using your computer at the time of the crime and other evidence.
Stuart Miller Solicitors’ expert fraud solicitors and cybercrime lawyers are at the forefront of defending online fraud cases. Not only do we have real experience and tactical abilities to challenge the prosecution in these cases; we have a proven track record of success in defending all fraud cases.
We understand and have the skills to deal with cases involving ‘Nigerian Email Schemes’, ‘Phishing Emails’ and ‘Work at Home Schemes’. We are also familiar with the creation, adaptation and implementation of Malware Attacks to control other people’s computers and obtain data using automated programmes.
Crucially, we have the expertise to handle large volumes of evidence and to ensure every piece of data is scrutinised to yield evidence which may strengthen your defence. We also have the means to investigate and scrutinise any of the evidence that the prosecutors submit to the court.
Whether your case involves the automated malware attacks, sending phishing emails, holding stolen data, selling stolen data or the use of stolen data; it is crucial that you seek very early advice to be prepared for the investigators’ questioning and prosecution tactics.
The prosecution must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that it was you sitting behind the computer involved in the commission of the crime. With the specialist Fraud Solicitors at this firm, you can seek assurance in the fact that we will do everything possible to ensure weaknesses and doubts are highlighted in the prosecution case and your chances of winning are always at their best.
Our cybercrime lawyers have access to some of the best Barristers and QC’s in the UK. We can engage the most suitable Barrister to stand side by side with your Solicitor to create an exceptional defence team. We will arrange an early meeting for you to discuss your case and the different strategies available with your Solicitor and Barrister.
We are proud of our dedication to win, to achieve results. We adopt a pro-active approach to defending cases and believe in collecting supporting defence material early on, to be able to set a firm strategy for the defence case.
If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.
In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.
Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our online fraud lawyers and cybercrime solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.
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