Cybercrime & Social Media Solicitors

Many people do not realise that they can be charged with a criminal offence for things they say and do online, including on social media. However, cyber and social media offences can carry serious penalties, including the potential for prison sentences and substantial fines.

If you have been arrested or charged with an online offence, or are concerned you may have committed an offence online, you should seek expert legal advice immediately.

Getting the right legal support could see you avoid criminal charges, increase your chances of being found not guilty if you are prosecuted or minimise the penalties should you be convicted of an offence.

JD Spicer Zeb is one of the country’s leading criminal defence firms with over 40 years of experience. We have strong expertise in all types of cyber and social media offences, so can offer a detailed understanding of your legal position, how these types of charges work and your defence options.

Our criminal defence team are here for you at every stage of proceedings, from the point of arrest onwards. We can also advise you before the point of arrest if you are concerned about a potential charge.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with a cyber or social media offence, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.

Our highly experienced criminal defence solicitors offer:

  • 24/7 legal support in person and over the phone, 365 days a year
  • Representation anywhere in England or Wales
  • Accredited Police Station Representatives to support you during a police interview
  • Clear, effective legal advice in any language (see our languages spoken)
  • Local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester

Have you been arrested on suspicion of committing a cyber or social media offence? Use the emergency numbers below to secure representation by one of our accredited Police Station Representatives now.

Our emergency contact numbers:

Birmingham – 07891 777090

Brent & Camden London – 07836 577556

Manchester – 07798 701339

Your legal rights when arrested for a cyber or social media offence

At the point of arrest, the arresting officers are required to tell you:

  • That they are police officers
  • That you are being arrested
  • What specific offence or offences you are believed to have committed
  • Why it is necessary for you to be arrested
  • That you are not free to leave

They must also caution you using the words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Following an arrest, you will normally be transferred to a police station, held in custody (in a cell) and then interviewed.

Being arrested and held in custody is a very stressful and confusing experience.  It can be very easy to inadvertently say the wrong thing. Any mistakes made at this early stage can be hard to recover from, so having expert representation and remembering your legal rights is very important.

The key things to keep in mind when speaking to the police are:

  1. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. Whether to do so or not requires a thorough understanding of your case and how the criminal justice system works. Legal advice should be taken before you say anything.
  2. You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
  3. You have the right to free legal representation.
  4. You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.

What happens if you are charged with social media offence or cybercrime?

Following an interview by police in connection with a suspected cyber or social media offence, you may be:

  • Released with no further action
  • Released under investigation
  • Detained in custody
  • Charged with a specific offence

If you are charged with an offence:

  • A hearing date will be set
  • You will either be:
    • Released on bail
    • Kept in custody until your court hearing

Should you be released under investigation or with no further action, you can be rearrested or summonsed to attend a court hearing at any time.

If you are charged with an offence, you will either be taken directly from police station to court or bailed to attend a court hearing at a future date.

Should you be brought straight to court, we will arrange representation from specialist legal counsel for you to make sure you have the best possible team in your corner.

Should you be bailed to attend a future hearing, we can provide proactive early stage representation, which can potentially help you to avoid drawn out legal proceedings and reduce the charges or any penalties you are facing.

We can engage specialist counsel for consultation whose rates range from between £500 plus VAT - £1000 plus VAT for an initial meeting.

Common social media & cybercrime offences

Contempt of Court

You could be prosecuted if you are found to have committed contempt of court or breached a specific court order related to identifying a person or persons involved in a court case or risking the ability of the court to conduct a fair trial.

Penalties for contempt of court – Up to 2 years’ imprisonment for Crown Court and up to 1 month’s imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2,500 for Magistrates’ Court.

Naming a victim of a sexual offence

Victims of sexual offences are granted anonymity and it is an offence to identify such a person online, including on social media.

Penalties for naming a victim of a sexual offence – A fine of up to £5,000


It is an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 to harass someone, stalk someone or make credible threats to harm someone, including threats to kill, or to put them in fear of violence. This includes harassment and threats on social media, via email and through other online forms of communication.

Penalties for cyberbullying – Up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine for harassment, stalking or placing someone in fear of violence. Up to 10 years’ imprisonment for threats to kill.

Online harassment

If your behaviour online, including via social media, causes someone alarm or distress, or places them in fear of violence, you could be charged with harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment could be against an individual or a group of people and can also involve harassment of people connected to an individual e.g. their friends or family.

Penalties for harassment – A maximum sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Revenge porn

It is an offence under various legislation, including the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, to share private sexual photos or videos of another person without their consent, and for the purpose of embarrassing them or causing them distress.

Penalties for revenge porn – Up to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.


Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, section 4A (which covers stalking involving fear of violence, serious alarm or distress) it is an offence to stalk or harass someone online.

Penalties for cyberstalking – Up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine.


Threatening someone online, whether on social media, by email or through other forms of digital communications is an offence covered by the Malicious Communications Act 1988 as long as it can be shown that the threat is “credible” i.e. the person making the threat can be reasonably assumed to have the intention to carry it out.

Penalties for making threats online – Up to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Funding your legal defence for cybercrime & social media offences

Funding police station representation

Everyone is entitled to free legal representation when arrested or interviewed under caution by police.

While you can choose to be represented by whatever duty solicitor is available at the police station, we recommend choosing your solicitor so you can be represented by someone with specific expertise in cybercrime and social media offences.

Funding your legal defence if you are prosecuted

If you are charged with and prosecuted for an offence, you may be able to apply for state funding to cover some or all of the cost of your defence. This type of funding is properly known as a Representation Order but is commonly referred to as ‘legal aid’.

What financial assistance you can claim and the application process will depend on which type of court the prosecution takes place in.

Magistrates’ Court prosecutions

For a Magistrates’ Court prosecution, some or all of your defence costs may be covered by a Representation Order.

You will need to pass a means test to show that you need help to fund your defence and a merit test to show that it is in the interests of justice for you to have legal representation.

Crown Court prosecutions

If you are prosecuted in Crown Court, you will normally only be able to get help with some of your legal costs. However, if you are found not guilty, any contribution you make towards the cost of your defence will be refunded with interest.

For Crown Court cases, you will only need to take a means test because having legal representation for defence will automatically be considered to be in the interests of justice.

Private fees 

Should you be funding some or all of your legal representation yourself, we will make sure you are completely clear about the likely costs involved.

Please get in touch to discuss our criminal defence fees or find out more about funding your criminal defence.

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about an arrest or charges related to social media and cyber offences, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

  • Brent & Camden London Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for cybercrime and social media offences

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Numbers:

Birmingham – 07891 777090

Brent & Camden London – 07836 577556

Manchester – 07798 701339

This document does not constitute legal advice.


  • Umar Zeb
      • Umar Zeb
      • Senior Partner - Head of Private Client Crime
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  • Lisa Nicol
      • Lisa Nicol
      • Managing Partner - Head of Crime & Serious Cases
      • 020 7624 771
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  • James O'Donnell
      • 020 762 47771
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  • Sanjay Cholera
      • 020 7624 7771
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  • Peter Mulhearn
      • 0207 624 7771
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  • John Geraghty
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  • Danny Parkash
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  • Mimma Sabato
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  • Tammy Sher
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  • Richard Souper
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  • Jonathan Lynn
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  • Samuel Oduntan
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  • Barry Linnane
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  • Stuart Lloyd
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  • Robert Wong
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  • Rebecca Forbes
      • 0161 835 1638
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  • Sachelle Gilbert
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