Computer crime is also known as cyber-crime. It refers to any crime that involves a computer and a network. Computer crime is generally performed by hackers. By using computers, these hackers can illegally browse or steal a company’s or individual’s private information and delete, alter or corrupt the computer or data files. Stalking, soliciting sex, and counterfeiting can all be considered computer crimes if a computer is used to commit the offense.
Types of Computer Offenses
New York’s Penal Law includes a section for offenses involving computers. The law prohibits a variety of computer-related actions, including:
Unauthorized use of a Computer
As defined by §156.05 of the Penal Law, unauthorized use of a computer occurs when an individual accesses a computer without permission, and the system is protected in a manner to prevent unauthorized use. This crime is an “A” misdemeanor, but you can face jail time of up to 1 year.
As defined by §156.10 of the Penal Law, a person is guilty of computer trespassing when he or she knowingly uses, causes to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization and:
He or she does so with an intent to commit or attempt to commit or further the commission of any felony; or
He or she thereby knowingly gains access to computer material.
In many cases, computer trespassing is accomplished by luring people to click on attachments or download files. Computer trespass is a class “E” felony.
Computer tampering occurs when someone uses a computer without authorization in order to alter, destroy or remove data. In a case of computer tampering, the information can be in a secured area or in someone’s home.
Computer tampering almost always occurs with another white-collar crime, such as identity theft or fraud. While the base level offense is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, if the damage exceeds $1,000, $3,000 or $50,000, then the crime is a more serious felony.
These felonies carry a potential sentence as high as fifteen years in state prison. Computer tampering in the fourth degree is a class “A” misdemeanor, in the third degree is a class “E” felony, in the second degree is a class “D” felony, and in the first degree is a class “C” felony.
Unlawful Duplication of Computer-Related Material
Under New York Penal Law 156.30 (First degree) or New York Penal Law 156.29 (Second degree), the general premise of Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material is that you duplicate or copy records or data that is computer material.
As a misdemeanor crime, you must copy this data without permission and it must relate to medical records. As a felony, this offense must also involve a lack of permission, but the type of records is expanded further. Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material can range from a “B” misdemeanor to an “E” felony. While NY PL 156.30 is punishable by up to one and one third to four years in state prison (even for a first time offender), NY PL 156.29 is punishable by significantly less time.
If you have been accused of a computer crime in New York , speak with a computer crime attorney with technical as well as legal experience. You can contact New York computer crime attorney at the law office of Paul D. Petrus Jr. to get an aggressive computer crime defense in New York City.