An NYC Cyber Crime Lawyer Explains the Law

As technology becomes more deeply embedded in the fabric of our everyday lives, the law has developed to include various serious criminal charges for offenses involving the use of computers and the internet. These include federal and state charges, from misdemeanors to serious felonies. If you have been charged with a crime related to the use of a computer or similar device, you need an attorney who understands the law and the technological aspects of the charges you face. NYC cyber crime lawyer Cody Warner can help you understand your charges and the defenses available to you. He can then work with you to develop a legal strategy to get the best possible outcome. 

Cyber Crimes Are Broadly Defined Under New York Law

There are no specific crimes for “hacking,” denial-of-service attacks, or other actions you might expect to be illegal under New York law. Instead, the laws are much broader. You can be charged with a cyber crime for specific conduct done on a wide variety of technological devices and platforms, including the following: 

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Text messaging
  • Your personal computer
  • Public computers or your employer’s computers
  • Video game console (such as an Xbox or Playstation)

A cyber crime can also be charged in addition to an underlying offense such as stalking, fraud, or harassment. In addition, you can be charged with a cyber crime even if the use of a computer or other device was incidental to the underlying offense. An NYC cyber crime lawyer can evaluate the charges you are facing and help you understand your options. 

Unauthorized Use of a Computer In New York

P.L. 156.05 makes it illegal to knowingly use a computer, a computer service, or a network without authorization. This can apply to a broad range of circumstances, including the following: 

  • Using a computer at work to obtain sensitive information, you do not have the authorization to access
  • Obtaining someone else’s login credentials and using them to access a computer, program, website, or communication platform
  • Gaining access to a secure network without permission

Unauthorized use of a computer is one of the less serious cyber crimes, but it is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. However, the prosecution must prove you did not have permission, and that you knew you did not have permission. In many cases, the accused was acting upon the belief that they had authorization or did not realize they did not have permission until after they gained access. If you have been charged with unauthorized use of a computer, an NYC cyber crime lawyer can determine whether the charges have any validity. 

Computer Trespass

Computer trespass is defined by P.L.156.10 as knowingly using or accessing a computer or network without authorization and: 

  1. Does so with the intent to commit or further the commission of any felony; or
  2. Knowingly gains access to computer material. 

The first scenario, accessing a computer with the intent to commit a felony, is straightforward. You could be charged with computer trespass if you gained access to a computer network to commit serious financial fraud. However, the second scenario is especially troubling as you can be charged with computer trespass if you gained access to anything that may be considered “computer material.” As a result, aggressive prosecutors may choose to charge you with computer trespass when unauthorized use may be more appropriate. 

Computer trespass is a class E felony. If you are convicted of computer trespass, you could face up to four years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. In addition, you could face up to $5,000 in fines or twice the amount of any financial gain you may have realized as a result of the trespass. 

Computer trespass is a very serious charge. Contact an NYC cyber crime lawyer to develop the best defense strategy for your case.

Computer Tampering

Computer tampering is the crime of using a computer to intentionally destroy or alter the data of another person. Under New York law, there are four degrees of computer tampering charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

  • Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree (P.L. 156.20), New York is a class A misdemeanor charge. If convicted, you face up to one year in jail.  
  • Computer Tampering in the Third Degree (P.L. 156.25) is a class E felony. If convicted, you could face up to 4 years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years, and a fine of up to $5,000. It is charged when the accused engages in computer tampering with the intent to commit a felony, has a prior conviction, causes damage in excess of $1,000, or intentionally alters medical records concerning COVID-19 vaccination status. 
  • Computer Tampering in the Second Degree (P.L. 156.26) is a class D felony.  If convicted of Computer Tampering in the Second Degree, you face up to 7 years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. It is charged when the accused causes more than $3,000 of damage or destroys medical records resulting in serious physical injury or the risk of serious physical injury.
  • Computer Tampering in the First Degree (P.L. 156.27) is a class C felony, and you face up to 15 years in prison if convicted or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. Computer Tampering in the First Degree is charged when the defendant is believed to have caused more than $50,000 worth of damage.   

If you have been charged with computer tampering, consult with an NYC cyber crime lawyer who can defend you against these allegations and help you get the best possible result. 

An NYC Cyber Crime Lawyer Helping You Face Your Internet Sex Crime Charges

Prosecutors aggressively pursue internet sex crimes, especially those involving minors. Facing an internet sex crime can be terrifying. If you have been charged with an internet sex crime, an NYC cyber crime lawyer can help you obtain the best possible outcome. 

New York law includes several different internet sex crimes, including the following: 

  • Possession of Child Pornography. Possessing, distributing, or creating child pornography is a crime under both federal and New York state law. Unfortunately, the internet makes access to child pornography easier than ever, and many people find themselves facing a child pornography charge when they unknowingly gained access to it. These charges are often class E felonies that carry a potential penalty of up to four years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. Many child pornography are prosecuted by the federal government because they often involve the use of interstate computer networks. 
  • Prostitution Offenses. Soliciting a prostitute or engaging in prostitution can become a cyber crime when conducted over the internet. This can involve making arrangements to meet a prostitute over the internet and promoting or advertising. P.L. Article 230 includes a variety of offenses you can be charged with if you are involved with prostitution in any way. Prostitution is typically a misdemeanor charge, but you could face felony charges depending on various factors, including whether the prostitute is a minor. 
  • Luring of a Child. Law P.L. 120.70 prohibits any attempt to lure a child under the age of 17 to engage in sexual conduct. This can become a cyber crime when the accused communicates with the child over the internet, often through social media. You could be charged with luring a child even if you didn’t actually meet the child if prosecutors believe that they have sufficient evidence that you intended to do so. A class E felony, you could face up to 4 years in prison if you are convicted or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years.. 
  • Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree. If you provide sexual or pornographic materials to minors by way of the internet, you can be charged with Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree  under P.L. 235.22. This crime is a class D felony, and you face up to seven years in prison if you are convicted or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 

Like other sex crime convictions, in addition to a prison sentence and potential fines, any one of these charges can destroy your reputation, your career, and your standing in the community. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may also have to register as a sex offender. An NYC cyber crime lawyer can help you develop the best strategy to handle your case.  

Charged with a Computer Crime? Contact NYC Cyber Crime Lawyer Cody Warner Today 

NYC cyber crime lawyer Cody Warner develops strategic, tailored defenses for his clients charged with cyber crimes. He works closely with his clients to understand every facet of the case to develop the right strategy to get the best possible result. If you have been charged with a cyber crime, contact Cody today to schedule a free consultation and start moving forward.