Both federal and state law enforcement agencies take computer crimes very seriously. The FBI has even partnered with other law enforcement agencies to develop and implement the Internet Crime Complaint Center that accepts internet crime complaints from both victims and those who are close with them.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Any criminal conviction can be serious when it comes up on a criminal background check. Computer crimes can be particularly harmful as they go directly to one’s character and trustworthiness. In 1986, Congress enacted the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The intent of the legislature was to confer broad federal jurisdiction over computer crimes while deterring and punishing involvement in hacking. Pursuant to amendments since 1986, that legislation has been expanded at least six times, and it now contemplates both civil and criminal fraud and abuse.
What is a computer?
Under New York law, a computer isn’t just your desktop or laptop. A computer is broadly construed to be any electronic device that can be used for storing, transmitting, receiving or using information.
State computer crimes in New York
New York penal law section 156.00 designates five crimes involving computers that can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Those involve:
The statute of limitations
The New York statute of limitations for computer crimes is five years from the date of the offense or when it reasonably could have been discovered. If the State of New York fails to initiate a prosecution of an alleged computer crime within that five year period, it can be forever barred from proceeding further. That statute of limitations is consistent with the federal statute of limitations.
Of course, the defense can be raised that you weren’t the person who committed the offense alleged. Other recognized defenses to New York computer crime charges are:
According to the Pew Research Center, over 87 percent of all adults use the internet in one way or another. As per the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales in the United States totaled $91.2 billion in the second quarter of 2016. That was an increase of 5.6 percent from the year’s first quarter, and 8.1 percent of the nation’s total commerce. Reports of serious computer crimes have increased accordingly. If a person has the training and is so inclined, serious computer crimes can be committed.
If you’re confronted with allegations of criminal behavior as a result of your online activity, an attorney who is dedicated and experienced with an understanding of how technology might be used is the best person to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation on any computer crime allegation.
Don’t give the prosecution the advantage by giving a statement or a confession. You have the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. Exercise those rights. We’re former prosecutors with a combined 30 years of courtroom experience with offices in Manhattan, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Because we’re former prosecutors, we’re uniquely situated to know how the other side thinks. You can talk with us and discuss all of your options, and we’ll recommend our best strategy before you commit to anything. We understand how important your case is to you, and we’ll work tirelessly on your behalf.
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