Computers and other forms of technology have certainly had an impact on modern society. Much of this has been positive, but it has also opened up a wide array of legal issues as a result. If you have been charged with the crime of computer tampering in the first degree in New York, this means that law enforcement officials have reason to believe that you have accessed a computer without proper authorization. You then would have used such access to alter of destroy either computer data or a computer program. If you have been charged with such a crime, it is important to contact NYC criminal attorney right away.
Computer Tampering in the First Degree Further Defined
There are different ways that an individual can access a computer or network without authorization. This might take place via the use of a program that logs keystrokes in an effort to determine a password that is necessary to access the system. It can also occur when an individual gains legitimate access to the system, but then uses that access to do something with the information obtained that is not authorized. There are actually four different categories of this crime under New York law, but computer tampering in the first degree is deemed to be the most serious. For this charge to be handed down, you would need to use or gain access to a computer, service, or network without authorization. You would also need to intentionally alter or destroy the data to a damage valued in excess of $50,000.
An Example of Computer Tampering in the First Degree
There are many different ways that computer tampering can occur, so it is helpful to provide an example in order to understand this topic better. Imagine that an individual were to hack into the computer network of a major investment brokerage company and subsequently set out to alter the messages sent by clients that related to the buying and selling of certain securities. As a result, many types of transactions were interrupted and the brokerage house lost millions of dollars as a result. This is far over the $50,000 threshold, so the individual is likely to be charged with computer tampering in the first degree under New York law.
Possible Defenses Against Computer Tampering in the First Degree
Just because you are charged with this serious crime does not mean you to have face the accusation lying down. The first line of defense may very well be to demonstrate that you had good reason to believe that you actually had proper authorization to either alter or destroy the computer data in question. This defense often works even if it turns out that you were wrong. All that is required for this defense is to show that you have a proper reason to believe that you had authorization, even if you did not.
Your NYC criminal attorney may be able to show that it was not actually you who altered or destroyed the computer data in question. This is another common defense to the charge of computer tampering in the first degree. If you can show that another individual access that computer without your permission with the aim of altering or destroying data, then the prosecution will have a hard time proving that you are the guilty party.
As a class C felony, a conviction of this crime will carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. This is serious, so make sure that you have the best criminal lawyer in the region representing your legal rights.