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Computer Tampering in the First Degree: NY Penal Law 156.27

The most serious and severely punished degree of Computer Tampering is New York Penal Law 156.27. Computer Tampering in the First Degree, a “C” felony punishable by up to fifteen years in state prison, by far and away is not only the most harshly penalized Computer Tampering offense, but is one of the most significant computer crimes in New York State across all cybercrime codified in the New York Penal Law. Its worth noting that even though there may not be a mandatory minimum amount of imprisonment you would face assuming you pleaded guilty or a jury convicted you of NY Penal Law 156.27 without any prior criminal history, do not be naïve. While it would be challenging for any criminal lawyer to keep an accused from jail or prison without the proper defense or mitigating factors when the allegations skew towards the lower monetary threshold in excess of $50,000 in damages to a complainant’s computer data or program, when an indictment or felony arrest involves damages in excess to $100,000.00 or $1 million, expect that both Assistant District Attorneys and judges will consider stiff incarceratroy sentences.

New York Penal Law 156.27: The Elements of First Degree Computer Tampering

The underlying premise of a First Degree Computer Tampering charge is that you accessed another person’s computer or their computer network and did so without their approval. Taking it a step further, not only did you lack their consent, but once you engaged in whatever you were doing, you then purposefully caused damage to a computer program or computer data. The nature of how you altered, changed, erased or damaged the data or program is not central to NY Penal Law 156.27, but whether from a financial and value perspective the damage you caused exceeded $50,000.00. In the event that it did, and the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt through an expert or otherwise, the crime you face would be Computer Tampering in the First Degree.

There are numerous scenarios an investigation, arrest, indictment or trial for First Degree Computer Tampering can play out in any court from New York City to the Hudson Valley. Is there an allegation of corporate espionage at IBM in Dutchess County, an attack on the Westchester County Government’s computer data and systems out of White Plains, or did the crime evolve from a domestic or business dispute and you are accused of violating this offense after wiping another person’s computer clean in lower Manhattan apartment? All of these factors aside, because incarceration, restitution, and fines may await you if you do not properly defend yourself, you must identify and implement the strongest viable defense as early in the criminal process as you are able. In fact, your failure to do so will not merely result in potentially devastating direct consequences, but if you hold a professional certification or are a legal immigrant in the United State, the collateral implications involving PL 156.27 are overwhelming.

If you are arrested, indicted or charged with Computer Tampering in the First Degree in New York City or the Hudson Valley, consult with a knowledgeable and experienced New York cybercrime and computer crime lawyer. Not only are there certain terms in the New York Penal Law relating to computer offenses that are specifically defined and confusing to those not familiar with the criminal code, but your counsel may be able to challenge the evidence against you head on while also preventing you from compounding the allegations through admissions, statements or any form of acknowledgement.

When there is no substitute for advocacy, knowledge and experience, the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law are ready to best protect you and your future. You are already accused of making a bad mistake, don’t make a second one and retain the wrong attorneys.

Call our New York cybercrime criminal defense lawyers and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today.

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