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Third Degree Computer Tampering: NY Penal Law 156.25

Computer Tampering in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 156.25, is a “step up” and a more serious crime in comparison to Fourth Degree Criminal Tampering. While both offenses are quite significant and indelible upon conviction, Third Degree Computer Tampering is a class “E” felony. Whether you have three prior felonies, one misdemeanor conviction or no criminal record at all, if convicted of NY Penal Law 156.25 a Supreme Court or County Court Judge, Criminal Term, can sentence you to as long as four years in a New York State prison. If you are a predicate felon, the mandatory minimum sentence is one and a half to three years in the New York State Department of Corrections’ custody. Simply, as reflected above and as explained by your own New York computer crime attorney, a conviction for Computer Tampering in White Plains, Manhattan, Poughkeepsie, Rockland or Putnam can leave you locked away “upstate,” render your legal status in the United States void and result in your inability to maintain or continue professional licensure and certifications.

NY Penal Law 156.25: The Elements of Third Degree Computer Tampering

Before understanding the crime of Third Degree Tampering you must first comprehend the foundational offense of Fourth Degree Computer Tampering. Briefly, and discussed in more detail on the respective page dedicated to New York Penal Law 156.20, you are guilty of misdemeanor Computer Tampering if you access a computer or computer service and you intentionally cause damage to the data contained on or in that computer or its respective service. What transforms or elevates the offense to the felony of Computer Tampering in the Third Degree, PL 156.25, is that you must also commit one of the following acts or violate the law as follows:

  1. You intentionally commit or attempt to perpetrate any other felony offense.
  2. Regardless of the past conviction’s degree or the particular offense, you either pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial of any New York computer crime found in New York Penal Law Article 156.
  3. The computer material you destroyed intentionally is of a particular nature specifically defined by law.
  4. In its aggregate or totality, the damage you caused to the computer data or program exceeds $1,000.00.

If you are charged with or indicted by a New York Grand Jury for Third Degree Tampering in Queens, the Bronx, or any county from Dutchess to Westchester, it is critical to remember that any one of the four subsections above can form the basis of a viable offense subject to the prosecution having additional evidence supporting the foundational elements. Moreover, unlike other felony degrees of Computer Tampering, while an element of NY Penal Law 156.25 may be based on the damage caused to a computer program or data, prosecutors need not prove this damage amount beyond a reasonable doubt unless they are prosecuting you under this financial theory whereas every other Computer Tampering crime mandates the District Attorney or New York State Attorney General prove the value element.

Regardless of what subsection you find yourself being investigated or arrested for, an allegation that you committed the crime of Third Degree Computer Tampering is beyond frightening. Whether you are called into the office by senior management with questions about your conduct, you receive a knock on your door by investigators or detectives armed with a search warrant of your home, or you merely find yourself explaining to some branch of law enforcement or private investigative company retained by your employer a genuine misunderstanding or mistake, failure to take the proper steps today can lead you down a path of prosecution, career decimation and public shame.

Don’t be foolish or shortsighted. When accused or the target of any criminal conduct or investigation, do not wait. Make sure you implement the best defense as early as possible. When there is no substitute for knowledge, experience and advocacy, know that the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law are ready to protect and serve you.

Call our New York computer crime lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today.

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