An experienced New York cybercrime and computer crime lawyer knows that any offense involving a computer or the internet can have tentacles well beyond the streets of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx). While an investigation, arrest or indictment for a computer crime, such as Computer Tampering, may be commenced in New York, pieces of that crime may happen elsewhere. Computer Tampering, pursuant to New York Penal Law sections 156.20, 156.25, 156.26 and 156.27, is just one of those computer crimes that assistant district attorneys can use in their arsenal to prosecute the accused.
Generally, the crime of Computer Tampering is perpetrated if you access or use a computer, computer service or computer network without permission. Moreover, you do so with the intent to alter, damage or even destroy computer data or a computer program. While the base level offense is “merely” an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail (in New York City this is Rikers Island), if the damage exceeds $1,000, $3,000 or $50,000, then the crime is enhanced to significantly more serious felonies. These felonies carry a potential sentence as high as fifteen years in state prison. It is worth noting that the damage value can be aggregated and closely follows the New York Grand Larceny statutes in terms of elevating the crimes based on dollar amounts. Merely because you caused smaller amounts of damage over multiple days will not shelter you. In the right circumstances, prosecutors will aggregate the lesser damage amounts so that the allegation can be inflated to a viable felony offense.
- Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree – New York Penal Law 156.20
- Computer Tampering in the Third Degree – New York Penal Law 156.25
- Computer Tampering in the Second Degree – New York Penal Law 156.26
- Computer Tampering in the First Degree – New York Penal Law 156.27
Often times a client who consults with a New York criminal lawyer regarding a computer related offense, such as Computer Tampering, will have other legal issues or problems. In other words, the crime of Computer Tampering may be only one of many allegations or a means by which the accused is alleged to have perpetrated another crime. Just as in any offense, it is imperative to consult with a New York criminal defense attorney prior to speaking to the police or detectives. Might you face another crime of Falsifying Business Records? Were your actions part of a greater Grand Larceny scheme? What if, for example, you are questioned about times of computer access, IP information, login names or passwords? It is certainly possible that your seemingly innocent responses may not just be damaging, but the final “nail in the coffin” that prosecutors will ultimately use to tie you back to an alleged crime. Even worse, you may be innocent of the offense, but your statements may bring you into the investigation as a target or co–conspirator.
Although the facts, evidence and potential defenses in your particular computer crime investigation, arrest or indictment cannot be addressed on a website, education is key. In fact, many of the terms used in these statutes, such as “computer program,” “computer material” and “computer data,” are specifically defined in the New York Penal Law beyond what you might believe they encompass. Should you be faced with a New York computer crime allegation, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC to work with you to assess the evidence, identify possible defenses and to advocate on your behalf. Don’t stand by idly as an arrest for Computer Tampering cripples and destroys your career and future.
Call our New York cybercrime and computer crime lawyers at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today.