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Computer Tampering: NY PL Article 156

Experienced New York cybercrime attorneys know that any offense involving a computer or the internet can have tentacles well beyond the streets of New York City in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. While an investigation, arrest or indictment for a computer crime, such as Computer Tampering, may commence in New York, pieces of that crime may happen elsewhere in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties. 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 from the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office can use in their arsenal to prosecute those they believe are involved with crimes involving or targeting computers and computer networks.

What is Computer Tampering in New York State

Generally, the crime of Computer Tampering is perpetrated if you access or use a computer, computer service or computer network without the custodian or owner giving you that right. Moreover, you do so with the goal to alter, damage or even destroy computer data or a computer program. While the base level offense is “merely” a class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail (in New York City this jail is the infamous 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 and penalties as high as fifteen years in state prison. Even if you are not incarcerated in prison, five years probation, a “6/5 split” of jail and probation, as well as other dispositions are available to the courts. Further, if you in are convicted of one of these offenses as it relates to financial damages, expect that the District Attorney or NYS Attorney General will seek restitution and potentially fines.

It is worth noting and discussing with your criminal defense attorney that the damage value applied to your case 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 from one of these felony offenses. In the right circumstances, prosecutors will aggregate the lesser damage amounts so that the allegation can be inflated to a viable felony offense. Depending on the allegations and evidence, your criminal lawyer may demand that an expert assess the dollar amount as it can make the difference between the different felony degrees or even a non-felonious prosecution.

Computer Tampering Crimes: The Big Picture and Related Prosecutions

Often a client who consults with a New York cybercrime and computer fraud 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 your counsel 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, or login names and 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 legally defined in the New York Penal Law beyond what you might believe they encompass. Should law enforcement confront you with a New York computer crime allegation, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law 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. Know that your best defense is Saland Law’s experience, knowledge and advocacy.

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

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