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Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material

It is certainly fair to say that most crimes in New York that involve computers, i.e, New York Computer Crimes, involve either felony or misdemeanor offenses where a person actively tampers with or accesses a computer, server or similar device. However, to think that all crimes and arrests in New York involving computers are of this form would be to grossly misunderstand the New York Penal Law. In fact, New York Computer Crime lawyers or New York criminal attorneys versed in offenses found in Article 156 of the Penal Code can readily identify crimes that do not fit this mold. The first of these crimes that comes to mind is New York Penal Law 156.35, Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material.

Very briefly, but obviously of central importance, you are guilty of NY PL 156.35 if and when you knowingly possess in any form whatsoever computer data or a computer program. This data or program can be any copy, reproduction or duplicate which was copied or duplicated in violation of New York Penal Law 156.30, First Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material (see below). Beyond these elements, your possession must not only be knowingly, but you must also have no right or permission to possess the computer data or computer program in question. Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material is an “E” felony. Not only can a conviction for an “E” felony result in the termination of professional licenses and legal status in the United States, but even a first time offender with an otherwise impeccable record can be sentenced to as much as four years in prison.

The problem that one often faces when charged with NY PL 156.35 is the belief of being caught “red handed.” That is, you are in possession of certain data or programs so you are out of luck. While it may not be easy to argue you were not in possession of the program, merely throwing your hands in the air and surrendering would be terribly misguided. If, for example, information was stored on your home computer or a CD, who had access to these items? Were they shared or located in a common area? If a search warrant was executed, was it valid? Even if prosecutors can corroborate you possessed the data, how can they establish your lack of permission? Did you previously have authority to possess the program? What proof does law enforcement have that your right was revoked? Just some of the pertinent questions you will address with your attorney, retaining the best criminal lawyer may make the difference between overcoming a wrongful or exaggerated allegation and spending time incarcerated for a serious felony.

While there is no substitute for retaining a New York criminal lawyer who is versed in New York’s Computer Crime, take the steps to educate yourself on the law. Read the, follow the links above and take action to protect your future and livelihood. Contact one of the two former Manhattan prosecutors and New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law to navigate you through what will likely be the most significant challenge you will ever face.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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