First Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material: NY Penal Law 156.30

Significantly more serious than its misdemeanor "sibling" of New York Penal Law 156.29, Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the First Degree, New York Penal Law 156.30, is a felony offense. In fact, as an "E" felony, NY Penal Law 156.30 is punishable by imprisonment where you can find yourself incarcerated for as long as four years irrespective of your criminal history. In the event this is not your first felony offense over the previous ten years, there is a mandatory minimum of one and one half to three years “upstate” and you are precluded from certain sentences, such as probation, potentially available to first time offenders.

NY Penal Law 156.30 Elements of First Degree Unlawful Duplication

Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the First Degree has many legal terms identified and defined in New York Penal Law Article 156 that are incorporated into NY Penal Law 156.30. Whether you are accused of this crime or not, it is critical to understand these legal words and see how they are applied to the statute.

You are guilty of NY PL 156.30(1) if you copy or replicate any computer data or program without being granted the right to do so. Additionally, you must intentionally and wrongfully deprive the owner of that property or appropriate from the same an economic value greater than $2,500.00. Alternatively, NY PL 156.30(2) establishes the crime of First Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material according to a distinct theory with other legal elements. While the duplication requirement remains the same, your actions must occur during an attempt or in furtherance of any felony crime in the New York Penal Law.

NY Penal Law 156.30: Practical Application of First Degree Unlawful Duplication

Unfortunately for an individual arrested or charged with PL 156.30(2), the second subsection of this First Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material is a tremendous weapon for prosecutors in their arsenal. For example, if you copy any type of computer material that may be relatively insignificant, but you do so in connection to a creating a fraudulent document or a theft of $1,000.01 or more, your relatively innocuous conduct is "bumped" up to a felony crime. Why? As your criminal defense attorney will explain, completing a fraudulent document, depending on its nature, can rise to a Forgery in the Second Degree, a felony. Further, any theft in excess of $1,000.00 constitutes a felony Grand Larceny.

Because of the many nuances of this computer crime statute, it is critical to attack an investigation, arrest or indictment for New York Penal Law 156.30 as early on in the process as possible. How will the prosecution prove you did not have permission to access and duplicate the data? Barring a recovery of the data or material from you, how will prosecutors establish you are the guilty party? Have you accessed this information in the past? Through what means will the prosecution establish a loss of $2,500 or more? What method is used to calculate this amount? Further, if the prosecution fails in proving a felony beyond a reasonable doubt, will the NY PL 156.30 charge automatically be downgraded to NY PL 156.29 or can other computer offenses come into play? If all else fails, what are the immediate and long-term impacts upon conviction for Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Materials and how can you mitigate them?

The above questions and issues are directly on point with some of the matters you and your New York computer crime lawyer must confront when a "cybercrime" such as Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Materials is alleged. Once you have a grasp on the issues and defenses, take the steps to protect your future, livelihood and liberty and know that when there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy, the former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC stand ready to implement your best defense.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today to discuss your case and possible defenses.

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