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Second Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material: NY Penal Law 156.29

Maybe you copied some computer data that you were not entitled to access, but you justified your conduct with some subjective reasoning. Maybe you duplicated personal information of your spouse in connection to a custody dispute or divorce proceeding that he or she had downloaded onto an iPad or similar tablet. You knew you should not have copied it, but now he or she has confronted you for your wrongdoing. Whatever the set of facts, circumstances or the allegation, you might find yourself charged with one of many computer crimes found in the New York Penal Law. A common offense handled by New York computer fraud lawyers experienced in defending clients arrested for "cybercrimes," Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 156.29, may not be a felony but it is a crime nonetheless. A class "B" misdemeanor punishable by up to ninety days in jail on Rikers Island, the Rockland County Jail, the Westchester County Jail or any local facility, an arrest and ultimate conviction for NY Penal Law 156.29 will become a part of your permanent record no matter whether you wrongfully and subjectively believe it is not a serious offense.

What is Second Degree Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material

While the main Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material information page addresses this criminal statute as well as the many legal definitions codified in the New York Penal Law, the following is a brief description of this misdemeanor offense:

You are guilty of Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the Second Degree, PL 156.29, if you copy, duplicate or replicate any computer material without being allowed to do so, aka, you do not have the authority. This computer material must relate specifically to medical history or medical treatment and be accessed and duplicated for the purpose of committing or furthering certain crimes. Keep in mind that the medical records that are copied must be that of either a distinguishable or readily discernable person.

Because Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the Second Degree has unique elements, it is critical, just as in any allegation, that your criminal attorney hold the prosecution to their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Were medical records obtained, copied or replicated? Was the person or persons who was the subject of those medical records identifiable or readily so? If yes, how? Do the copied records reflect social security numbers, names, dates of birth or addresses? How will the prosecution actually prove that you did not have permission or authority to access and copy the material you are alleged to have wrongfully replicated and who will testify to corroborate their claims against you?

Whatever you and your criminal lawyer determine is the best defense to your NY PL 156.29 arrest, take the time to understand the law, secure necessary evidence and move your case forward. Remember, it may not be a crime merely to duplicate computer materials if those in question are not medical records, but do not forget that while you may have a defense to one criminal offense you need to ensure you do not open the door to prosecution for another. Any crime, a cybercrime, computer offense or otherwise, has the potential to set your life, career and family back to a place from where it will be difficult to return.

Do not be afraid to face your accuser and the criminal justice system head on if your rights are violated or you are wrongly accused of a crime. No matter the circumstances, when there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy, know Saland Law is ready and capable to protect you today and beyond tomorrow.

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

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