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New York Computer Crime
Laws are Serious Business

Melanson Law Office P.C. May 6, 2021

New York is the country’s fourth most populous state, but it ranked second in cybercrime losses for 2020. Financial losses from cybercrime reached nearly $416 million in 2020. The state’s response to increasing rates of computer and cybercrime is tougher laws with steeper penalties for convictions.

If you have been charged with a computer crime in New York, you need tough, experienced, and aggressive criminal defense. You have far too much to lose by representing yourself or accepting your punishment without a fight. Defending people charged with computer crimes requires special knowledge and expertise, so choose your attorney carefully.

I began my legal career as a prosecutor — investigating, prosecuting, and defending cases on appeal in state and federal courts. At Melanson Law Office, I now use that experience to aggressively defend my clients, including those charged with computer crimes. If you have been charged with such a crime, call my office now. I represent clients in Kingston, Hudson, Catskill, Highland, Poughkeepsie, Saugerties, and New Paltz, New York.

Computer Crimes in New York

There are five primary computer crime offenses specified in New York penal law, two with charges by degree. Of the nine possible charges, six of them are felony offenses:

  1. Unauthorized Use of a Computer, a Class A misdemeanor, is knowingly using, causing to be used, or accessing a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization.

  2. Computer Trespass, a Class E felony, is also unauthorized access, but doing so with the intent to commit, attempt to commit, or further the commission of a felony by knowingly gaining access to computer material.

  3. Computer Tampering is the unauthorized use of a computer and intentionally altering or destroying computer data or a computer program belonging to another person. Charges range from the fourth to first degree, depending on prior convictions, the types of records altered or destroyed, and the amount of monetary damages. This charge can be a Class A misdemeanor, Class E felony, D felony, or C felony.

  4. Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material in the second degree (a Class B misdemeanor) is copying, reproducing, or duplicating records containing information about the medical history or medical treatment of someone else with an intent to commit or further the commission of any computer-related crime. In the first degree (a Class E felony), this charge is copying data resulting in the owner’s loss of $2,500 or more with an intent to commit or further the commission of any felony.

  5. Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material, a Class E felony, is knowingly possessing any unlawfully duplicated computer related material with the intent to benefit yourself or anyone other than the owner of the material.

What Constitutes Identity Theft?

Identity theft is knowingly and with the intent to defraud, assuming the identity of another person by presenting yourself as the other person by using their personal identifying information to obtain goods, money, property, or services, or using credit in their name that causes them financial loss.

Charges for identity theft range from third-degree to first-degree, depending on the amount of financial losses sustained by the victim, commission of felonies, and use of skimmer devices. Third-degree identity theft is a Class A misdemeanor, second-degree is a Class E felony, and first-degree is a Class D felony.

Aggravated identity theft, a Class D felony, is committing the offense against a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

What Constitutes Child Pornography?

Under New York law, child pornography is defined as “possessing a sexual performance by a child.” A person can be charged if they are aware of the character and content of the item, knowingly have in their possession and control, or knowingly accesses with an intent to view any performance which includes sexual conduct by a child under 16 years of age. Child pornography is a Class E felony. Each image can be charged as a separate count.

Possible Penalties for Computer Crime Convictions

Class A misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to one year in jail or three years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000 or twice the amount of the loss suffered by the victim.

Class B misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to three months in prison or one year of probation and a fine of up to $500 or twice the amount of the victim’s financial loss.

Punishment for nonviolent felony convictions depends on the class, previous convictions, financial losses incurred by victims, and other matters. Generally, in addition to fines, Class E felony convictions are punishable by up to four years in prison, Class D by up to seven years, and Class C by up to 15 years in prison.

Computer Crimes Attorney in Kingston, New York

Even the most minor of computer crime convictions may land you in jail and result in a fine. From a misdemeanor to a felony, the conviction will remain on your record and follow you throughout your life. A conviction could ruin your personal and professional relationships, bar you from some types of employment, and cost you money and your freedom.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to defend you based on intent and knowledge and minimize the punishment you receive if convicted. New York does not take computer crimes charges lightly, but I do not take defending those charged with them lightly either.

If you have been charged with a computer crime in Kingston, New York or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, schedule an appointment with me at Melanson Law Office now.