Computer crimes have exploded in recent years like the technology that feeds them. So have prosecutions for these offenses, both at the state and federal level. As a general rule, high technology stays a step ahead of the law, but that isn’t always the case with the statutes that now apply to computer theft and related crimes.
If you are facing computer theft charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced computer theft defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Computer Theft and Related Crimes: Hacking in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s computer-related criminal statutes cover a variety of offenses, including hacking, disruption of service, computer theft, unlawful duplication, computer trespass, delivery of a computer virus, and the falsification or forging of email. Hacking, also known as unlawful use of a computer, happens when a person intentionally and without authority accesses, alters, damages or destroys a computer, computer system, network, software, database, Web site or telecommunication device. If any of those acts is committed in furtherance of a plan to disrupt another person’s life or to defraud the other person, it is also hacking, regardless of whether the act itself is intentional. Intentionally or knowingly publishing a password or other confidential computer information is another type of hacking. All hacking is punishable by as many as seven years in prison in Pennsylvania.
Computer Theft and Related Crimes: Disruption of Service, Computer Theft and Unlawful Duplication in Pennsylvania
It is a crime in Pennsylvania to intentionally or knowingly engage in a scheme designed to deny access to online information or impede an online sale or other transaction. This includes denial of service attacks designed to shut down Web sites or block specific users from accessing them. Disruption of service, like hacking, carries a maximum seven-year penalty. Computer theft, meanwhile, is defined as unlawfully accessing, copying or taking computer data, also punishable by as many as seven years. Unlawful duplication, another computer crime, involves the unauthorized copying of computer data. If the copied data is valued at more than $2,500, unlawful duplication carries a maximum 10 year sentence; otherwise, a maximum of seven years applies.
Computer Theft and Related Crimes: Computer Trespass, Computer Viruses and Spam in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s computer crimes statutes also cover computer trespass, which applies to the knowing and unauthorized use of a computer or network with the intent to do any of the following: remove data, alter or erase data, cause a computer to malfunction, alter a financial instrument or electronic transfer of funds, or physically injure another person’s property. Punishment includes a maximum of seven years. Distribution of a computer virus can be charged when a person intentionally or knowingly distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute, any software designed to disrupt, impede, control, disable, damage or destroy a computer, software, system, network, database, Web site or telecommunication device. Penalties include as many as seven years. A final type of computer crime is known as unlawful transmission of electronic mail. This happens when a person uses a computer or network without authority and with the intent to falsify email routing information in order to send spam. It also happens when a person sells, gives or distributes software designed to falsify routing information. As a general rule, unlawful transmission of email is punishable by at most a $2,500 fine, but where an offender’s reckless acts cause property damages valued at $2,500 or more, the fine jumps to $10,000; where property damage of $2,500 result from malicious acts by an offender, $15,000 is possible.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with computer theft, call Brian Manchester, an experienced computer theft defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.