Los Angeles Computer Crimes Lawyer
While computers are now an essential part of our lives, both in our private lives and at work, they also leave us open to computer crimes, both as a victim and a perpetrator. With the various tasks that can be performed via the Internet and the overwhelming amount of information available online, any one of us could accidentally commit a computer crime and be totally unaware that we have done something illegal. Representing a broad category of crimes, computer crimes (cybercrimes) range from identity theft and hacking to stalking and child pornography violations.
The Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and Computer Crimes
In California most Internet and computer crimes are prosecuted as a felony, which means that the conviction of a computer crime may incur substantial prison time in addition to other penalties. In California, computer crime statutes are found under PC 502 (c) and are collectively known as the Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act. Aimed at convicting individuals who break into computer systems to find private or unauthorized information and hackers, California’s computer statutes recognize nine ways that you can break the law by using the Internet or a computer. These nine ways include:
- Altering, damaging, deleting, destroying or using data, a computer, a computer system, or computer network to execute a fraudulent scheme or to control the property of another for financial gain, the taking of property or the taking of data.
- Taking, copying or using data that isn’t yours.
- Using computer services that aren’t yours.
- Adding, altering, damaging, deleting, or destroying data, computer software, or computer programs.
- Disruption of denial of computer services.
- Provision of a way to access a computer network or system.
- Unauthorized accession of a computer, computer system or computer network.
- Introduction of a contaminant to a computer, system, or network (introduction of a computer virus).
- Use of the Internet domain name of another to send emails that damage a computer, system or network.
In addition to the above-mentioned computer crimes, there are a number of crimes that you can be charged with that aren’t covered in The Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, which include: Internet child pornography, cyberstalking, cyberfraud/identity theft, and cyber impersonation.
California Penalties for Computer Crimes
Computer crime convictions in California come with stiff penalties as outlined below.
- Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act violations - Prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony, these computer crimes range from fines up to $500 to $10,000 and one to three years in jail, in addition to forfeiture of your computer and the possibility of a civil suit being filed by the victim to recover any monetary losses that may have been incurred.
- PC 311. Computer Crimes that involve children (pornography, enticement) - Usually charged as felonies, these crimes can result in fines of up to $100,000, eight years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
- PC 646.9. Cyberstalking - Can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, and include jail time between one and five years, a fine of $1,000 and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
- PC 530.5. Cyber Fraud/Identity Theft - Can be punished as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the crime, and can result in up to $10,000 in fines and one to three years in state prison.
- PC 528.5. Cyber Impersonation - A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
R.J. Manuelian Is An Experienced Los Angeles Computer Criminal Defense Attorney
Computer crimes do not always include imprisonment as there are a variety of alternative options for sentencing, if circumstances allow. An experienced computer crime defense attorney who has thorough knowledge of computers and the strategies that most often work in computer crime cases R.J. Manuelian has both the computer technology knowledge and criminal defense experience you want when faced with a computer crime charge. Contact him today for a free evaluation of your case.