Ridgefield Computer Crimes Lawyer
If you find yourself arrested for a “computer crime,” you could be facing years of imprisonment, steep fines, and potentially even permanent branding as a felon upon conviction.
Understanding and effectively combatting allegations of computer crimes is a lot easier with guidance from an experienced Ridgefield computer crimes lawyer.
What is a Computer Crimes?
Although it may seem like a broad term in a colloquial context, “computer crime” actually has a specific definition under state law. According to Connecticut General Statutes §53a-251, there are five different actions that may constitute a “computer crime” if they result in financially measurable damage to a computer or computer system:
- Accessing a computer service without authorization
- Stealing computer services
- Interrupting, tampering with, or degrading computer services for authorized users
- “Misusing” computer system information by tampering with, altering, damaging, taking, intercepting, distributing, or receiving data without authorization
- Damaging or destroying physical computer equipment
Is Computer Crime a Felony?
Under C.G.S. §§53a-252 through 53a-256, the state of Connecticut may prosecute a computer crime as anywhere from a class B misdemeanor to a class B felony, depending on the financial value of harm the defendant’s actions allegedly caused. This means that depending on the circumstances, a conviction for any of the aforementioned computer crimes could result in anywhere from six months in jail and a $1,000 fine to a maximum of twenty years in prison paired with $15,000 in fines.
Additionally, C.G.S. §53a-262 distinguishes extortion through the use of ransomware as a class E felony offense, a conviction for which could lead to a three-year prison term and $3,500 in fines at most. A skilled Ridgefield computer crimes attorney could help build a defense strategy for any offense prosecuted under these statutes.
Are There Possible Defenses to Computer Crime Charges?
There is only one affirmative defense to computer crime allegations in Connecticut, and it only applies to one specific variety of computer crime. Under C.G.S. §53a-251(b)(2), a court cannot convict a defendant of accessing a computer without authorization if the defendant had reason to believe they had lawful access to the system in question, or if there was no reasonable way that they could have known they were accessing a restricted system.
Otherwise, effective defense strategies for computer crime charges tend to revolve around contesting the prosecution’s assertion that a defendant’s actions meet the criteria necessary to be considered a computer crime by the letter of the law. A seasoned computer crimes lawyer in Ridgefield may also be able to help accurately valuate the amount of damage a computer crime allegedly caused, as prosecutors often overestimate the severity of harm done and pursue unfairly trumped-up charges as a result.
Seek Help from a Ridgefield Computer Crimes Attorney Today
A single conviction for a computer offense could have life-altering repercussions, and the quality of legal counsel you retain could make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case. The attorneys at Mark Sherman Law have over three hundred 5-star reviews on Avvo.com and remain available to take your call 24/7.