What Is The Penalty For Hacking In New Jersey?
These days, there are plenty of tech-savvy individuals who are more than capable of bypassing basic computer security systems. However, you should know that New Jersey takes computer crime very seriously. Even if you weren’t intending to do any harm with a few innocent hacks, you may face serious legal consequences for your online activities.
If you’ve been charged with computer crime in the Garden State, it always makes sense to get in touch with a qualified, experienced attorney who can provide meaningful assistance. A criminal defense lawyer is your best friend in this scenario, and they can fight for your rights and help you avoid significant legal consequences, such as jail time. While computer crime can hurt others, some actions are quite innocent. With a skilled attorney on your side, you can show the judge that your actions shouldn’t result in needless penalties.
The Varying Seriousness of Computer Crime
Computer crime can come in many different forms. At the low level, computer crime could be simply logging onto your work colleague’s email account and looking at their communications. At the highest level, computer crime may involve hacking into web servers maintained by high-level US government agencies, such as the CIA or the FBI.
In New Jersey, simply accessing data on a computer without permission is a third-degree crime. If you alter or destroy this data, it’s a second-degree crime. It’s also a third-degree crime if you access data with the intent to defraud individuals or illegally obtain services. If you “recklessly destroy” data on a computer, you may face a fourth-degree crime.
If your activities result in a “substantial impairment” to public services (such as transportation, energy, communication, etc.), your conviction could be upgraded to a first-degree crime. This carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
A range of additional charges might be associated with computer hacking. These include credit card fraud, identity theft, cyberbullying, and many others.
Federal Computer Crime Laws
The federal government also has its own set of computer crime laws. Some of the most serious computer crimes involve obtaining national security information. If you obtain national security information and then provide this information to an unauthorized recipient (or simply retain the information), you face a felony charge with up to 20 years in prison.
It’s worth pointing out that hackers are charged and convicted of crimes such as these on a regular basis in the United States. In April of 2021, it was reported that a Ukrainian man had been extradited to the United States on computer crime charges. He was then sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
Being accused of computer crime in New Jersey is no laughing matter. Although you might have intended this to be an innocent prank or a test of your programming abilities, you need to take this matter seriously. If you need legal assistance, contact skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney Phillip J. Murphy. With our help, you can put your best foot forward in front of a judge and pursue a favorable legal outcome. Book your consultation today.