New York Penal Law § 156.10: Computer trespass

Unauthorized access of a computer can include a number of different activities including figuring out another person's password and using it to access that person's computer, giving a password to another person who does not have authorization to access the computer, hacking into someone's computer via the internet, or pretending to be another person in order to access computer services that would otherwise not be available to you. Such activities are crimes. There are several crimes in the New York criminal code related to unauthorized access of a computer. The specific charge that you will face largely depends on what you do or intend to do once you accessed the computer. Under New York Penal Law § 156.10 you have committed the computer trespass if you knowingly use or access a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization, and you also

  1. Do so with the intent to commit a felony, or
  2. Knowingly gain access to computer material.
Example

Louis Puesan was on disability leave from his job as a field technician with Time Warner Cable. While on leave he was no longer authorized to access the company's offices or computer system. However, Puesan did gain access to the company's offices and was observed using three different company computers. Company employees later discovered that someone had installed keystroke logging software on the three computers that Puesan was observed using. This software allowed Puesan to gain access to confidential customer information. Puesan was charged with computer trespass. People v. Puesan, 973 N.Y.S.2d 121 (N.Y. App. Div., 2013)

Related Offenses
  1. Unauthorized use of a computer: N.Y. Pen. Law § 156.05
  2. Criminal possession of computer related material: N.Y. Pen. Law § 156.35
Defenses

In order to successfully prosecute you for a charge of criminal trespass the prosecutor must prove not only that you accessed a computer without authorization, but that you also did so in furtherance of a felony or that you actually gained access to material on the computer. If you simply accessed a computer but did nothing else, then a charge of computer trespass would not be appropriate.

In addition, the prosecutor must prove that you were the one who unlawfully accessed the computer. If someone other than you used your computer to commit a computer crime without your knowledge, then the prosecutor will have a difficult time prosecuting for computer trespass or any other computer crime.

Sentence

As a Class E felony, if you are convicted of computer trespass your sentence may include a prison term of up to 4 years, a probation term of 5 years, and a fine.

New York Penal Law § 156.10: Computer Trespass

A person is guilty of computer trespass when he or she knowingly uses, causes to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization and: 1. he or she does so with an intent to commit or attempt to commit or further the commission of any felony; or 2. he or she thereby knowingly gains access to computer material.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are arrested and charged with computer trespass, it is important that you have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with computer crimes as well as grand larceny, embezzlement, and other white collar crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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