New York Penal Law § 156.35: Criminal possession of computer related material

Unlawfully accessing computers has been a serious crime over the past 20 years. Such crimes are generally committed in order to commit a felony such as grand larceny or to destroy or alter data or a computer program. Even if you did not personally access a computer without authorization, you could still face prosecution if you are in possession of material that was illegally copied from a computer. Under New York Penal Law § 156.35 you have committed the crime of criminal possession of computer related material if when having no right to do so you knowingly possesses, in any form, any copy, reproduction or duplicate of any computer data or computer program which was copied, reproduced or duplicated in violation of § 156.30 of this article, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof. In order to violate this statute the person who illegally copied the material from a computer by doing so must have deprived the owner of economic gain in excess of $2500 or must have had the intent to commit a felony.

Related Offenses
  1. Unauthorized use of a computer: N.Y. Pen. Law § 156.05
  2. Computer trespass: N.Y. Pen. Law § 156.10
Defenses

To violate this statute you must possess such material knowing that it was illegally copied from a computer. If you possess it without knowing that it was illegally copied, you did not violate this statute.

In addition, in order to violate this statute the person who illegally copied the material from a computer must have deprived the owner of economic gain in excess of $2500 or must have had the intent to commit a felony. This means that if the owner was not deprived of any economic gain or the deprived economic gain was less than $2500, you may have a defense to a charge of criminal possession of computer related material.

Sentence

Criminal possession of computer related material is a class E felony. This means that if you are convicted the maximum prison sentence that you could receive is 4 years. Your sentence could also include a probation term of 5 years as well as a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 156.35: Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material

A person is guilty of criminal possession of computer related material when having no right to do so, he knowingly possesses, in any form, any copy, reproduction or duplicate of any computer data or computer program which was copied, reproduced or duplicated in violation of § 156.30 of this article, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or a loved one are being investigated for criminal possession of computer related material it is important to take the investigation seriously. If you are convicted you could end up in prison for up to 4 years and you may be required to pay a stiff fine. 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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