Serving Scranton, Tunkhannock, and Wyoming County
Legislatures across the country are catching up with the computer age and enacting laws meant to deal with various computer-related crimes. With the ever-evolving state of technology, people can expect state legislation to adapt as soon as new crimes become possible. Prosecutors are becoming savvier in dealing with these offenses, and their means of gathering evidence to support a charge are becoming more sophisticated. Do not wait – if the state has charged you with a computer crime in Northeastern Pennsylvania, you should contact a zealous and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer immediately. The Peters Law Firm can provide you the exceptional representation you need, as a computer fraud and hacking lawyer.
Sexual Abuse of Children – Child Pornography
Federal and state statutes make it illegal to knowingly permit a child under the age of 18 years of age to engage in prohibited sexual acts or the simulation of such acts. It is illegal for a person to knowingly possess photographs, videotapes, computer depictions, or films of a child under the age of 18 engaging in a prohibited sexual act the simulation of such an act. It is also illegal to disseminate photographs, videotapes, computer depictions in films. Similarly, any person who intentionally views or who knowingly possesses or controls any book, magazine, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of such act commits an offense. Child pornography crimes are typically charged as felony offenses that will result in serious jail time in federal courts and state court. In fact, each image can be charged as a separate offense. Conviction of such act carried a possibility of lifetime registration under the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act, otherwise known as the Adam Walsh Act and/or Megan’s Law.
Unlawful Use for Fraudulent Reasons
Pennsylvania statutes provide for a broad class of crimes called the Unlawful Use of a Computer. Under this heading, several forms of criminal conduct are covered, including:
- When a person accesses a network, software, internet website, or database system without the appropriate authorization to cause an interruption of the normal functions of an individual or to implement a fraudulent or deceptive scheme;
- When a person damages or destroys any computer, computer system, network, software, database, internet website, or telecommunications device; or
- When a person intentionally and without authorization reveals a password or other identifying information about a particular computer system, network, database, internet website, or telecommunications device.
Unlawful use of a computer is considered a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania which is punishable by up to seven years of time in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
In addition to general unlawful use, Pennsylvania statutes also define an offense called computer trespass. A person commits this crime if he intentionally and without authorization uses a computer or network to:
- Remove data or software programs from a computer permanently or temporarily;
- Perform an action that causes a computer to fail or malfunction, regardless of how long the failure persists;
- Change or delete data, programs, or software;
- Create or change a financial instrument or a transfer of funds; or
- Damage the personal property of another.
Computer trespass is also categorized as a third-degree felony.
Distributing a Virus
Viruses can cause serious havoc with computer systems, and Pennsylvania statutes define a separate offense of the distribution of a computer virus. A person commits this crime if he or she intentionally sells, gives, distributes, or possesses a computer program that is designed for impeding, delaying, or disrupting the normal use of a computer program, software, network, database, website, or telecommunication device. Additionally, this crime also covers programs that are intended to disable, damage, degrade, or destroy a computer program, software, network, database, website, or telecommunications device.
The offense of distributing a computer virus is considered a third-degree felony is punishable by up to seven years of time in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
The Peters Law Firm can provide effective defense services computer crimes in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area. In the Scranton area, contact us at (570) 963-1610, Tunkhannock and Wyoming County at (570) 836-0700 or throughout Northeast Pennsylvania at our main office in Clarks Summit by calling (570) 585-0707 or by visiting us.