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Internet / Cyber Crime

Investigations and prosecution of high-tech crimes in New York, including internet and cyber crimes, have been on the rise in the past few years as the use of the internet and electronic communications have become more prevalent. These crimes can be prosecuted both federally and by the state because the use of these electronic means often crosses state lines.

The penalties for cyber crime convictions can be severe, and include lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. It can be easy for individuals who are innocent to get caught up in computer crime task force investigations and become the targets of criminal charges.

Internet and cyber crimes in New York can include a wide variety of criminal offenses, including:

  • Unauthorized Use of a Computer
  • Internet Gambling
  • Computer Trespass
  • Computer Tampering
  • Internet Sex “Stings”
  • Cyberharrassment

Queens, NY Cyber Crime Defense Attorney

Contact the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner if you have been charged with an internet or cyber crime in Queens or New York City. Rochelle S. Berliner is dedicated to fighting the charges against you, and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious repercussions and consequences. Call (718) 261-5600 for a consultation about your alleged internet or cyber crime.


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New York Internet / Cyber Crimes Information Center

 


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New York Internet and Cyber Crimes Statutes

New York's Penal Law describes various internet offenses and cyber crimes, and the potential punishments for committing these offenses

  • Unauthorized Use of a Computer - N.Y. Penal Law § 156.05:

This offense occurs when someone knowingly uses, causes to be used or accesses a computer, computer network or computer service without proper authorization. This offense is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Computer Trespass - N.Y. Penal Law § 156.10:

A person can be charged with this offense if they commit unauthorized use of computer, and:

  • Does so with the intent to commit, attempt or further the commission of another felony offense, or
  • Knowingly gains access to computer material.

Computer trespass is punishable as a class E felony.

  • Computer Tampering - N.Y. Penal Law §§156.20 – 156.27:

This offense can occur in the first, second, third or fourth degree. Computer tampering in the fourth degree occurs when a person commits unauthorized use of a computer and intentionally alters or destroys computer data or someone else's computer program. This offense is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.
Computer tampering in the third degree occurs when a person commits computer tampering in the third degree, and:

  • Does so with an intent to commit, attempt or further the commission of another felony offense,
  • Has previously been convicted of another computer offense or a computer theft offense,
  • Intentionally alters or destroys computer material, or
  • Has intentionally altered or destroyed computer data or computer programs resulting in damage over $1,000.

Computer tampering in the third degree is punishable as a Class E felony.
Computer tampering in the second degree occurs when a person commits computer tampering in the fourth degree and intentionally alters or destroys:

  • Computer data or program that causes damage in an amount more than $3,000, or
  • Computer materials containing medical history or treatment records of an identifiable individual, and as a result of the destruction, the individuals suffer serious physical injury the alleged offender was aware could happen and consciously disregarded the risk.

Computer tampering in the second degree is punishable as a Class D felony.
Computer tampering in the first degree occurs when a person commits computer tampering in the fourth degree and intentionally alters or destroys computer data or a program that causes damage in an amount more than $50,000.
Computer tampering in the first degree is punishable as a Class C felony.

  • Cyberharrassment - N.Y. Penal Law § 240.30:

This offense is also known as Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, and occurs when a person communicates, anonymously or otherwise, with another person by transmitting or delivering any form of written communication or causes a communication to be initiated by electronic means with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm that person. This offense is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.


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New York State Penalties for Internet and Cyber Crime

According to the New York Penal Law, in Articles 70 and 80, the penalties a convicted cyber crime offender can receive can include both prison sentences and/or fines. However, the length of imprisonment and/or fines may vary depending on the severity of the offense, the type of victim, whether the offender was a persistent felony offender, violent felony offender, or persistent violent felony offender, and the number of prior convictions the offender has. The following lists the maximum punishments for internet and cyber crimes in New York:

  • Class B felonies can result in imprisonment no more than 25 years and/or a fixed fine not more than $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant's gain from committing the offense.
  • Class C felony convictions can lead to prison sentences up to 15 years and/or a fixed fine not exceeding $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant's gain from committing the offense.
  • Class D felonies can result in a prison sentence up to seven years and/or a fixed fine up to $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant's gain from committing the offense.
  • Class E felonies can lead to imprisonment up to four years and/or a fixed fine not more than $5,000 or double the defendant's gain from committing the offense.
  • Class A misdemeanor convictions can result in a one year prison sentence and/or fines up to $1,000.
  • Class B misdemeanor convictions can lead to three months imprisonment and/or fines not exceeding $500.

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Internet Sex Stings in New York

Internet sex stings are notorious though television shows like “To Catch a Predator,” where the show identifies and then detains people who allegedly contact minors on the internet who are below the age of consent to engage in sexual acts. Most people charged with engaging in illegal sexual acts online are not child predators. They are adults going to adult sites, and are tricked into talking to a minor or a law enforcement officer posing as a minor, believing the minor was actually an adult.

The New York offenses a person engaging in online sex can be charged with include:

  • Disseminating indecent material to a minor,
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child,
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child,
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child, and
  • Possessing a sexual performance by a child.

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Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

Although New York has not enacted specific laws prohibiting internet gambling, the federal government enacted a new law, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and codified as 31 U.S.C. §§ 5301, 5361-5367, which prohibits gaming businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with unlawful internet gambling.

Although the Act does not specifically prohibit internet gambling, the federal government has stated internet gambling is illegal through the Wire Act, which governs white collar criminal offenses, such as wire fraud. This federal act penalizes businesses who participate in online gambling in the United States, including Bodog, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, PartyGaming and PartyPoker. The Act also imposes criminal punishments on consumers who engage in internet gambling.

 


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Defenses to Internet and Cyber Crime in New York

There are possible statutory defenses to certain cyber crimes such as unauthorized use of a computer, computer trespass or computer tampering.

One such defense to cyber crime is that the person who allegedly committed the crime had reasonable grounds to believe they were entitled to use the computer. Another defense is if the alleged offender had reasonable grounds to believe they had the right to alter or destroy computer data or a computer program.

Some offenders charged with cyber crimes that have intent as a required element to the crime may be able to use lack of intent as a defense. If the alleged offender did not have the statutorily required intent when they committed the offense, their charges could be dismissed or reduced to a less serious violation.

 


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Internet and Cyber Crime Resources in New York

Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center – The Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) is a leading governmental department in computer technology knowledge and techniques through continued research, evaluations, development and testing. The DC3 also aids the Department of Defense in counterintelligence activities and Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations in criminal investigations.

The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice provides information on how to report cyber, computer and intellectual property crimes. The website also includes statistics, articles, press releases and annual reports on internet-related crimes.

Secret Service New York Electronic Crimes Task Force (NYECTF) – The United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Working Groups website provides information on federal, state and local law enforcement efforts, including the NYECTF. The NYCTEF is an alliance between the U.S. Secret Service, private industry and academic personnel working together to protect against criminal cyber and internet threats.

FBI Cyber Crime Investigations - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website has information about federal cyber or internet crime investigations, including online scams, identity theft, and computer system hacking.

 


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Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | Queens Cyber Crime Attorney

If you have been charged with an internet or cyber crime in any of the boroughs of New York City, including Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, call the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner at (718) 261-5600. Rochelle S. Berliner is knowledgeable in all areas of New York's cyber crime laws, and is dedicated to helping you find the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Contact the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today for a consultation about your alleged cyber crime or internet offense.

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