Computer Tampering

Cybercrimes have become more prevalent as technology takes an ever more expansive role in our lives. Law enforcement has quickly developed responses to digital offenses over recent years.

Accessing, altering, or destroying information without authorization, what is commonly referred to as “hacking,” can result in criminal charges. In some cases the hacking is intentional, but sometimes it could be the result of a simple mistake. Either way, computer tampering is seen as a severe offense under New York law. Any person who is accused of or charged with computer tampering, should seek legal representation immediately.

Defense Attorneys for Computer Tampering in Queens, NY

Under New York law, hacking is referred to as computer tampering and is an illegal offense. The penalties for computer tampering can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.

If you or someone you know has been accused of computer tampering, it is vital that you contact an experienced defense attorney. We are compassionate towards our clients and the situations they find themselves in, and use our skills and experience to get the best possible results for your case.

Our attorneys understand that those charged with computer crimes have a lot at stake. Rochelle S. Berliner, Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner founder, worked for the District Attorney's office in New York for 14 years. She understands what a prosecutor looks for, and how to cast doubt on their plan of attack.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner is dedicated to representing clients to the best of our ability. We represent those accused of computer offenses throughout the New York City area including Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Call us at 718-261-5600, or simply submit an online contact form today.



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Examples of Computer Tampering

The prevalence of cyber crime is growing fast due to the widespread use and availability of computers and smartphones, and the relative lack of security for such devices. A computer tampering crime can range from altering a computer program to hacking a large commercial website. Some other examples of computer tampering include:

  • Accessing data with the intention to illegally share or sell it;
  • Changing a website's content without permission from the site's owner;
  • Using another party's login credentials to access important information;
  • Destroying important information or programs by accessing a computer, software, or network; or
  • Extracting banking information from a computer program or network.

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Elements and Penalties for Computer Tampering

Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree

Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree is the most basic hacking crime. Logging in to a computer without permission and deleting a file is enough to get you charged with computer tampering. A person is considered guilty of Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree if he or she:

  • Uses, caused to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without any kind of authorization; and
  • He or she intentionally alters in any manner or destroys computer data or program of another person.

Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include:

  • A possible fine up to $1,000; and
  • Possible jail time for up to one year.

Computer Tampering in the Third Degree

If a person takes computer tampering further and intends to commit a crime with their access or causes over $1,000 in damages, the crime goes from being a misdemeanor to a felony. An alleged offender who is guilty of Computer Tampering in the Third Degree has done any of the following:

  • Commits the crime of Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree and:
    • Has intent to commit or attempt to commit or further the commission of any felony; or
    • Was previously convicted of any crime under this article or Penal Law 165.15(11) (theft of computer serevices); or
    • Intentionally alters in any manner or destroys computer material; or
    • Intentionally alters in any manner or destroys computer data or a computer program so as to cause damages in an aggregate amount exceeding $1,000.

Computer Tampering in the Third Degree has enhanced legal consequences because it is charged as aClass E felony. A person convicted of a Class E felony may face the following maximum penalties:

  • Possible fine determined by the court; and
  • Prison sentence up to four years.

Computer Tampering in the Second Degree

If someone hacks a computer to alter a person’s medical records and that person is injured as a result, the offender could be facing a charge of Computer Tampering in the Second Degree. A person is guilty of Computer Tampering in the Second Degree if he or she commits the crime of Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree and intentionally alters in any manner or destroys the following:

  • Computer data or a computer program so as to cause damages in an aggregate amount exceeding $3,000; or
  • Computer material that contains records of the medical history or treatment of an identified or readily identifiable individual or individuals and as a result of altering the record the individual suffers serious physical injury, and the perpetrator is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such a serious physical injury may occur.

Computer Tampering in the Second Degree is a Class D felony. The maximum legal consequences for a Class D felony are the following:

  • A possible fine determined by the court; and
  • Prison sentence up to seven years.

Computer Tampering in the First Degree

Computer Tampering in the First Degree is the most serious computer tampering charge. If someone accesses a computer or network without authorization and does a significant amount of damage, they could be facing up to 15 years in prison. A person is guilty of Computer Tampering in the First Degree if he or she

  • Commits the crime of Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree and
    • Intentionally alters in any manner, or destroys computer data or a computer program so as to cause damages in an aggregate amount exceeding $50,000.

A person who is charged with Computer Tampering in the First Degree faces a Class C felony. The possible maximum legal penalties for Computer Tampering in the First Degree include:

  • Possible fine determined by the court; and
  • Prison sentence up to 15 years.

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Statute of Limitations

Prosecutors only have a certain amount of time to file formal charges against a defendant. After this deadline is over, the State is forbidden from charging the alleged offender. This is called a statute of limitations. New York classifies it's statute of limitations by offense level.

The statute of limitations is dependent on which degree you are charged with. A person charged with Computer Tampering in the Fourth Degree faces a Class A misdemeanor. Misdemeanors in New York have a statute of limitations of two years. All other degrees of computer tampering are considered felonies. A felony charge in New York has a statute of limitations of five years.


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Additional Resources


New York Penal Law § 156.20 – Visit the official website for the New York penal laws and regulations. See the differing computer crimes that are recognized under New York law. Read more on the specifics, penalties, and possible defenses regarding computer offenses in New York.

Computer Crimes Unit – Visit the official website for the New York State Police. Find more information regarding the Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) and their mission to provide outreach and education to community groups on internet safety and training to law enforcement agencies on the tools and processes used to assist with the prosecution of technology related crimes.


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Queens Lawyer for Computer Tampering in New York

A person charged with computer tampering could face serious felony charges. It is within your legal right to protect your liberty with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Find an attorney who puts you first with Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner.

Our attorneys are proud to protect your civil liberties. We understand that computer tampering penalties are daunting. The attorneys at Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner will help ease those fears, by providing a detailed plan of defense. Find an attorney who is effective and cares. Call the attorneys atLaw Office of Rochelle S. Berliner, to take the steps to protect yourself legally today.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner defends those accused of cybercrimes throughout New York City including Queens in Queens County, Brooklyn in Kings County, The Bronx in Bronx County, and Manhattan in New York County.

Call us today at 718-261-5600, or simply submit an online contact form today.


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Rochelle Berliner
Rochelle Berliner

Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...

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