What is it? Breach of Computer Security is where a person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner.
What makes it illegal? The Texas Criminal Penal Code Sec. 33.02. BREACH OF COMPUTER SECURITY indicates that a person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner.
TEXAS PENAL CODE, TITLE 7.
Sec. 33.02. BREACH OF COMPUTER SECURITY
Sec. 33.02. BREACH OF COMPUTER SECURITY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor unless in committing the offense the actor knowingly obtains a benefit, defrauds or harms another, or alters, damages, or deletes property.
What are the Punishments? Punishment for conviction of an offense of BREACH OF COMPUTER SECURITY is as follows: a Class A misdemeanor if the aggregate amount involved is less than $1,500; (2) a state jail felony if: (A) the aggregate amount involved is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000; or (B) the aggregate amount involved is less than $1,500 and the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of an offense under this chapter; (3) a felony of the third degree if the aggregate amount involved is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; (4) a felony of the second degree if the aggregate amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or (5) a felony of the first degree if the aggregate amount involved is $200,000 or more.
This is a fairly new law, and prosecutor's offices are handling these offenses quite seriously, often denying Pretrial Intervention -- even for first time offenders. Commonly, this offense may occur simultaneously with a Divorce, where one party is actively seeking a way to weaken the other side.
Common Criminal Cases Involving Breach of Computer Security Arrests: Computers have embedded themselves in our daily lives. Many people use computers both at work and home, paying bills and shopping in addition to reading the news and emails. Such widespread usage of computers has naturally lead to several computer crimes that can occur in a wide variety of areas, from fraudulent financial crimes and banking to soliciting a minor or child pornography.
The most common Breach of Computer Security Cases or Arrests involve accessing emails, bank statements, or other financial accounts, although Breach of Computer Security may include unlawful and unwarranted access to another's Facebook, Twitter, or other social media site, depending on the activity occuring.
Located in the Texas Penal Code at Chapter 33, other areas of computer crime commonly prosecuted in Texas are Breaches of Computer Security, Online Solicitation of a Minor, Online Harassment, and the rare but illegal Tampering with Electronic Voting Machines.
Obtaining records from within the computer or online database files and servers constitutes many breach of computer security cases. Often this occurs when an individual accesses records online, whether it's email or a social media account. Proximity and access to the computer itself or access to passwords provides a tenuous circumstantial link for the district attorney to argue a computer crime without direct evidence. Because of this, it is important to have an attorney familiar with computers and Internet functions, websites, and server protocols.
Defending a computer crime case requires a great deal of computer knowledge and overall technological savvy. Great care must be used when investigating mirror images of hard drive data, sifting through Internet history, and looking at certain programs, registries, and bios settings. The Law Offices of Robert Keates pride themselves on proficiency of computers, both hardware, software, and Internet functions, and has had success in the past at obtaining good results for clients in computer fraud and cyber crime cases.
Breach of Computer Security cases are a growing focus of the Travis County prosecutor's office, and many times, begin with more sever punishments than other types of cases.