Accessing a Network or Computer without Permission in California
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What is Larceny?
Larceny is the unlawful taking and carrying away of personal property belonging to another person with the intent to permanently deprive. In California, accessing a computer or using it without permission is a form of larceny.
How Does California Define Using or Accessing a Computer or Network without Permission?
In California, the use or access of a computer or network without permission is simply defined. It’s a crime to knowingly access a computer network, computer, or computer system without the permission of the owner.
What If I Didn’t Physically Use the Computer, but Had Unlawful Access?
Even if you did not access the computer physically and in-person, the charge still applies. In this case, access to the computer can also be done remotely.
What if I Accessed the Network to Find Information, Can I Be Charged?
Yes. It’s illegal to access the network or computer to do any of the following:
- Alter information
- Obtain information
- Destroy data
- Use the data on the computer
Can I Be Charged If I Let My Friend Access My Work Computer?
Yes. Under California law, giving someone access to a network, computer, or computer system without the owner’s permission is a crime. Unlawful access also includes giving a person a password.
Can I Be Charged with Accessing a Computer and Another Type of Criminal Charge?
Yes. If a person accessed the computer with the intention to commit another crime, more criminal charges could apply. For example, if someone accessed a computer network for unlawful financial gain, then theft is a possible additional charge.
How Much Time Can I Get for Accessing a Computer or Network?
Depending on the facts of the case, a person can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction is up to one year in jail, probation, and/or fines. If a felony conviction, it’s up to three years in prison.
Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Criminal Charge?
Yes, It’s in your best interest to talk with a lawyer about this charge. They can help you understand your charge and start building a defense.
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Last Modified: 05-02-2016 03:01 PM PDT
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