Computer crimes occur when there’s an illegal activity done on a computer such as fraud or when a computer was hacked. A hack occurs when an person targets another person’s computer system to obtain or alter data. In Washington State, computer trespass is crime.

How Is Computer Trespass Defined in Washington State?

In the State of Washington, computer trespass is defined as when a person intentionally gains access to another person’s computer system, without permission. The access must also be made with the intent to commit another crime.

How is This Different from Criminal Trespass?

Criminal trespass typically refers to an individual entering or remaining on another person’s property without their consent. The property could be an apartment, house, car, or office building. A person can have the right to be on the property, but later lose the right and then be considered trespassing. So while criminal trespass requires physical entry into the victim’s private property, computer trespass does not require a physical invasion or presence.

What is Computer Trespass in the First Degree?

Computer trespass is when an individual intentionally gaining unlawful access to an electric database or computer system to commit another crime. But to be charged with computer trespass in the first degree, the defendant needs to access database or computer maintained by any government agency.

What is Computer Trespass in the Second Degree?

In Washington, this is a lesser charge. A defendant is considered guilty of computer trespass when they intentionally gain computer access without authorization. However, a government computer system wasn’t involved and they did not commit or attempt to commit any other crime.

Can I be Criminally Punished for Computer Trespass In Addition to Any Other Crime Committed?

Yes. A defendant may be prosecuted for computer trespass and fraud separately.

What are the Penalties for a Computer Trespass Conviction?

Computer trespass conviction in the first degree is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. In the second degree it’s a gross misdemeanor punishable with less than 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Case?

Yes, it’s vital to discuss possible defenses with a washington criminal lawyer.