Defense Lawyers for “Causing Computer Damage” Charges

If you are someone you love have been charged with causing computer damage under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), it is important to understand the proper interpretation of the law itself. Unlike other federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations involving computers, Causing Computer Damage has an incredibly detailed and complex penalty structure. For these reasons, it is important that you develop an understanding for the repercussions that a guilty plea or conviction could have on your life.

What Constitutes “Causing Computer Damage” Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)?

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse act, a conviction for Causing Computer Damage requires showing proof that the defendant committed one of the following three acts:

  1. Causing Computer Damage or FailureKnowingly caused the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally caused damage without authorization, to a protected computer;
  2. Intentionally accessed a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly caused damage; or
  3. Intentionally accessed a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, caused damage and loss.

The court in U.S. v. Middleton ruled that “damage” is defined as any impairment which causes loss aggregating at least $5,000 to one or more individuals. Furthermore, this definition of “individuals” is broad enough to include corporations as well as natural persons. As such, the statute criminalizes computer crime that damages natural persons and corporations alike.

What are the Penalties for Causing Computer Damage?

Federal charges for Causing Computer Damage carry the most comprehensive, extensive and severe of all of the computer-related federal crimes. Depending on the circumstances of your alleged offense and your prior criminal record, the penalties under this statute could result in a term of life imprisonment. This should shed light on the severity of the offense you or someone you love may be facing under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5).

It is strongly encouraged that you contact a computer crime defense attorney as soon as you know you are being charged with a crime such as Causing Computer Damage. Among other things, an experienced cybercrime lawyer can work to preserve electronic discovery data that may be useful in mounting a defense to the charges. Contact us 24/7 at 1 (800) 879-9087 for a free, no-obligation case consultation

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), a defendant can face a term of imprisonment up to 5 years as a first-offender if he or she causes or attempts to cause: (1) loss to 1 or more persons during any 1-year period (and, for purposes of an investigation, prosecution, or other proceeding brought by the United States only, loss resulting from a related course of conduct affecting 1 or more other protected computers) aggregating at least $5,000 in value; or (2) the modification or impairment, or potential modification or impairment, of the medical examination, diagnosis, treatment, or care of 1 or more individuals; (3) physical injury to any person; or (4) a threat to public health or safety; or (5) damage affecting a computer used by or for an entity of the United States Government in furtherance of the administration of justice, national defense, or national security; or (6) damage affecting 10 or more protected computers during any 1-year period.

However, in the more extreme cases, a defendant will face a life sentence if the he or she attempts to cause or knowingly or recklessly causes death from conduct in violation of subsection (a)(5)(A).

If you or someone you love are facing charges for Causing Computer Damage, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall and discuss you option with an experienced computer crime defense attorney today.