Computers have become increasingly engrained in our lives, from our working and handling responsibilities to watching movies and playing games. As such, crimes involving computers can be considered egregious. If you have been charged with computer crimes, understanding the severity of these charges and the potential penalties you can face is critical. Additionally, you’ll learn why working with Harris County criminal defense lawyers is critical, especially regarding potential defenses. Keep reading to learn more about these offenses.

What Constitutes Felony Computer Crimes in Texas?

It’s important to understand that, in Texas, numerous offenses can be considered computer crimes. While most people assume that computer crimes only refer to “hacking,” this is not the only cyber offense. As such, the following offenses are considered felony computer crimes under Texas law:

  • Using social media to harass and intimidate another individual (could be a Class A misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case)
  • Tampering with voting machines
  • Using technology to solicit a minor under the age of 17 years old to engage in sexual activity
  • Breaching a computer network (will be charged as a felony depending on the value of the assets impacted)

As felony charges, these warrant considerable consequences. If you receive a third-degree felony conviction, you face two to ten years in prison. A second-degree felony charge results in two to twenty years behind bars, and a first-degree felony can carry five to ninety-nine years in prison. Additionally, these charges all warrant a fine of up to $10,000.

Are There Any Potential Defenses?

If charged with a felony computer offense, it’s important to understand what defenses may apply to your circumstance.

One potential defense that may apply to your circumstances is that you may be able to prove that you were not the one to commit this crime. For example, you may be able to show that you lent your computer to someone or that another person accessed your device to commit the crime.

Another potential defense is that you had permission to access the network. You can only be charged if you are accessing a computer, network, or system without the consent of the owner. However, if the individual can testify that you had authorization or you can illustrate that your authorization was never revoked, you may be able to avoid charges.

Finally, if you can show that your constitutional rights were violated, it can help your case. If you are a victim of an illegal search and seizure, which violates your Fourth Amendment rights, our attorney may be able to have the evidence illegally collected deemed inadmissible in court. Without this evidence, the prosecution may not have a case against you.

Facing a felony computer crime can be incredibly overwhelming and isolating. As such, it’s imperative to connect with an experienced attorney who can help you through the criminal justice system. At the Sparks Law Firm, we understand how devastating it can be to face a criminal charge. That’s why our dedicated legal team will work to explore all potential avenues for you to give you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome. Connect with the Sparks Law Firm today.