You can be charged with breach of computer security, if it’s alleged that knowingly accessed someone else’s computer without their consent.  Additionally, you can be charged with breach of computer security if you similarly accessed a computer network or any other computer system without the owner’s consent.  Simply accessing a computer, computer network, or computer system in this fashion is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in the county jail, and a fine of up to $2000.  However, if you’ve previously been convicted of breach of computer security, two or more times, or the computer is owned by the government or a “critical infrastructure facility,” you can be charged with a state jail felony, which carries a penalty range of 180 days to 2 years in the state jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. If, in addition to accessing a computer unlawfully, you do so with the intent to harm, defraud, or delete information, you can be subjected to even greater penalties under the breach of computer security statute, depending upon the alleged value of the harm caused.   For example, if the harm caused is alleged to be greater than $200,000, you can be charged with a 1st degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in state prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Facing charges or arrested for breach of computer security?  You should call the criminal defense lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C.  214.827.2800.  Our attorneys each have over 15 years of experience in the practice of criminal defense law.  Free consultation.  Call today, or contact one of our lawyers directly by using the “Get Legal Help Now!” form located in the left margin of this web page. 

Se habla español. Texas Penal Code Section 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 Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if: (1)  the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of an offense under this chapter; or (2)  the computer, computer network, or computer system is owned by the government or a critical infrastructure facility. (b-1)  A person commits an offense if with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property, the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner. (b-2)  An offense under Subsection (b-1) is: (1)   a state jail felony if  the aggregate amount involved is less than $20,000; (2)  a felony of the third degree if the aggregate amount involved is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; (3)  a felony of the second degree if: (A)  the aggregate amount involved is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; (B)  the aggregate amount involved is any amount less than $200,000 and the computer, computer network, or computer system is owned by the government or a critical infrastructure facility; or (C)  the actor obtains the identifying information of another by accessing only one computer, computer network, or computer system; or (4)  a felony of the first degree if: (A)  the aggregate amount involved is $200,000 or more; or (B)  the actor obtains the identifying information of another by accessing more than one computer, computer network, or computer system.

(c)  When benefits are obtained, a victim is defrauded or harmed, or property is altered, damaged, or deleted in violation of this section, whether or not in a single incident, the conduct may be considered as one offense and the value of the benefits obtained and of the losses incurred because of the fraud, harm, or alteration, damage, or deletion of property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(d)  A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any other section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both sections.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person acted with the intent to facilitate a lawful seizure or search of, or lawful access to, a computer, computer network, or computer system for a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Added by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 306, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 306, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1411, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by: Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1044, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011.

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