It seems as if every week there is a new case where a supposedly secure database has been breached. Both government and private companies have reported that hackers have broken into their computer systems and accessed hordes of sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers of New Jersey residents. This onslaught on the computer systems of the nation explains why prosecutors aggressively prosecute these crimes.

It is important, however, that innocent people in Morristown, New Jersey, not be swept up in the authorities’ zeal to crack down on computer crimes. This blog post will offer a brief rundown of some Internet crimes and other computer crimes recognized under New Jersey law.

In order to be convicted of a computer crime in New Jersey, a person must purposely or knowingly act without authorization or in excess of authorization. The laws protect and generally pertain to data, databases, computers, computer storage media, computer programs, computer software, computer equipment, computer systems and computer networks. A person who succeeds in accessing any of these in the manner described above, or who succeeds or merely attempts to access the above described computer entities to defraud or obtain services or data, can be sentenced to three to five years in prison, if convicted. In the latter case, if more than $5,000 in damages result, the defendant can be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

There are even harsher penalties for computer crimes that cause more damage. A person who alters, destroys or damages the above mentioned computer entities can get five to 10 years in prison. There are even more provisions regarding computer crimes.

Defendants should remember that computer crimes are usually different from other crimes in that there is usually no ballistics, pry marks or other traditional kinds of evidence to be found. This means that the evidence that the prosecution does have should be subject to scrutiny and possibly challenged in the courtroom.

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