Washingtonians commit the crime of computer trespass if they gain access to another person’s computer system and do so with the intent to commit another crime. The offense is a serious felony under the law that can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years. If you or a loved one is facing charges of a computer-related offense, please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now for help.

What is Computer Trespass in the First Degree?

RCW 9A.90.040 is the Washington statute that defines the crime of computer trespass in the first degree. People commit this offense if they:

  1. Intentionally gain access to another person’s computer system or electronic database,
  2. Do so without any permission or authorization, and
  3. Gain access with the intent to commit another crime.

Examples of computer trespass include:

  • Accessing a computer system without authority to damage specific programs or data,
  • Using someone else’s computer to spread a computer virus, and
  • Hacking into someone else’s system in order to defraud a person.

What are the Penalties?

Computer trespass in the first degree is a Class C felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:

  • Custody in state prison for up to 5 years, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $10,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. Fortunately, people charged with computer trespass can challenge it with a legal defense. For example, recall that people are only guilty of this crime if they gained access to a person’s computer system without that person’s authority. A common defense, then, is for defendants to show that while they gained access to someone else’s computer, they had permission to do so.

A criminal defense lawyer can also try to challenge an accusation by showing that the police violated one of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, maybe the authorities arrested a defendant without probable cause or coerced a confession. In these cases, a judge can dismiss or reduce any criminal charges because of the violation.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a computer trespass charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced computer attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various computer-related charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!