How Can I Defend Myself Against Felony Computer Crimes in Texas?

man in dark room surrounded by computers

Computer technology has become integral to our lives, from the computer you use for work to the phone in your pocket. That’s why attacks against these systems are considered especially egregious. In Texas, felony computer crimes are very serious matters with intense consequences. As such, if you’re facing charges, understanding what potential penalties may work in your favor is critical. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading to learn how Houston criminal defense attorneys can assist you through these challenging times.

What Warrants Felony Computer Crimes in Texas?

In Texas, computer crimes refer to several offenses that can take place against computer systems or networks. While this most commonly refers to “hacking,” there are additional offenses that fall under this umbrella term of offenses. Generally, these most often result in a felony charge. These felony offenses include the following:

  • Breaching the security of a computer network (results in a felony charge depending on the amount of money or property impacted)
  • Soliciting a minor under 17 years old to engage in sexual behavior
  • Tampering with a voting machine
  • Using social media to harass or intimidate someone online (can be a third-degree felony or a class A misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances)

The penalties for these crimes can range from a third-degree to a first-degree felony offense. As such you can face the following consequences:

  • Third-degree felony: Two to ten years in prison, and a potential fine of up to $10,000
  • Second-degree felony: Two to twenty years in prison, and a potential fine of up to $10,000
  • First-degree felony: Five years to life in prison, and a potential fine of up to $10,000

What Defenses Can I Utilize?

If you are charged with a felony computer crime, understanding your legal options is vital. Generally, the most important thing you can do is connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many are unaware they may be able to defend themselves from these charges, making them vulnerable to facing the full extent of the law. Instead, working with an attorney can help you explore all possible avenues to defend yourself.

One common defense is that you had consent from the owner of the computer or security system to access the network. Generally, you can only be charged for accessing a network if you did not intend to do so or manipulate the data you accessed. However, if the owner can testify that you had permission to access the system or network, you may be able to evade charges.

Additionally, you may be able to prove that your constitutional rights were violated during your arrest. For example, if you were the victim of an unreasonable search and seizure, the evidence collected against you may be deemed inadmissible and your attorney may be able to get it dismissed. The prosecution may not have enough evidence against you.

As you can see, being charged with a felony computer crime can be incredibly complex. Our dedicated legal team will do everything possible to assist you through these complex times. Connect with us today to learn how we can assist you.