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A look at federal computer trespassing laws and penalties

Pittsburgh residents interested in information about internet crime may wish to know more about unauthorized access of federal government computer systems. Depending on the specific circumstances, the penalties for these offenses can be very serious.

Federal law makes it a crime to access federal government computer systems without permission. This type of cybercrime requires three main elements. The first is that the person must access or attempt to or conspire to access a computer used by the federal government. This computer may be under the exclusive use of the government or just used by them part time. The second element that must be met is that the person must have done this without the authorization of the federal government. Lastly, the person must have attempted this unauthorized access intentionally, not by accident.

The penalties for this type of cybercrime vary depending on the nature of the offense. If this is the person's first offense, the penalties may include up to a year in prison and as much as $100,000 in fines for an individual. Subsequent offenses, however, increase the potential prison time to up to 10 years. The fine may also increase to a maximum of $250,000. The person's computer equipment used in the unauthorized access could also be subject to asset forfeiture laws. If the person is a juvenile, the federal government will usually turn the case over to the relevant state authorities.

When allegations of cybercrime are made, an attorney might be able to offer assistance. The attorney may be able to defend against these federal charges and help ensure that the individual's rights are enforced throughout the process. The attorney's representation may also be useful during the plea bargaining process to reduce or eliminate the charges.

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