Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access in Colorado

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Statute for 18 – 5.5 – 102 – Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access

StatuteHere is the charge you are facing:

18-5.5-102. Computer crime

(1) A person commits computer crime if the person knowingly:

(a) Accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof without authorization; exceeds authorized access to a computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof; or uses a computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof without authorization or in excess of authorized access; or

(b) Accesses any computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud; or

(c) Accesses any computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, money; property; services; passwords or similar information through which a computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof may be accessed; or other thing of value; or

(d) Accesses any computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof to commit theft; or

(e) Without authorization or in excess of authorized access alters, damages, interrupts, or causes the interruption or impairment of the proper functioning of, or causes any damage to, any computer, computer network, computer system, computer software, program, application, documentation, or data contained in such computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof; or

(f) Causes the transmission of a computer program, software, information, code, data, or command by means of a computer, computer network, or computer system or any part thereof with the intent to cause damage to or to cause the interruption or impairment of the proper functioning of or that actually causes damage to or the interruption or impairment of the proper functioning of any computer, computer network, computer system, or part thereof; or

(g) Uses or causes to be used a software application that runs automated tasks over the internet to access a computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof, that circumvents or disables any electronic queues, waiting periods, or other technological measure intended by the seller to limit the number of event tickets that may be purchased by any single person in an on-line event ticket sale as defined in section 6-1-720, C.R.S.

(2) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2000, p. 695, § 8, effective July 1, 2000.)

(3) (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection (3), if the loss, damage, value of services, or thing of value taken, or cost of restoration or repair caused by a violation of this section is less than five hundred dollars, computer crime is a class 2 misdemeanor; if five hundred dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars, computer crime is a class 1 misdemeanor; if one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars, computer crime is a class 4 felony; if twenty thousand dollars or more, computer crime is a class 3 felony.

(b) Computer crime committed in violation of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 2 misdemeanor; except that, if the person has previously been convicted under this section, a previous version of this section, or a statute of another state of similar content and purport, computer crime committed in violation of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 6 felony.

(c) (I) Computer crime committed in violation of paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(II) If computer crime is committed to obtain event tickets, each ticket purchased shall constitute a separate offense.

(III) Paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of this section shall not prohibit the resale of tickets in a secondary market by a person other than the event sponsor or promoter.

(d) Consistent with section 18-1-202, a prosecution for a violation of paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of this section may be tried in the county where the event has been, or will be, held.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Colorado Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyers look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access

Penalties

The charge of Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access, is categorized as a:

F6, if prior conviction
M2, if no prior conviction

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

How to Use This Information

After you have hired a CO Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This involves analyzing the statute language above as well as the jury instructions (which is the set of instructions that the jury will use to understand the law). This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions will be crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor. Your CO Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access below. These will be adapted by your CO Attorney for your case.

The elements of the crime of computer crime ? unauthorized access are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. accessed a computer, computer network, computer system or any part thereof without authorization, -orexceeded authorized access to a computer, computer network or computer system or any part thereof, -orused a computer, a computer network or computer system, or any part thereof, without authorization or in excess of authorized access, 4. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number _____.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of computer crime ? unauthorized access. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of computer crime ? unauthorized access. NOTES ON USE Delete inapplicable bracketed material. When this instruction is used, the definitions of ?authorization,? ?computer,? ?computer network?, ?computer system,? ?exceed authorized access,? ?computer software? and ?computer program? must be given.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Computer Crime – Unauthorized Access.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

Good Luck!

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca