Email hacking is a white-collar crime in Virginia. You could be charged with this offense under state or federal laws. Here is what you need to know about the crimes you might be accused of and the harsh punishments you face if you are convicted.
Email Hacking Offense and Penalties Under State Law
The Virginia Computer Crime Act makes it illegal to commit a computer invasion of privacy. Under Virginia Code §18.2-152.5, this crime is committed if someone logs into another person’s computer without permission and examines their financial, employment, or other personally identifiable information.
Email hacking is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense and as a Class 6 felony for a second or subsequent offense. The punishments can include:
- Misdemeanor. A first-offense conviction could lead to a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Felony. The punishment for a Class 6 felony can include a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $2,500.
Federal Email Hacking Crimes
Email hacking can also be charged as a federal crime. Two common offenses an individual could be accused of committing are:
- U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Under 18 U.S.C. §1030, it is a crime to intentionally access another person’s email without their permission and obtain information of value, defined as at least $5,000 over one year. This crime is often charged when an email account of a bank, financial institution, governmental agency, or governmental official has been hacked. The punishment can include a prison sentence of one to five years for a first offense and up to 10 years for a subsequent offense.
- Federal Wire Fraud Act. Under the Federal Wire Fraud Act, it is a crime to steal personal or confidential information from an individual’s computer without their authorization when the email passes between two or more states or countries. If convicted, a person can be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a hefty fine.
Have you been charged with email hacking under Virginia or federal law? You may have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you are guilty.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers will mount an aggressive defense strategy for you that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less severe offense. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation today.