An Overview of Texas’s Cyber Crime Laws

Legal Adviser April 24, 2015
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privacy policyComputer crime (a.k.a cybercrime) describes a broad range of offenses. Some cases may bear similarities with non-computer offenses, such as fraud and larceny, except they involve the Internet and computers. Hacking is a well-known cybercrime, usually associated with computer break-ins and modification of current settings.

Cybercrime laws in numerous U.S. states prohibit individuals from performing activities without authorization. In Texas, various criminal activities fall under the cybercrime category. Apart from hacking, there are also computer crimes covering broader topics.

Computer crimes under Texas Law

The following are cybercrimes under Texan Law:

•Solicitation of minors under the age of 17 through text messaging, the Internet or other electronic medium, to meet in person for purposes of sexual behaviors

•Accessing computer networks and systems without proper authorization from the owner

•Accessing computer systems, networks, software, machine or program dedicated to voting systems without consent

•Using another person’s social media account with intentions of harm, fraud and threat

•Using the name, domain address, phone number and other personal information without the person’s consent

Cybercrimes cover multiple areas but basically involve using computers or other machines to harm or threaten other individuals.

Defenses to cybercrime charges

Individuals charged with cybercrime must immediately consult Houston criminal attorneys, such as dntriallaw.com. When facing cybercrime charges, defendants can use legitimate excuses to prove their innocence. This includes the following:

•Proper consent was given

•Lack of computer knowledge

•For cases related to minor solicitation, it is defense if the defendant was married to the minor or was not more than three years older than the minor during the solicitation.

•For cases of security breach, defendants can claim that the act was to ensure integrity of property and protection of rights.

Cybercrime penalties in Texas

The sentences for cybercrimes in Texas vary, depending on the background and gravity of the offense. Minor solicitation cases are charged as third degree felony (2 to 10 years of jail time and/or a fine of $2,000). If the minor is 14 years old, charge becomes second degree felony (2 to 20 years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000).

Online harassment charges reach third degree felony while computer breaching cases face ‘Class B’ misdemeanor penalties (up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of $2,000). Factors influencing the crime’s degree depend on the value of money or property lost by the victim.

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