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Computer Hacking: What Happens If You’re Found Guilty?

Computer hacking and the film Catch Me If You Can are kindred spirits in a sense.

If you’ve never seen the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg, then here’s a quick summary.

DiCaprio plays real-life con artist Frank Abagnale. Hanks is the agent trying to catch him. Before Abagnale’s 19th birthday, he was able to successfully pose as a pilot, a doctor, and a prosecutor thanks to his expertise committing check fraud.

Spoiler Alert

Abagnale is eventually arrested, but the FBI is so impressed with his knowledge, they use him to make advancements in check fraud detection. He goes to work for them, in other words.

Some people assume the same is true about computer hacking. They think of it as a low-risk crime because, if you’re good enough, the government will just hire you to do it.

We would strongly advise you not to get your hopes up if you’re considering it. Getting convicted of computer hacking comes with a wide range of punishments, and there are no Hollywood endings for those found guilty.

Examples of Computer Hacking

You could be found guilty of anything from Class A/B misdemeanors to serious felonies (1st-3rd degree) when facing computer hacking charges. Some of the most common infractions:

  • You break into a computer, computer system, or network without permission.
  • You hack an electronic voting system.
  • You hack into a computer with the purpose of committing a more serious crime (minor solicitation) or impersonating another in order to do them harm.

Much of what comes after the conviction wholly depends on the repercussions of your actions. If you hacked a computer to conceal your identity in soliciting a minor for sexual purposes, then prosecutors will add hacking in conjunction with whatever crime you ended up committing or attempting to commit.

The fallout can range from mild (six months in jail, a couple of thousand dollars in fines) to more severe jail time and fines. In Texas, first degree felony computer hacking charges could result in five years to life in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000.

With punishments like that, any potential job offer you get from Tom Hanks isn’t worth it.

How to Defend Against Computer Hacking Charges

If facing these or other computer-related charges, contact John Teakell. He is an experienced Dallas attorney with a 30-year career of defending these and other cases.

While no attorney can guarantee you an outcome, John will work with you to devise the best possible legal strategy. Give him a call or drop by his Turtle Creek office today.

Have a challenging case? Get a free consultation by our experts today!