As innocent as it may seem, hacking into another person’s email account is considered a serious offense in the eyes of the law. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the hacking, an offender may be charged with a second or third-degree felony, which generally results in severe penalties.
Hacking is the online equivalent of tampering with another person’s mail. Anyone may be charged with hacking, regardless of the offender’s relationship to the person whose account was illegally accessed. In fact, most hacking cases involve family members, partners, or spouses accessing an email account without the owner’s consent. In all cases, the victim may press charges against the perpetrator, and if he or she is convicted, there will be a felony offense on his or her record.
Felonies are serious offenses that are punished with either jail time, fines, or a combination of both. Generally, hacking is a third-degree felony; however, if the act was committed in order to steal information, defraud, or otherwise harm the victim, the offense may be escalated to second-degree felony. The penalties for these offenses are as follows:
Felony of the Third Degree
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines
Felony of the Second Degree
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
In addition to possible jail time and steep fines, a felony conviction can have devastating effects on an individual’s professional and social life. With the help of an attorney, however, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
If you have been charged with a felony for hacking, you will need an experienced internet crime attorney on your side. To speak with a lawyer about your case and possible defense strategies, visit the website of the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of Klein & Associates, P.A.