Computer Crime, It Doesn’t Always Take a Genius Hacker.
Computer crimes in Arizona come in all sorts of sizes and flavors. And quite often, it is a simple indiscretion (or a burning desire for justice) that gets most people on the wrong side of a felony indictment.
In Arizona, reading another person’s email without his or her express permission is a crime with a possible maximum sentence of 2.5 years in prison. Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3005(A)(1) states that it is a Class 5 felony if any person “[i]ntentionally intercepts a wire or electronic communication to which he is not a party, or aids, authorizes, employs, procures or permits another to so do, without the consent of either a sender or receiver thereof.” The statute does set forth several common sense exceptions (such as an employee using an employer’s email domain as part of their job performance). The focus of this brief article is one individual reading another individual’s private email without permission.
Let us consider the poor soul whose spouse has: 1) been less than faithful to their wedding vows, and 2) has engaged in the strategic concealment of selected community assets. Most people would not begrudge such a person who (without permission) secretly reads the (soon to be ex) spouse’s emails to secure proof of infidelity or recover a fair share of the hidden wealth.
Many of these prospective clients cannot wait to tell me how happy they were to nail their ex-spouse to the wall in divorce court with the evidence they had gleaned from an email account they had no permission to read. Angry that he or she has been caught in their web of deceit, the ex-spouse is often quick to call the police and report the unauthorized use of a personal email account. The joy of victory in divorce court is quickly forgotten when those same intercepted emails become the crux of the State’s computer crimes case against the spouse who only wanted to prove what a degenerate their ex-spouse had become.
That you have been wronged by your spouse (or significant other) is not a defense to illegally intercepting an email. That the email was never password protected on a shared computer and could easily be read by someone who was not a professional hacker is also not a defense. Read any private email without the permission of the sender or the receiver and, in Arizona, you have committed a crime.
Our attorneys have vast experience in defending and mitigating all types of computer crimes. If you are ever charged with illegally intercepting an email, please give us call at (480) 833-2341.
Attorney Profile: Brian D. Strong – Criminal Defense
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