Tonight’s post on unexpected crimes in family law was written by our Atlanta Divorce Attorney, Cherese Clark.
Family law comes packed with juicy stories of salacious affairs, nanny cams, and “smoking gun evidence that cracks the case. Parties run to their attorney’s office with footage in hand, eager to bust the case open and expose “the truth!”
Truth is that the evidence they had is actually more damning than they think- but not for the reason they wish. The evidence that captured the misconduct of your opponent may be inadmissible and land you behind bars. This is Part 1 of a 3 part series about crimes to know before you go Colombo. First up, computer trespassing.
Computer trespassing covers a wide array of crimes from computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, to computer password disclosure. All of the crimes in this category involve high-jacking someone’s computer without their knowledge, to obtain information.
Computer trespass is the use of someone’s computer to remove programs or data, to interfere with the use of the computer, or to alter or damage or cause the computer to malfunction. For example, if John Doe were to take Jane’s computer and delete Skype because he knows the messages he sent could be harmful to his case, he could be found guilty of computer trespass.
Computer Invasion of Privacy
John logs onto the Jane’s computer without her consent and reviews her business and personal bank statements. John could be guilty of computer invasion of privacy. Anyone that uses a computer or computer network to obtain “employment, medical, salary, credit, or any other financial or personal data without permission could face charges.
Computer Password Disclosure
John knows Jane’s iPhone passcode. Whn she walks the dog, he secretly enters the code and unlocks the phone to get the content that he now wants to use as evidence against her. Even if Jane gave him passcode some time in their past, John committed the crime of computer password disclosure.
Eah of these crimes could subject Joe to criminal and civil liability. If Joe is found guilty of computer password disclosure, he could be fined up to $5,000 and be incarcerated for up to a year. Computer trespass and computer invasion of privacy conviction could cost Joe up to $50,000 in fines or up to 15 years in jail!
The moral of the story, pay the extra money to find out the truth and conduct discovery the right way, because playing Columbo (in this case playing John) could cost you way more than the mud you get to sling with the computer information you obtained.
It could cost you your liberty.