Unauthorised Access, Modification Or Impairment With Intent To Commit A Serious Offence

Unauthorised Access, Modification Or Impairment With Intent To Commit A Serious Offence

Unauthorised Access, Modification or Impairment With Intent to Commit a Serious Offence is found in section 477.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995. It is committed by a person who accessed, modified, or impaired computer data with the intention of committing or facilitating a serious offence.

Have you been accused of Unauthorised Access, Modification or Impairment With Intent to Commit a Serious Offence?

access restricted data
Police Interview
The police will invite you to attend the police station if they believe you have gained Unauthorised Access, Modification or Impairment With Intent to Commit a Serious Offence. Do not be mistaken and believe the interview process is your one and only opportunity to explain your side of the story and hope they will leave you alone. You should speak with one of our lawyers before speaking with the police to arm yourself with as much information as possible.

Generally in cases like this, the police will already have the forensic evidence that they will say is evidence to support the allegation against you. In those circumstances, it is crucial that you speak to a lawyer in order to understand your rights and obligations during a police interview.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you deny gaining Unauthorised Access, Modification or Impairment With Intent to Commit a Serious Offence, it is important that you engage a lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity to mount a defence.

Our lawyers are experienced in analysing the police brief of evidence to determine your best possible strategy for defending your case. This may include engaging an appropriately qualified expert.

Pleading Guilty
Deciding to plead guilty to Unauthorised Access, Modification or Impairment With Intent to Commit a Serious Offence is not one that should be made lightly. Our lawyers will take the time to understand your perspective and instructions. We will help you to gather reports, certificates and character references to ensure the Court is fully informed about your life and personal circumstances.
Cases of this nature will be heard in the County Court.
 
Examples of Unauthorised Access, Modification Or Impairment With Intent To Commit A Serious Offence
  • A person accesses a hire car companies computer system so that he can steal their cars.
  • A person accesses a company computer system and changes their personal details on a companies allowing them to do something that would not have otherwise be able to do.
  • A person accesses a social media website without authorisation and incites racially motivated violence.
What is the legal definition of Unauthorised Access, Modification Or Impairment With Intent To Commit A Serious Offence?
Intention to commit a serious Commonwealth, State or Territory offence

  1. A person is guilty of an offence if:
    1. the person causes:
      1. any unauthorised access to data held in a computer; or
      2. any unauthorised modification of data held in a computer; or
      3. any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer; and
    2. the person knows the access, modification or impairment is unauthorised; and
    3. the person intends to commit, or facilitate the commission of, a serious offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory (whether by that person or another person) by the access, modification or impairment.
“Have you been accused of accessing computer data unauthorised?”
  1. In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the offence was:
    1. an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or
    2. a serious offence.
Penalty
  1. A person who is guilty of an offence against this section is punishable, on conviction, by a penalty not exceeding the penalty applicable to the serious offence.
Impossibility
  1. A person may be found guilty of an offence against this section even if committing the serious offence is impossible.
No offence of attempt
  1. It is not an offence to attempt to commit an offence against this section.
Meaning of serious offence
  1. In this section: serious offence means an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for life or a period of 5 or more years
Legislation
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 477.1 of Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
In essence to prove this charge the Prosecution must show that the accused caused any unauthorised access or modification of data held in a computer or any unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer where the accused knows the access, modification or impairment to be unauthorised and is undertaken with the intention of committing a serious offence.
 
Defences to this could be that the accused did not know that the access, modification or impairment was unauthorised or that the accused did not access, modify or impair any data held in a computer.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you access computer data?
  • Did you have authorisation?
  • What was your intent?

The offence of (s477.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995) carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a period of 5 or more years.

This charge is at the high range of criminal behaviour. That is why there is a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Other important resources
Case studies related to Unauthorised Access, Modification Or Impairment With Intent To Commit A Serious Offence