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Section 308D Crimes Act 1900
Unauthorised Modification of Data with Intent

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Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment is an offence under section 477.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You caused any unauthorised modification of data held in a computer
  2. You knew the modification was unauthorised, and
  3. You were reckless as to whether the modification impaired or would impair:
    (a) Access to data held in the computer, or
    (b) The reliability, security or operation of any such data.

‘Data’ is information in any form, including any program or part of a program.

‘Data held in a computer’ includes that which is held in any:

  1. Removable data storage device being held in a computer, or
  2. Data storage device on a computer network of which the computer formed a part.

‘Modification’ of data held in a computer, means:

  1. The alteration or removal of the data, or
  2. An addition to the data.

You caused an unauthorised modification if you substantially contributed to it.

The modification was not unauthorised merely because you had an ulterior purpose for causing it.

You were authorised to modify the data if this was done:

  1. Under a warrant pursuant to a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory
  2. Under an emergency authorisation pursuant to the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 or under a law of a State or Territory to similar effect
  3. Under a tracking device authorisation given under section 39 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, or
  4. Pursuant to a technical assistance request or notice, or a technical capability notice.

You may be found guilty even if there is or will be no actual impairment to:

  1. Access to data held in the computer, or
  2. The reliability, security or operation of any such data.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk that your modification would impair access to, or the reliability, security or operation of, the data, or that there was a risk your modification would do so and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

If you are going to court for the offence of Unauthorised Modification of Data with Intent, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to secure the optimal outcome.

Read on for more information.

The Legislation

Section 308D of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Unauthorised Modification of Data with Intent’ and reads as follows:

308D Unauthorised modification of data with intent to cause impairment

(1) A person who:
(a) causes any unauthorised modification of data held in a computer, and
(b) knows that the modification is unauthorised, and
(c) intends by the modification to impair access to, or to impair the reliability, security or operation of, any data held in a computer, or who is reckless as to any such impairment,
is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) A conviction for an offence against this section is an alternative verdict to a charge for:
(a) an offence against section 195 (Destroying or damaging property), or
(b) an offence against section 308E (Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication).

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Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

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    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

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  7. All NSW Courts

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  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

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  12. Convenience

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    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

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    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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