Most people think of the junk email they receive in their inboxes as spam, but under Ohio law, spamming has a very specific legal meaning, and if you violate the terms of O.R.C. 2913.421, you can be charged by Cleveland prosecutors with Illegally transmitting multiple commercial electronic mail messages (spamming) / unauthorized access of a computer. Simply sending commercial emails doesn’t meet the definition under the statute. Instead, you must engage in one or more of four types of conduct while sending commercial electronic mail messages from or to a computer within the state of Ohio:
- Knowingly use a computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial electronic mail messages, with the intent to deceive or mislead recipients or the provider of the electronic mail service as to the email’s origin.
- Knowingly and materially falsify header data in commercial email messages
- Knowingly register, using information that falsifies the identity of the actual registrant, for five or more electronic mail accounts or online user accounts or two or more domain names and purposely initiate the transmission of multiple commercial electronic mail messages from one, or any combination, of accounts or domain names
- Knowingly falsely represent the right to use five or more IP addresses, and purposely send multiple commercial email messages from those addresses
As a base charge, illegally transmitting multiple commercial electronic mail messages (spamming) – unauthorized use of a computer is a Fifth Degree Felony that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. In large operations, or where previous convictions under this section exist, your charges may be Fourth Degree or even Third Degree charges, which carry potential maximum sentences of 18 months and 5 years, respectively. These are complicated charges and penalties and prosecutors in Cleveland spare no expense to make sure juries hear expert testimony that is clear and convincing. Your defense team has to approach the charges in exactly the same way – with clear evidence that is compelling to jurors.
If you or a family member are facing illegally transmitting multiple commercial electronic mail messages (spamming) – unauthorized access of a computer charges, Call the attorneys at Patituce & Associates today for a free consultation with an experienced Cleveland computer crimes defense attorney.