It is a misdemeanor offense in the State of Maryland to improperly access another person’s computer or email account.

Maryland Criminal Law, section 7-302 prohibits the “intentional” and “unauthorized” access of another person’s computer system, even if it is a computer belonging to a family member or co-worker.  The maximum penalty is 3 years in jail, or a $1,000.00 fine, or both. 

Our firm often sees this issue arise in divorce cases, workplace disputes, and in business dissolutions that have gone bad, to name a few examples.

Be aware that unauthorized access can also include taking advantage of a password you may already know or guessing someone’s password.  You may be charged with a crime and the information that you obtained will most likely not be admissible in a lawsuit.  Moreover, if you access a computer system with the intention of committing sabotage or malicious mischief, you face more severe criminal penalties.