CACI 1813 Definition of Access (Pen. Code, § 502(b)(1))

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

1813 Definition of “Access” (Pen. Code, § 502(b)(1))

The term “access” means to gain entry to, instruct, cause input to, cause output from, cause data processing with, or communicate with the logical, arithmetical, or memory function resources of a computer, computer system, or computer network.

A person can access a computer, computer system, or computer network in different ways. For example, access can be accomplished by sitting down at a computer and using the mouse and keyboard, or by using a wireless network or some other method or tool to gain remote entry.

Directions for Use

This instruction should be read with CACI No. 1812, Comprehensive Computer Data and Access Fraud Act—Essential Factual Elements, for claims that require that the defendant “access” a computer, computer system, or computer network. (See Pen. Code, § 502 (c)(1), (2), (4), (7), and (11).)

Sources and Authority

“Access” Defined. Penal Code section 502(b)(1).

“Underscoring that ‘accessing’ a computer’s ‘logical, arithmetical, or memory function’ is different from the ordinary, everyday use of a computer to which people are accustomed when they speak of ‘using’ a computer, another subdivision criminalizes ‘us[ing] or caus[ing] to be used computer services’ without permission. Principles of statutory interpretation obligate us to give different meanings to the words ‘use’ and ‘access’ in order to avoid rendering either word redundant.” (Chrisman v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 29, 34 [65 Cal.Rptr.3d 701], internal citation and footnote omitted.)

“Public access computer terminals are increasingly common in the offices of many governmental bodies and agencies, from courthouses to tax assessors. We believe subdivision (c)(7) was designed to criminalize unauthorized access to the software and data in such systems, even where none of the other illegal activities listed in subdivision (c) have occurred.” (People v. Lawton (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th Supp. 11, 15 [56 Cal.Rptr.2d 521].)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against Property, § 229 et seq.