State and federal prosecutors are taking more aggressive action to punish those who have been accused of cyber crimes to combat the growing number of hacking and security breaches. Newmark Storms Law Office defense attorneys, Eric Newmark and Jill Brisbois, have experience handling tough internet crime cases in both state and federal jurisdictions.
In Minnesota there are a couple statues that are defined as “computer crimes.”
Computer damage is defined as intentionally damaging or destroying a computer, system, network, or software. It also includes distributing a virus with the intent to damage one of the technologies listed above. Penalties for computer damage range based on the value of the damage done during the alleged crime. For example, if the value of the damage is less than $500, the punishment includes 90 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000. But, if a person is found guilty of causing over $2,500 damage to a computer, system, network, or software, he or she is looking at a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
Computer theft involves intentionally and without permission, accessing any computer, system, or network for the purpose of obtaining services or property. It also includes the intent to deprive an owner of use or possession by taking, transferring, concealing, or retaining possession of any computer, system, or network. The punishments for computer theft are very similar to that of computer damage. They are based on the same range of computer values.
Unauthorized Computer Access
A person is guilty of unauthorized computer access if he or she intentionally attempts to (or does) penetrate a computer security system without authorization. This is commonly known as “hacking.” The charges range from misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor to felony. It’s generally a misdemeanor with up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if the manner creates a risk to public health and safety, the accused is looking at a gross misdemeanor with a $3,000 and up to one year in jail. The most severe charge is a felony which is the crime creates a grave risk of causing death. A felony authorized computer access conviction carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
Standard Crimes Using a Computer or the Internet
There are numerous crimes that might be carried out via a computer. They are not necessarily classified as “computer crimes,” because they are existing crimes. However, people are finding new methods to commit those crimes, such as