Can computer crimes be misdemeanors or felonies?

Computer crimes can be very serious in the eyes of the law. Sending or creating viruses, damaging networks, hacking into governmental websites, and other activities are illegal. If you’re accused of a computer crime, you need to be proactive about your defense.

While one of the most common forms of crime online is hacking, something you’re more likely to see is spam or viruses. Spam, which is essentially digital junk mail, may carry damaging viruses. Some viruses open a way for hackers to access information on a server once the spam has been opened or downloaded.

To prosecute someone for a computer crime, the person must have willfully and intentionally committed the crime. Most computer crimes will be considered to be misdemeanors, but some can be felonies. For instance, while illegally accessing a computer through hacking may be a misdemeanor, if the act results in losses of over $10,000, then it becomes a felony crime. Even attempting to hack a computer is considered to be a crime.

Some cyber crimes may include: falsifying email source information, using encryption to aid a crime, taking information services from a provider, introducing a virus to a computer system, improperly accessing a system, network, or computer, or improperly using programs or devices.

Depending on the crime you’re accused of, you could be looking at up to 20 years in prison. Fines can top $10,000. It’s important to take steps to protect yourself as soon as you’re accused of these kinds of crimes; you deserve to have a defense and to tell your side of the story.