Computer Crimes

It is often said that we live in the digital age. Our lives are defined by computerization, which has pervaded every aspect of daily existence. Of course, this means that computers are constantly used for both honorable and questionable ends, including crime.

Just like computers can be confusing when it comes to the changes they’ve caused in the typical aspects of life, computer related crimes can be confusing. Many people don’t realize that certain computer-related activities are illegal and highly penalized. Others don’t realize how easy it is for the state to track online activity. But computer-related crimes are serious, and can carry weighty consequences. Of course, a “computer-related” crime entails is a broad category encompassing many different areas of law, but there are a few common computer-related charges.

Identity Fraud and Phishing

Identity fraud is a crime that also happen offline, but there can be special qualities to cases where these actions have allegedly happened online, including the chance that court will subpoena the defendant’s internet device history. Penalties for identity theft can include imprisonment for up to 10 years, and a fine of up to $50,000, in addition to the requirement that all stolen value be restored.


Hacking is defined as getting access to protected data through breaking open computer data protections. Generally, this crime is considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.

However, in some cases, the penalty may be more serious. If the hacked computer access presents a risk of death to another person, the charge is elevated to a gross misdemeanor. In these cases, when the hacking presents a threat to public health and safety, a hacking conviction can carry up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.