In accordance with the laws of Virginia, Computer crimes may be called cyber crimes. They are crimes in which a computer user uses certain skills to steal private information that belongs to individuals or organizations. In some cases, the computer user will destroy data. This computer user is named a hacker. A hacker is defined as a person who uses a computer to gain unauthorized access to data.
There are different types of computer crimes. The following are examples of such crimes:
- Fraud and identity theft;
- Information warfare;
- Scams by means of tricking;
- Spam; and
- Spreading offensive illegal content.
In Virginia, computer crimes are classified as either misdemeanor crimes or felony crimes depending on the seriousness of the type of crime. Attempting to commit a computer crime is not a crime if the crime was not committed.
Virginia Law states that there are certain types of computer crimes prohibited by the state of Virginia. These include:
- Computer fraud: a hacker uses a device to illegally obtain a property by lying;
- Spam: a hacker uses a device to advertise an object illegally or to spread false information;
- Computer trespass: a hacker causes another computer to fail to operate properly;
- Privacy invasion: a hacker uses a computer to access private information without authorization;
- Identity theft: a hacker uses a device to obtain identifying information; and
- Harassment: a hacker intimidates, threatens or harasses a person using a device.
The device used by the hacker is usually a computer user through a network.
A victim of computer crimes in Virginia should report the offense immediately to an agency specialized in computer crimes. In general, normal computer crimes are reported to a police station. Federal computer crimes such as computer fraud are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. There are also internet crime complaint centers that can receive reports about computer crimes in the state of Virginia.
Punishments for computer crimes depend on if the specific crime is a felony or misdemeanor crime. Misdemeanor computer crimes will vary in class as they range from a class three or class C misdemeanor to a class A or class one misdemeanor. Computer trespass is recognized as a class three or class C misdemeanor. This means that computer trespass is punished by a fine that may reach $500. Computer fraud for a value less than $200, computer invasion, etc. are classified as a class one misdemeanor crimes. This implies that the punishment for the named crimes is a fine that may reach $2500 and/or jail time for a period that has a maximum of one year. Felony computer crimes include computer fraud for a value of more than $200. The mentioned crime is a class five felony which means that it is punished by imprisonment for a period between one to ten years.
Computer crimes are classified as felonies and misdemeanors depending on the crime. Felony computer crimes range from class three to class six. This implies that the maximum punishment for computer crimes is imprisonment for five to 20 years and a fine that can reach $100,000. Misdemeanor computer crimes range from class three to class one. This means that the minimum punishment is a fine that may not exceed $500.
If you need a Virginia Computer Crimes Lawyer to help you with your Computer Crimes case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Computer Crimes Attorneys can help you.