Computer crimes are on the rise. Hackers, skimmers, identity thieves, and leakers are everywhere these days and computer crime is rampant. As a result, Oklahoma has passed the Computer Crimes Act to address a number of types of computer crime. Okla. Stat. tit.21 § 1951, et seq.
Computer Crimes Act Charges Include Many Types Of Crimes
The following actions are illegal under the Computer Crimes Act:
- accessing, damaging, destroying, altering, disrupting, deleting;
- causing to be accessed, copied, or disclosed;
- taking possession of a computer, computer system, network, or any other property; o
- attempting such action without permission; or
- exceeding the limits of any permission or authorization given.
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1954
The crimes involved are always willful, but they can be myriad in nature.
Some violations of the Computer Crimes Act are classified as misdemeanors, while others are classified as felonies. The greater the damage done, the more likely it is to be classified as a felony. For example, gaining unauthorized access to another person’s computer or network is a misdemeanor, but any damage inflicted while inside their system may be charged as a felony.
If you are facing charges, it is critical that you understand specifically what you are being charged with and whether the charges involve misdemeanor or felony counts, or both. Since these are complicated crimes, it is advisable to seek the help of an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.
What Types Of Crimes Are Covered By The Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act?
Here are specific acts that are prohibited under the law and how those acts are classified.
- Any willful and unauthorized attempt or the gaining of access to another’s computer or computer system to damage, modify, copy, destroy, use, or take possession (felony).
- Gaining access or attempting to gain access to another’s computer system without authorization (misdemeanor).
- Using another’s computer in any way for the purpose of defrauding, deceiving, obtaining money, property, or anything else of value (felony).
- Willfully and without authorization causing the disruption of computer services or the denial of services to an authorized user of a computer or computer network (felony).
- Willfully using a computer, computer system, or network to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person is a misdemeanor, but willfully using a computer, computer system, or network to put another person in fear of physical harm or death is a felony.
- Engaging in defrauding, altering, or destroying hardware or software belonging to another (felony).
- Trafficking in computer passwords (felony).
- Using a computer for sexual exploitation; copyright violations such as illegally downloading music; and developing or distributing computer viruses, spyware, or malware (felony).
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1953, OUJI-CR 5-130
Penalties Depend On The Type of Crime
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to 30 days, or both.
If you are convicted of a felony in Tahlequah, you face a fine between $5,000 and $100,000, imprisonment from 1 to 10 years, or both.
In addition, the Computer Crimes Act also allows a victim to seek damages in civil court. This includes attorney’s fees. Thus makes the consequences of the crime costly in terms of freedom and money.
If you are facing a charge under the Computer Crimes Act, you will need help negotiating the criminal and civil trial you may face. An experienced Tahlequah attorney can help. Make that call today.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you’ve been charged with a crime under the Computer Crimes Act in Oklahoma.
For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.
Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.