Computers are nearly everywhere in our everyday lives and many of our interactions with others are done electronically. It is important to understand what constitutes a computer crime and what you could be facing if you are charged with a computer crime.
Understanding What Actions Can Be Charged As Computer Crimes
Computer crimes make up a broad spectrum of activities and the ranges of activities seem to expand as technologies continue to become more pervasive. In Virginia, most computer crimes fall under the Virginia Computer Crimes Act. Examples of criminal computer activity are:
- Theft of computer services
- Using a computer as an instrument of forgery
- Computer embezzlement
- Computer fraud
- Computer trespassing
- Sending unsolicited or bulk emails
- Modifying, using, disclosing or copying programs or data without authorization
Furthermore, some activities may not just be charged as computer crimes. For example, if a computer is used in harassing another person and that person harms his or herself as a result of the exchanges, the originator of the content may face other charges such as harassment or wrongful death.
If a computer is used to distribute or produce child pornography, a person may face criminal computer crime charges, but also could face sexual offense charges and be labeled as a sex offender.
Due to the nature of computer crimes, the crimes can often be viewed as federal crimes because they often involve more than one state in the perpetration. It is crucial you speak with a lawyer who can fight for you and defend you. Since many of these crimes are newer, there are still many gray areas and it is in your best interest to have someone who is well-seasoned defending you.