Understanding State and Federal Cyber Crime Laws

As computers and other electronic devices become an essential part of our daily lives, the number of crimes committed via computers has been steadily climbing. In response, Colorado and federal legislators are passing new laws designed to give law enforcement agencies and prosecutors greater abilities in responding to these crimes. As a result, these crimes are being prosecuted more aggressively than ever, and even a minor infraction can expose defendants to considerable consequences. If you have been charged with a cyber crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

You Could Face Prosecution in Either State or Federal Court

Generally speaking, federal criminal law involves crimes that cross state lines, whereas state prosecutors focus on “local” crimes. Because cyber crimes involve interstate communication networks, many defendants are charged with federal crimes, and their cases are tried in federal court. This is the case even if the crime involved parties who were all located in the same area – the fact that they used an interstate network triggers federal jurisdiction. As a result, you could be charged with a federal crime simply due to the fact that you access the internet via a computer, smartphone, or other device.

Common Cyber Crimes

The following actions are generally considered cyber crimes under both state and federal law:

  • Identity theft
  • Deployment of viruses, ransomware, and other malware
  • Cyberbullying and cyberstalking
  • Phishing scams
  • DDoS and other computer network attacks
  • Hacking

Colorado law criminalizes the following actions:

  • Unauthorized access to a computer, network, or system
  • Accessing a computer, network, or system in order to commit fraud or theft
  • Accessing a computer, network, or system by false pretenses in order to gain access to money, services, property, or other sensitive information
  • Unauthorized access of a computer, network, or system in order to interrupt or impair a computer, network, or system
  • The transmission of malware, ransomware, or viruses
  • Using a software application that disables or disrupts electronic queues, waiting periods, or other measures that limit the number of event tickets that may be bought by a single purchaser

You Could Be Facing a Felony Charge

In both federal and state cases, the value of the damage you cause will generally determine the punishment you face. Under Colorado law, you can expect the following:

  • Cases involving damage of less than $100 are charged as Class 3 misdemeanors
  • Cases involving damage of $100 to $500 are Class 2 misdemeanors
  • Cases involving damage of $500 to $15,000 are Class 4 felonies
  • Cases involving damage of more than $15,000 are Class 3 felonies

If charged with a Class 3 felony cyber crime, you could be facing up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.

Contact Rodemer | Kane if You Have Been Charged with a Cyber Crime

Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony charge, the repercussions of a conviction will do considerable damage to your future. Get the help you need to get a fair result – contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.