4 Classes Of Computer Crimes In Delaware
In the modern world where people are linked by computers, portable devices, and telecom networks, a good percentage of criminal activities occur through a keyboard as compared to city streets. Delaware lawmakers have kept the pace with technology to a certain extent, enacting numerous statutes on Computer-Related Offenses. These laws criminalize a wide range of conduct, and the penalties are just as harsh if you are convicted. Many of these crimes are felonies, but even a misdemeanor conviction can lead to jail time and fines.
A helpful way to appreciate the severity of computer crimes in Delaware is to understand how they are categorized, which is generally based upon the act and desired result. Because theft and/or fraud are key motivators, the relevant statutes fall under Offenses Involving Property. You can trust a Wilmington computer crimes defense lawyer to assist with your case, but a description of the four categories is informative.
- Identity Theft and Fraud: Various activities involving credit card and personal data could lead to an arrest, but the laws generally focus on:
- Conduct aimed at getting a credit card through use of someone else’s identifying information; OR
- Using a stolen card to make purchases or pay for services online.
- Installing Viruses: Computer software and apps rely on coding to perform their essential functions, so disruptions in the programming can cause major problems. Individuals with knowledge of weaknesses can exploit them for their own gain, such as stealing data or interrupting access. Some install “ransomware” that hijacks a user’s computer until that person or business pays to be allowed back in.
- Hacking: By stealing passwords, attacking security protocols, and other engineering methods, an individual can gain access to individual accounts or entire systems. Major data breaches are a concern for large companies whose customers entrust them with personal and financial information.
- Phishing: These schemes typically start with a fake ad, spam, or other bogus messages that encourage the user to click. By doing so, the user might be turning over access to computer files or networks.
Penalties for Delaware Computer Crimes
Like other offenses that involve theft and/or fraud, state laws on computer crimes focus on the dollar value that was misappropriated. Any of the criminal acts described above could be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor when the amount is under $500. For a conviction, a judge may order up to a year in jail and a fine. The penalties increase in severity with higher values, up to a Class D Felony for damages in excess of $10,000. If convicted, you could face up to eight years in prison.
A Delaware Computer Crimes Lawyer Can Advise You on Defense Options
This overview is useful for understanding the key state laws, but it is a mistake to represent yourself if you were recently arrested for a computer-related offense. For more information on possible defense strategies, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica in Wilmington, DE. You can schedule a consultation by calling 302.600.1262 or visiting our website.