With the rise of computers and internet use, computers and computer hackers are everywhere. In an age when so much of our personal identity and financial information is available online, it is all too easy for hackers, skimmers, identity thieves, and leakers to access and sell that information. As a result, Oklahoma has passed the Computer Crimes Act. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1951, et seq.
What Is A Computer Crimes Act Charge?
The scope of computer crimes covered in this Act is quite extensive, but at its core, the Act provides a basis to prosecute hackers and those who profit from the work of hackers.
Computer crimes are willful. Any willful and unauthorized attempt or the gaining of access to another person’s computer, computer system, or network with the intent to damage, modify, copy, destroy, use, or take possession is against the law in Oklahoma.
Any time a person has
- accessed, damaged, destroyed, altered, disrupted, deleted, or
- caused records to be accessed, copied, disclosed or taken from another person’s computer, network computer system, network, or
- any other property, or made any attempt to do so without express permission,
they may be prosecuted for a computer crime.
While some of these crimes are charged as misdemeanors, most are charged as felonies. For example, merely gaining unauthorized access is a misdemeanor in Stillwater, but any damage inflicted may be charged as a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1954
Likewise, using another’s computer in any way for the purpose of defrauding, deceiving, obtaining money, property, or anything else of value is a felony. Willfully causing the unauthorized disruption of computer services or the denial of services to an authorized user of a computer or computer network is also a felony. Okla. tit. Stat. 21 § 1953
Using computers to threaten, harass, and put a person in fear of their life is also against the law. Minor infractions are misdemeanors, but the more serious actions involving threats to a person’s life, using a computer for sexual exploitation, and copyright infringement, are felonies, as is the distribution of malware, spyware, and computer viruses.
In addition to Oklahoma state felonies, you may face felony charges in federal court. Many of these crimes are also against federal law.
Penalties Can Be Severe
While misdemeanor penalties are not terribly severe, felony penalties are quite severe. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to 30 days, or both. Felony convictions can be punished by fines from $5,000 to $100,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1955
In addition, the Computer Crimes Act also allows a victim to sue you in civil court for damages in addition to costs and attorney’s fees. This can be a devastating financial blow.
Because penalties can be so severe, it is important that you talk to an experienced Stillwater OK attorney as soon as possible to sort out your situation and help protect your rights and freedom.
Free Consultation With A Stillwater OK Attorney
Wirth Law Office – Stillwater is here to help you when you need it the most.
We offer a free consultation with an experienced Stillwater OK attorney to help you defend your legal rights. Don’t try to handle your legal matter by yourself.
Call 405-673-1600 for a free consultation or submit a question through this website.