We’re still learning all the ways computers can be used by criminals. There are so many different variants: spam, viruses, identity theft, hackers, etc. So many questions pop up: How are we to keep ourselves safe online? Can I get in trouble for sexting? And is it safe to transfer money using my smart phone? Fortunately for First Staters, Delaware has laws in place intended to protect us from fraud or theft online. Here is a brief summary of computer crimes laws in Delaware.
There are various types of criminal activities that fall under the umbrella of "computer crimes" in Delaware. Many people may be familiar with the term "hacking," however, there are computer crimes that are even broader and cover a variety of topics. Most state laws identify and prohibit a number of offenses collectively called "computer crimes," which include crimes such as hacking into a secure network or damaging a computer system. Delaware computer crime laws require the act to be intentional and an attempt is considered unlawful.
Computer Crime Laws in Delaware
The highlights of Delaware's computer crime laws are listed below.
||11 §§931, et seq.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution
||Knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, negligently
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes
||Class A misdemeanor: when unauthorized access, theft of computer services, interruption of computer services, misuse of computer system info or destruction of computer equipment, sending commercial email after asked to stop, and damages $500 or less
|Felony Computer Crimes
||Class G felony: same offenses and damages >$500; class F felony: same offenses and damages exceeds $1,000 or risk of injury to another person; class E felony: same offenses and damages exceed $5,000; class D felony: same and damages exceed $10,000
|Attempt Considered a Crime?
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?
Computer crimes are generally a subset of “cyber” crimes and can include:
- Improper access to a computer, system, or network;
- Improper use, copy, modification, damage, or disclosure, of programs or data;
- Introduction of a virus or other contaminant into a computer system or network;
- Interference with another person’s computer access or use;
- Use of a computer in a scheme to defraud;
- Use of encryption in aid of a crime;
- Falsification of e-mail source information; and
- Theft of information service from a provider.
A computer crime conviction in Delaware could mean different sentences depending on whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. To help protect yourself against computer crime, be sure to have quality antivirus software on your own computer and take care to keep your sensitive data (passwords, bank account codes, social security numbers, etc.) as private as possible.
Related Resources for Delaware Computer Crimes Laws:
Computer crime laws are still relatively new and can seem confusing. You can visit FindLaw's Cyber Crimes section for more introductory information about the topic. If you would like legal advice regarding a possible computer crime case, you can contact a Delaware criminal defense attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.