With the advent of modern technology, especially the use of computers and electronic information in our everyday work and personal lives, computer crimes have become a constant threat. Many states across the country have developed laws to address these computer and internet-based crimes, including online scams and cyberbullying. Kentucky is no exception.
The following table outlines Kentucky’s computer crime laws.
||Kentucky Revised Statutes Sections:
434.845 – Unlawful Access to a Computer in the 1st Degree
434.850 – Unlawful Access to a Computer in the 2nd Degree
434.851 – Unlawful Access to a Computer in the 3rd Degree
434.852 – Unlawful Access to a Computer in the 4th Degree
434.855 – Misuse of Computer Information
|What Is Prohibited?
||Unlawful access to a computer is knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly, accessing or attempting to access any computer or its software, program, data, or network. The degree or level for punishment is determined by the amount of damage done and the intent, as follows:
- First Degree – Devising or carrying out any scheme to defraud anyone or obtaining money, property or services by false representations
- Second Degree – Resulting in $300 or more of damage or loss
- Third Degree – Less than $300 of loss or damage
- Fourth Degree – No damage
Misuse of computer information is also prohibited. This crime is receiving, using, or aiding another to get any proceeds, records, property, or other material knowing them to have been obtained from a violation of unlawful access to a computer in the 1st degree.
||The penalties vary based on the degree of the crime and the class of felony or misdemeanor associated with the crime. The unlawful access to a computer punishment ranges are:
- First Degree – Class C felony with a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 or double what was gained from the crime
- Second Degree – Class D felony punished by 1 to 5 years incarceration and a $1,000 to $10,000 fine
- Third Degree – Class A misdemeanor
- Fourth Degree – Class B misdemeanor
Misuse of computer information is also a Class C felony, punished as stated above.
|Attempted Computer Crimes
||In some states, like Indiana, attempted computer crimes aren’t subject to criminal penalties, however, in Kentucky they are.
||Kentucky law doesn’t provide for a civil remedy, that is the ability to sue a person specifically for the computer crime. Other states, like Tennessee, do have a statutory provision allowing for certain civil lawsuits.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a computer-related crime, you should seek the advice of an experienced Kentucky criminal defense lawyer. Generally speaking, having quality representation will result in better outcomes when you find yourself in criminal court.
Note: As state and federal laws change regularly, it’s important to verify any laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable attorney.
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