Online threats are everywhere these days. The Director of the FBI says cybercrime is the biggest threat facing every single American today. From hackers to identity theft, and spam to viruses, we’re still learning how criminals can use computers to hurt us.
We also need to keep ourselves safe. Can you get in trouble for sexting? Is it safe to use your smart phone to transfer money? Louisiana has statutes in place intended to protect us from online theft or fraud. This is a brief summary of computer crimes laws in Louisiana.
Most people are familiar with the term "hacking." But there are various types of criminal activities that fall under the umbrella of "computer crimes" in Louisiana. Many state laws identify and prohibit a number of offenses collectively called "computer crimes," which can include a variety of topics such as hacking into a secure network, damaging a computer system, or even large-scale spam operations. Louisiana computer crime laws require the act to be intentional.
Computer Crime Laws in Louisiana
The highlights of Louisiana’s computer crime laws are listed below.
|14:73.1, et seq. Note: Section does not specifically classify crimes listed as either felony or misdemeanor. Offenses listed in misdemeanor or felony columns are based on the levels of punishments imposed rather than by explicit classification.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes
|Alter, damage or destroy hard/software valued under $500; interfere with use of another valued under $500
|Felony Computer Crimes
|Alter, damage or destroy hard/software valued over $500; interfere with use of another valued over $500; computer fraud
|Attempt Considered a Crime?
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?
Computer crimes can commonly be referred to as “cyber” crimes, and include:
- Introduction of a virus or other contaminant into a computer system or network
- Falsification of e-mail source information
- Use of a computer in a scheme to defraud
- Use of encryption in aid of a crime
- Improper access to a computer, system, or network
- Improper use, copy, modification, damage, or disclosure, of programs or data
- Interference with another person’s computer access or use
- Theft of information service from a provider
Depending on the purpose of the offense, a computer crime conviction in Louisiana could mean months or years in prison and hefty fines. To help protect yourself against computer crime, be sure to keep sensitive data like passwords, bank account codes, and social security numbers as private as possible, and install quality antivirus software on your own computer.
Related Resources for Louisiana Computer Crimes Laws:
Many state computer crime laws are still relatively new and can therefore seem confusing. If you would like legal advice regarding a possible computer crime case, you can contact a Louisiana criminal defense attorney near you. You can visit FindLaw's Cyber Crimes section for more general information.