Every day, people in Maine use their computers to access various networks and programs. Many people have online banking, social networking, photo sharing, and other “cloud” computing apps and programs they use daily. With all the technology we use today, computer crimes have become an increasing concern of states.
Many states, including Maine, have adopted laws that create computer and Internet-based crimes and accompanying punishments. For example, a state may have a specific law addressing online scams or the increasingly common cyberbullying.
Computer Crimes in Maine
The following table briefly explains Maine’s computer crime laws.
||Maine Code Revised Title 17-A, Chapter 18: Computer Crimes
|What is Prohibited?
||Maine prohibits computer crimes under the name “criminal invasion of computer privacy.” This offense is intentionally accessing any computer resource that the person isn’t authorized to access or use.
Aggravated Criminal Invasion of Computer Privacy is when a person intentionally or knowing does any of the following:
- Copies a computer program or software without authorization
- Damages anyone else’s computer program, software, system, network, or data
- Introduces a computer virus to someone’s else computer or network
||Accessing a computer without authorization is merely a Class D crime, whereas Aggravated Criminal Invasion of Computer Privacy is a Class C crime.
A Class D crime can be punished by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A Class C crime is subject to at most five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution
||A defendant must have intentionally or knowingly committed the computer crime to be charged.
||Many defenses, such as innocence, could apply to a charge of a computer crime. Another defense is that the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe he or she had the right to access, alter, damage, or introduce a virus to a computer or its data, programs, systems, or networks.
|Attempt Considered a Crime?
||Civil lawsuits based on computer are not explicitly provided for in these statutes, but may be permissible if other torts or injuries (like invasion of privacy, trespassing, or fraud) have been committed in the process of the crime.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a computer-related crime, you should immediately speak with an experienced local criminal defense lawyer or your assigned public defender.
Note: State laws are updated frequently. Please conduct your own legal research or contact a knowledgeable lawyer to verify these state computer crimes.
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