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Missouri Computer Crimes Laws

Overview of Missouri Computer Crime Laws

The term "computer crime" can mean so many things, since computers are practically everywhere in our daily lives. It's a broad category of crime that often includes other offenses, including fraud and larceny, but they all involve the use of a computer and/or computer network to commit the crime(s). Missouri statute identifies a few distinct computer-related crimes:

  1. Tampering with Computer Data - To modify or destroy computer data or programs; disclose or take data or programs; disclose or take a password or I.D.; invasion of privacy through a computer or network; or receiving data known to have been obtained illegally.
  2. Tampering with Computer Equipment - To modify, destroy, or take computer equipment; enhanced penalties for crimes involving fraud or theft.
  3. Tampering with Computer Users - To access (or help access) a computer system or network without authority, or to deny the access to computer systems or networks (as in "denial-of-service" attacks).

The following chart highlights the main provisions of Missouri's computer crimes laws.

Code Section 537.525, 569.094, et seq.
Mental State Required for Prosecution Knowingly
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes Class A misdemeanor: tampering with computer equipment, tampering with computer users
Felony Computer Crimes Tampering with computer equipment with purpose to scheme, defraud, or obtain property the value of which is $500 or more is class D felony; if damage to computer or related parts is $500 or more, then a class D felony; if damage is $1,000 or more, then class C felony; tampering with computer users with purpose to scheme, defraud, or obtain property the value of which is $500 or more, class D felony
Attempt Considered a Crime? No
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Can I Recover Losses from a Computer Crime?

Another Missouri statute establishes a plaintiff's ability to seek remedies as the victim of a computer crime, along with recovery of reasonable legal fees. Plaintiffs may seek compensatory damages incurred from damage, illegal access, tampering, etc.

Long before the Internet, identity theft usually involved the process of going through someone's garbage or engaging in other scams in order to obtain sensitive personal data. So it's not considered a computer crime under the law. See Missouri Identity Theft Laws to learn more.

Research the Law

Missouri Computer Crime Laws: Related Resources

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