Computer-related crime has boomed in recent years. Anonymity online and significant differences in computer savviness between crooks and most users are partly to blame. Federal and state computer laws exist to punish offenses such as improperly accessing, altering or damaging, and stealing or destroying anything related to a computer.
Systems, networks, software, programs, and similar stuff is protected as well. Here’s a summary of computer crimes laws in the Green Mountain State.
Computer Crime Laws in Vermont
Computer-to-computer crime routinely crosses state and international borders. Vermont law covers computer crimes whenever a computer or computer network inside the state is used to commit the crime or is targeted by the crime. So, Vermont hackers who target New Hampshire computers commit a crime in Vermont. And New Hampshire hackers targeting Vermont computers commit a crime in Vermont as well.
The offenses themselves protect computers as well as computer systems, networks, and programs. It’s a crime to make unauthorized access to a computer, access a computer for fraudulent purposes, alter or damage a computer, and steal or destroy a computer (or any computer system, network, program, or software). Penalties are misdemeanors save when damage or loss exceeds $500 in value. There’s also a provision permitting anyone damaged by a computer crime to sue to recover damages, costs, attorney fees, and other relief.
The following table provides a summary of Vermont computer crime laws:
||Tit. 13, §§ 4101-4107.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution
||Knowing or intentional, depending on the offense.
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes
||Unauthorized access (§ 4102); Accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes when the value is $500 or less (§ 4103); Altering, damaging, or interfering with a computer when damage or loss is $500 or less (§ 4104); Theft or destruction of a computer when damage or loss is $500 or less (§4105).
|Felony Computer Crimes
||Accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes when the value exceeds $500 (§ 4103); Altering, damaging, or interfering with a computer and causing above $500 in damage or loss (§ 4104); Theft or destruction of a computer when damage or loss is more than $500 (§4105).
|Attempt Considered a Crime?
||Yes (§ 9).
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted
||Yes. Anyone injured can seek damages, costs, attoney fees, and other relief a court deems appropriate (§ 4107).
Related Resources for Computer Crimes Laws
You can find more information about cyber crimes on these pages. For more specific questions about a particular case, consider speaking with a Vermont criminal lawyer.