Technology is constantly evolving, and laws regarding technology and computers are consistently evolving to keep up with the changes. Even though Illinois does not have the most advanced computer crime laws, you can be charged with a computer crime in the state if you knowingly commit them. In Illinois, both felony and misdemeanor computer crimes exist.
Some computer crimes come along with stiff penalties if an individual is found guilty. Additionally, computer crimes can be tried in civil court just the same as they can be tried in criminal court, so being found guilty can lead to a civil case against you if the victim sustained damages. Take a look at three ways you can be charged with a computer crime in the state of Illinois.
You Gained Unauthorized Access to Someone’s Computer
In Illinois, something as simple as accessing someone’s computer without their permission is actually a misdemeanor crime even if you do not necessarily do anything once you have gained access. If you use the opportunity to get private information or some type of service meant for the device owner, you could face a misdemeanor charge the first time and a felony for a repeat offense.
You should remember that unauthorized access could easily lead to a felony charge if you do something to alter or damage the computer, the data in the computer, or a specific program the computer uses. These felony crimes often come as a surprise to those being charged because Illinois law takes these crimes very seriously.
For example, if you are at work and gain access to your boss’s computer without their permission and use that opportunity to post a disturbing message on their Facebook account, you could actually be charged with a misdemeanor just for unauthorized access. If you gain access and remove all of the absence points you have accumulated as an employee, this would be considered a felony.
You Accessed a Government or Public Utility Computer and Disrupted Vital Services
Suppose you work at a public utility company and figure out how to gain access to the main system via your work computer. As a joke, you log in as an authority figure in the organization and shut down power to an entire block in one part of the city. This kind of computer access and tampering can land you with a felony crime for aggravated computer tampering.
Aggravated computer tampering is an offense that occurs when someone uses a computer with the intention of disrupting or interfering with operations of a public utility or state or local government operation. Aggravated computer tampering can also involve doing something on a computer that is likely to cause harm or even death to other people.
You Hacked Into Someone’s Computer and Used Access for Ill Intent
If you gain access to a computer with the direct intent of deceiving or defrauding someone, this is considered computer fraud in Illinois and is punishable as a felony crime. A few examples of computer fraud would be:
- Using someone’s computer to make purchases on their Amazon account with their payment information
- Accessing a company’s computer to alter billing information for people you know
- Harvesting login information from a stolen computer and controlling their bank account
If an attempt is made to hack into a computer and use it for ill intent, you may still be charged with a crime even if you didn’t follow through because you got caught in the process. If you have been charged with a computer crime in Illinois and need the proper defense team in court, reach out to us at Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC for advice.