With all of our increased use of computers these days, it’s no wonder criminals are using computers, too. When we’re online, doing everything from email to Internet banking and stock trading, so are people looking to exploit security flaws and use our personal information for their financial gain.
Fortunately for those of us glued to our laptops and smart phones, the Palmetto State has specific statutes to protect its citizens from online theft or fraud. So how do these laws work, and how do we keep our computers, personal information, and ourselves safe from computer crime? Here are the basics of computer crimes laws in South Carolina.
When most of us hear the phrase computer crime, we think of “hackers” that we may have encountered on TV or in books. But breaking into secure systems is only one aspect of criminal computer use collectively called “computer crimes” and outlawed by state laws that identify and prohibit these kinds of offenses. Computer crime laws can cover everything from damaging a computer system and spam operations to hacking into a secure network.
Computer Crime Laws in South Carolina
The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s computer crime statutes.
|Code Section||South Carolina Code of Laws 16-16-10, et seq.: Computer Crime Act|
|What Is Prohibited||Directly or indirectly accessing or causing to be accessed a computer, computer system, or computer network for the purpose of:
Altering, damaging, destroying, or modifying a computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in that computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network or introduce a computer contaminant into that computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution||Willfully, knowingly, maliciously|
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes||Computer crime in the second degree, class A misdemeanor; Computer crime in the third degree, class B misdemeanor|
|Felony Computer Crimes||Computer crime in the first degree, class E felony; second or subsequent convictions of computer crimes in the second degree, class F felony|
|Attempt Considered a Crime?||No|
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?||No|
Related Resources for South Carolina Computer Crimes Laws:
We’re not all computer experts, so understanding computers and computer crime laws can be confusing. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s Cyber Crimes section. If you would like legal advice regarding a possible computer crime matter, you can contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney.