The intentional trespassing into computer network, use of a computer for fraud, and various other crimes involving a computer are prohibited under state laws. In Virginia, computer crimes also include invasion of privacy and computer harassment. The state separates offenses into misdemeanors and felonies, with the more serious crimes involving theft. Attempt is not considered a crime, but Virginia does allow civil lawsuits for damages related to computer crimes.
What is Prohibited by the Virginia Computer Crimes Act?
The Virginia Computer Crimes Act lists a number of specific offenses that are prohibited by state law. These include:
- Computer Fraud – Using a computer or network without authority to embezzle, steal, or obtain property by false pretenses.
- Spam – Using a computer or network to send unsolicited advertisements, or to falsify email transmission information (see Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Spam)
- Computer Trespass – Disabling, removing, halting, or causing a malfunction to an unauthorized computer or network.
- Computer Invasion of Privacy – Using a computer or network to intentionally examine confidential information.
- Personally Identifying Information – Using a computer or network to obtain through “trickery” any personally identifying information (see Phishing Scams).
- Theft of Computer Services – Willfully obtaining computer services without authority.
- Harassment by Computer – The act of coercing, intimidating, or otherwise harassing someone through a computer or computer network.
Learn more about Virginia computer crime laws in below. See FindLaw’s Cyber Crimes section for additional resources.
|Code Section||18.2-152.1, et seq.|
|Mental State Required for Prosecution||Intentionally|
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes||Computer fraud with value of property or services less than $200, class 1 misdemeanor; Computer trespass is class 3 misdemeanor; if damages $2,500 or more, then class 1; computer invasion of privacy is class 1; theft of computer services is class 1; personal trespass by computer done unlawfully but not maliciously is class 1; computer harassment is class 1|
|Felony Computer Crimes||Computer fraud with value of property or services obtained $200 or more, class 5 felony; computer trespass with damages $2,500 or more caused by malicious act, class 6; Personal trespass by computer done maliciously is class 3|
|Reporting Computer Crimes||Whether you are a business or an individual, computer crimes should be reported to the proper law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.
While reaching out to a local or state police department is an option for computer crimes that are strictly local in nature, contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is necessary for crimes that cross state lines since they are considered federal crimes. Alternatively, computer crimes can also be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
|Attempt Considered a Crime?||No|
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?||Yes|
Note: State laws are constantly changing — contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Virginia Law
- Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Virginia Computer Crimes Laws: Related Resources