4 Things to Know About Computer Crimes in Utah

We live in a world where almost everything involves computers, so the Utah legal system has established a set of classifications and punishments for various computer crimes. In general, a computer crime interferes with the normal operation of a computer system. This includes things like hacking or even attempting to access a computer to change, steal, or copy information or settings. The law also prohibits ransomware, denial of service attacks, phishing, and spyware.

In Utah, there is a dedicated Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) of the Utah Department of Public Safety. The officers with the CCU investigate the criminal use of computers involving internet fraud, the theft of data, unauthorized access, and network intrusions.

1. What are examples of computer crimes?

Many computer crimes can be defined as either an access crime (accessing computer technology without authorization) or an action crime (deleting files, copying documents etc.). The law also specifies denial of service as its own classification.  

Access crimes – Unauthorized access to computer technology

Access crimes are commonly called hacking or phishing. It is illegal to access (or attempt to access) computer technology without authorization if the access or attempt results in

Action crimes – Taking unauthorized action using computer technology

These crimes generally occur after someone has hacked into a system and committed an access crime. These are the actions that are taken once inside a computer system. A crime occurs when someone knowingly takes or attempts to take an action that results in

Denial of Service - Engaging in a denial of service attack

This type of crime restricts access by flooding the bandwidth or a system with digital traffic. The unusual flood of traffic then prevents legitimate users from accessing information or services.

2. What are the criminal classifications associated with computer crimes in Utah?

Committing an access, action, or denial of service crime as listed above is charged as a class B misdemeanor when

As you would guess, the classification increases as the value of the economic loss increases.

Additionally, computer crimes are charged as a third-degree felony when

3. What are the penalties for computer crimes in Utah?

A judge will determine the exact penalty for any computer crime based on the circumstances and the classifications listed above. Below are the basic punishments associated with the classifications of crimes in Utah.  

Class B misdemeanor in Utah: Imprisonment for a term of no more than six months and a fine of no more than $1,000

Class A misdemeanor in Utah: Imprisonment for a term of no more than one year and a fine of no more than $2,500

Third-degree felony in Utah: Imprisonment for a term of no more than five years and a fine of no more than $5,000  

Second-degree felony in Utah: Imprisonment for a term of one to fifteen years and a fine of no more than $10,000    

‍4. How do I find an experienced lawyer to defend my Computer Crime Case in Utah?

If you have been charged with a computer crime in Utah, the expert defense lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat are ready to fight for you. We have decades of experience, and we know the laws inside and out.  

Give us a call at (801) 532-5297 so we can start working on your case today.

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