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Computer Crimes in California

The blanket term, computer crimes in California is used to categorize an assortment of crimes that involve the use of either or both computers and the internet. While all can violate California state laws, it is not unusual for some to also violate federal laws.

As computers became an increasingly important part of both business and personal life, California lawmakers realized the importance of passing laws that were designed to protect the information stored on computers and clouds. The information that is protected by various California computer laws includes financial records, business information, photos, journals, etc.

In California, anyone who does something that negatively impacts how a computer/computer system functions, hacks into data that’s stored on a computer or in a cloud system or violates the anticipated privacy of a computer/computer system can be charged with breaking one or more of California’s computer crimes.

The most common computer crimes in California are:

  • Hacking
  • Identity theft
  • Phishing
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Tax fraud
  • Drug trafficking
  • Sensitive data theft
  • Electronic harassment
  • Blackmail/extortion
  • Child pornography

Who Deals with Computer Crimes in California

The issue of who deals with computer crimes in California depends on what type of computer crime you’ve committed. If you’ve only violated state laws, California’s District Attorney’s office will be handling the case. If you’ve violated a federal computer crime, the United States Attorney General’s office will be involved. It’s also possible that you may have violated local computer crimes as well.

It’s not unusual for someone to be charged with both state and federal computer crimes in California.

What are the Possible Repercussions of Computer Crimes in California?

The exact sentencing you could face if convicted of computer crimes in California depends on the charges you’re facing, your criminal history, how many victims you have, and if you’ve been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.

The general rule of thumb is that for most misdemeanor computer crimes, the maximum sentence is usually 1 year in jail and a fine. The maximum sentence for a felony computer crime is typically 10 years and a fine. It’s not unheard of for additional things, such as educational programs, probation, and restitution to be attached to the final sentence.

The sentence will be more severe if you’re convicted of additional crimes that were committed in conjunction with the computer crimes.

Defending yourself against a computer crimes charge in California is very difficult. You need an experienced lawyer on your side. Planning your defense will be considerably easier if you’re out on bail.