Illinois Computer Crimes Laws

Since technology changes so rapidly, new legislation with respect to computer crimes often lags behind. But most states have at least addressed the issue, whether it's using encryption to commit a crime, introducing a computer virus, or some other cyber crime.

Illinois computer crime laws differentiate between misdemeanor computer crimes (sending spam, for instance) and felony computer crimes (such as financial fraud). Let's explore these in a little more detail.

Illinois Computer Crime Prevention Law

One way the state battles computer crimes is through the Illinois "Computer Crime Prevention Law" (ICCPL), which makes unauthorized computer use a criminal offense. The law is broken down into three (3) major categories.

  1. Computer Tampering: This includes gaining access to a computer, a program, or data, without permission from the owner and creating or distributing computer viruses.
  2. Aggravated Computer Tampering: This crime pertains to the government specifically. You can be in violation of the law if you tamper with a computer and you have the intended effect of: (a) disruption of or interference with vital services or operations of State or local government or a public utility, or (b) creating a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to other individuals.
  3. Computer Fraud: This crime pertains specifically to using a computer for fraudulent activities.

The key provisions of Illinois computer crime laws are listed in the table below.

See Details on State Computer Crime Laws for a general overview.

Code Section 720 1LCS 5/16D-1, 720 1LCS 5/17-50 et seq
Mental State Required for Prosecution Knowingly
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes Access or cause to be accessed, falsified email information or other routing information in transmission of unsolicited bulk email through email service provider or its subscribers or gives software enabling this, class B misdemeanor; access and obtain data or services, class A misdemeanor for 1st offense
Felony Computer Crimes Class 4 felony: access with purpose to scheme, defraud or deceive; damages computer or alter, delete, or destroy program or data in connection with scheme, defraud or deceive; if offender accesses computer and obtains money or control of money in connection with his/her scheme, defraud or deception; class 3 felony if any of the above are 2nd or subsequent offense; class 4 felony: if value of money, property, or services is $1,000 or less or if 2nd or subsequent offense obtaining data or services; class 3 felony: if value between $1,000 and $50,000; class 2 felony: if value $50,000 or more
Attempt Considered a Crime? Yes
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? Yes

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Computer Crimes Laws: Related Resources

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Whether you are charged with defrauding another person via your computer, smartphone, or tablet, computer crimes can carry serious penalties in Illinois. While this type of prosecution requires extensive evidence and a level of sophistication, so does any defense you may wish to mount. To discuss your options, speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today free of charge for the initial review.

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