Minnesota Computer Crimes Laws

Plenty of crimes can be committed or aided by the use of a computer, including identity theft and child pornography. But the term "computer crime" typically refers to unauthorized computer access, destruction or manipulation of computer data, and other offenses specific to computers or computer networks. For example, intentionally hacking into a department store's database in order to access customer data would be a violation of Minnesota computer crime law (as well as federal law, if it involves interstate commerce).

In Minnesota, as in other states, computer crimes may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the offense. For instance, a computer crime that creates a risk to another individual's life would be charged as a felony. The range of sentences is less than 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine all the way up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Specific Offenses Under Minnesota Computer Crime Statute

Minnesota law identifies the following specific types of computer crimes:

  • Computer Damage: Intentional damage or destruction of a computer, system, software, or network
  • Computer Theft: Intentional access of a computer or network in order to obtain goods or services; or the theft of a computer, data, software, or network
  • Unauthorized Computer Access: Intentional and unauthorized penetration of a computer or network security system (unsuccessful attempts are considered offenses as well)

Learn more about Minnesota computer crime laws in the following chart.

Code Section 609.87, et seq.
Mental State Required for Prosecution Intentionally
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes

Misdemeanor: commission of unauthorized computer access

Gross Misdemeanors: commission in a manner that creates risk to public health/safety, commission in a manner that compromises the security of data, conviction of second or subsequent misdemeanors within 5 years

Felony Computer Crimes Commission of unauthorized computer access in a manner that creates a grave risk of causing death of a person, conviction of second or subsequent gross misdemeanor
Attempt Considered a Crime? Yes
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? No

Note: State laws are constantly changing. Although we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may also want to contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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