New Jersey Computer Crimes Laws

Most states now recognize computer-related offenses as separate crimes. New Jersey computer crime laws classify illegal access to another's computer or network as a computer crime. New Jersey criminal laws do not distinguish between felonies and misdemeanors, but rather classify crimes by degrees; first-degree being the most severe and fourth-degree being the least.

However, New Jersey law does not allow civil lawsuits for computer crimes.

The following chart lists some of the main provisions of New Jersey's computer crime laws. See Computer Crime to learn more.

Code Section 2C:20-23, et seq. Note: Section does not specifically classify crimes listed as either felony or misdemeanor. Offenses listed in misdemeanor or felony columns are based on the levels of punishments imposed rather than by explicit classification.
Definition of Computer Crime (by Type)

A person is guilty of computer criminal activity if the person purposely or knowingly and without authorization, or in excess of authorization:

  1. Accesses any data, data base, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer, computer system or computer network;
  2. Alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer system or computer network, or denies, disrupts or impairs computer services, including access to any part of the Internet, that are available to any other user of the computer services;
  3. Accesses or attempts to access any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud, or to obtain services, property, personal identifying information, or money, from the owner of a computer or any third party;
  4. Obtains, takes, copies or uses any data, data base, computer program, computer software, personal identifying information, or other information stored in a computer, computer network, computer system, computer equipment or computer storage medium; or
  5. Accesses and recklessly alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network.
Classfication of Crimes / Penalties

(Numbers correspond to preceeding list)

  1. Crime of 3rd Degree - 3-5 yrs. prison
  2. Crime of 2nd Degree - 5-10 yrs. prison
  3. Crime of 3rd Degree (2nd Degree if property loss or damage exceeds $5,000)
  4. Crime of 3rd Degree (2nd Degree if certain aggravating factors are present)
  5. Crime of 4th Degree (unless property loss or damage exceeds $5,000) - up to 18 months in prison
Mental State Required for Prosecution Purposely, knowingly
Attempt Considered a Crime? No
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? No

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey criminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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