North Carolina Computer Crimes Laws

Most state laws identify and prohibit a number of offenses collectively called "computer crimes." These crimes include hacking into a secure network or damaging a computer system. North Carolina computer crime laws may be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the specific offense.

The table below highlights North Carolina's computer crime laws. See FindLaw's Cyber Crimes section and the links at the end of this article to learn more.

Code Section

North Carolina General Statutes sections 14-453 through 14-459 outline the state’s computer-related crimes.

Mental State Required for Prosecution

To be prosecuted for a computer crime, a defendant must willfully commit one of the prohibited offenses.

Misdemeanor Computer Crimes

The following crimes are Class 1 misdemeanors:

  • Unlawful access of computers for purposes other than to scheme, defraud, or obtain property;  
  • Altering, damaging, or destroying computer software, programs or data; and
  • Unlawfully accessing educational testing material or academic testing scores or grades that are in a government computer;
  • Denying an authorized user access to a computer, computer network, or computer program.

Felony Computer Crimes

Class G felonies include the following:

  • Unlawful access of computers with the purpose to scheme, defraud, obtain property if the damages or property obtained are more than $1,000; and
  • Damaging a computer, computer system, computer network, or parts thereof (if a person maliciously threatens to commit these actions with the intent to extort money or gain some other advantage, the crime is classified as a Class H felony).

The actions described above are Class F felonies if a government computer is accessed.

It is a Class H felony to deny access to government computer services.

Access Defined Access may be direct or indirect.
Other Prohibited Activity Sections 14-458.1 and 14-458.2 criminalize cyber-bullying and cyber-bullying of an employee by a student. Cyber-bullying is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the defendant is over age eighteen at the time the crime is a committed and a Class 2 misdemeanor if he or she is under the age of eighteen. A student who cyber-bullies a school employee is commits a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Victims of computer crimes should consider contacting local law enforcement for assistance. Individuals charged with a computer crime may want to speak with a North Carolina criminal defense attorney.

Research the Law

North Carolina Computer Crimes Laws: Related Resources

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