Rhode Island Computer Crimes Laws

Computers have entered virtually all areas of daily life, even aiding in the commission of crimes. State laws identify various computer crimes that involve the unauthorized access of a computer or network, theft of goods or data using a computer or network, or the unauthorized destruction of a computer or network.

For example, someone who breaks into a department store's database and steals credit card numbers has committed a computer crime, even if the perpetrator doesn't use those numbers to fraudulently purchase goods. But when computer crimes do involve the theft of large sums of money or goods, they typically veer into felony territory. While identity theft is often committed with the help of a computer, it is not considered a computer crime.

Overview of Rhode Island Computer Crime Laws

In order to be charged with a computer crime in Rhode Island, the act must be done "purposely, intentionally, and knowingly," which is typical in most states. Computer crimes are charged as felonies if done to commit fraud, cause damage, steal $500 worth of goods, or tamper with computer source documents. The state also permits computer crime victims to file civil lawsuits.

See the following chart for more details about the Rhode Island computer crime statute. See FindLaw's Cyber Crimes section for related articles and resources.

Code Section 11-52-1, et seq.
Prohibited Acts
  • Access to computer for fraudulent purposes
  • Intentional access, alteration, damage, or destruction
  • Computer theft
  • Computer trespass
  • Cyberstalking / Cyberharassment
  • Use of false information
  • Online impersonation
  • Tampering with computer source documents
Mental State Required for Prosecution Purposefully, intentionally; knowingly
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes Theft of data or services valued under $500; cyberstalking
Felony Computer Crimes Access of computer for fraudulent purposes; intentional access, alteration, damage, or destruction; computer theft with a value over $500; use if false information and tampering with computer source documents
Attempt Considered a Crime? No
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? Yes

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through the enactment of new legislation, higher court decisions, and other means. You may want to contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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