Tennessee Computer Crime Laws

Overview of Tennessee Computer Crime Laws

As computers become more and more ubiquitous in our lives, the potential to defraud or commit other crimes with computers increases. Hacking into a computer to access credit card numbers is one example. Tennessee, like most other states, has a statute specifically addressing computer crimes. The Tennessee Personal and Commercial Computer Act of 2003 identifies a number of violations that involve a computer or computer network. Penalties can include prison time, while victims of computer crimes are permitted to file civil lawsuits to recover their losses.

The following table provides a general overview of Tennessee computer crime laws.

Code Section 39-14-601, et seq.; 39-14-105
Mental State Required for Prosecution Knowingly, directly or indirectly
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes Access is class C misdemeanor; introducing virus is class B; hacking into any computer system is class A
Felony Computer Crimes Access for purpose of fraudulently obtaining money, property or services; act of terrorism
Attempt Considered a Crime? Yes
Civil Lawsuit Permitted? Yes

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

Specific Violations Under Tennessee Computer Crime Laws

One commits a computer crime by knowingly accessing (or attempting to access) any computer or network for the purpose of:

  • Obtaining money, property, or services through fraud;
  • Causing computer data to be false in order to obtain money, property, or services through fraud; or
  • Altering or effecting an electronic financial transaction in order to disrupt, alter, misappropriate, or commit fraud.

Also, anyone who intentionally and without authorization does any of the following, they may be charged with a computer crime:

  • Accessing any computer or network, or allowing anonymous access to a secured network;
  • Altering or destroying, or disrupting the operation of any computer or network;
  • Introducing malware or other malicious input;
  • Accessing computer or network to maliciously gain access to or tamper with security devices; or
  • Making unauthorized copies of computer data or software.

How to Report Suspected Computer Crimes in Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's cyber crime unit focuses on online victimization of children; online fraud; malware; hacking; and computer intrusion. To report a suspected cyber crime in Tennessee, the TBI directs visitors to the National White Collar Crime Center.

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Tennessee Computer Crime Laws: Related Resources

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