Computer Tampering Laws in Arizona


Computer hacking may not seem like a serious crime in comparison to others dangerous acts, but illegally accessing a computer system with the intent to alter, destroy, or damage it can have very real and damaging consequences for both victim and criminal. The punishments for computer crimes in Arizona range from a class 6 felony up to a class 3 felony. Arizona Revised Statute 13-2316 defines computer tampering in the state.

A.R.S. § 13-2316: Computer Tampering Definition in Arizona

A. An individual who acts without permission or goes beyond authorized use commits computer tampering when the individual:

  1. Accesses, alters, damages, or destroys a computer system with the intent to commit or execute any scheme to defraud or take control of property or services by means of false promises or pretenses. This is a class 3 felony.
  2. Knowingly alters, damages, deletes or destroys computer programs or data. This is a class 4 felony.
  3. Knowingly spreads a computer virus into any computer, computer system, or network. This is a class 4 felony.
  4. Recklessly denies access of a computer system to an authorized individual, or attempts to disrupt the computer system. This is a class 4 felony.
  5. Recklessly uses a computer, computer system, or network with the intent to engage in a scheme which torments, threatens, or terrorizes another person. This is a class 5 felony.

The conduct must both:

I.            Cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

II.            Serve no legitimate purpose.

6. Prevents another computer from exiting a website in order to compel the computer to continue communicating with it. Sentencing depends on the circumstances.

7. Knowingly obtains any information that is required by law to be kept confidential or any records that are not public records by accessing any computer, computer system, or network that is operated by this state, a political subdivision of this state, a health care provider, a clinical laboratory, or a person or entity that provides services on behalf of a health care provider or a clinical laboratory. This is class 6 felony.

8. Knowingly accesses any computer, computer system, network, or any computer software, program, or data that is contained in a computer, computer system, or network. This is a class 6 felony.

Computer Tampering Sentences in Arizona

Computer crimes in Arizona depend on the circumstances of the offense, as well as any prior criminal history. These crimes are class 6 to class 3 felonies, unless the crime involved access to a “critical infrastructure resource,” which can be a class 2 felony. In all other cases, the sentences and penalties are as follows:

  • Class 3 Felony: probation and up to 1 year in jail, or 2 – 8.75 years in prison
  • Class 4 Felony: probation and up to 1 year in jail, or 1 – 3.75 years in prison
  • Class 5 Felony: probation and up to 1 year in jail, or 6 months to 2.5 years in prison
  • Class 6 Felony: probation and up to 1 year in jail, or 4 months to 2 years in prison

These are the penalties for first offenses – those who have previous convictions can expect increased penalties.

Let Us Work to Minimize Your Sentence

With lengthy prison sentences being a possibility for a computer crime conviction, it’s critical to have a defense team that knows how to protect you in court. With the right defense and proper protection of your basic rights, you can minimize your sentence and the overall impact it will have on your life. The team at JacksonWhite Law can give you the representation you need to make the most of your case.

At JacksonWhite, we’ll build a defense that gives you the best opportunity of success. Whether it’s claiming that there was a lack of intent during the tampering, or that it done unlawfully under your identity, we’ll make sure your rights are protected during your case.

We work all over the valley, including Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale and Peoria. When you’re ready to get superior counsel for a computer crime charge, call JacksonWhite Law today.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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