Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle

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 as:

A.R.S. § 13-2316

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. Class 3 felony.
  2. Knowingly alters, damages, deletes or destroys computer programs or data. Class 4 felony.
  3. Knowingly spreads a computer virus into any computer, computer system, or network. Class 4 felony.
  4. Recklessly denies access of a computer system to an authorized individual, or attempts to disrupt the computer system. 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. Class 5 felony.

The conduct must both:

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

II. Serve no legitimate purpose.

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

  2. 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. Class 6 felony.

  3. Knowingly accesses any computer, computer system, network, or any computer software, program, or data that is contained in a computer, computer system, or network. Class 6 felony.

A computer tampering conviction can have a lengthy prison sentence.

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