New Jersey Computer Crimes

New Jersey Computer Crimes

New Jersey has their own State laws which criminalize computer related fraud in the State Courts. The specific statutes can be found with the New Jersey Criminal Code (2c) with the 20th chapter titled Theft and related offenses. New Jersey computer crimes can be a second degree which is punishable with up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.

These New Jersey criminal crimes are separate from the Federal Computer Crime statute.

New Jersey Computer Crimes Statute

2C:20-25. Computer-related theft

A person is guilty of computer criminal activity if the person purposely or knowingly and without authorization, or in excess of authorization:

a. Accesses any data, data base, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software , computer equipment , computer, computer system or computer network;

b. Alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer system or computer network, or denies, disrupts or impairs computer services, including access to any part of the Internet, that are available to any other user of the computer services;

c. Accesses or attempts to access any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud, or to obtain services, property, personal identifying information, or money, from the owner of a computer or any third party;

d. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2003, c.39).

e. Obtains, takes, copies or uses any data, data base, computer program, computer software, personal identifying information, or other information stored in a computer, computer network, computer system, computer equipment or computer storage medium; or

f. Accesses and recklessly alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network.

g. A violation of subsection a. of this section is a crime of the third degree. A violation of subsection b. is a crime of the second degree. A violation of subsection c. is a crime of the third degree, except that it is a crime of the second degree if the value of the services, property, personal identifying information, or money obtained or sought to be obtained exceeds $ 5,000. A violation of subsection e. is a crime of the third degree, except that it is a crime of the second degree if the data, data base, computer program, computer software, or information:

(1) is or contains personal identifying information, medical diagnoses, treatments or other medical information concerning an identifiable person;

(2) is or contains governmental records or other information that is protected from disclosure by law, court order or rule of court; or

(3) has a value exceeding $5,000.

A violation of subsection f. is a crime of the fourth degree, except that it is a crime of the third degree if the value of the damage exceeds $5,000.

A violation of any subsection of this section is a crime of the first degree if the offense results in:

(1) a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power, or other public service. The term “substantial interruption or impairment” shall mean such interruption or impairment that:

(a) affects 10 or more structures or habitations;

(b) lasts for two or more hours; or

(c) creates a risk of death or significant bodily injury to any person;

(2) damages or loss in excess of $250,000; or

(3) significant bodily injury to any person.

Every sentence of imprisonment for a crime of the first degree committed in violation of this section shall include a minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, during which term the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

h. Every sentence imposed upon a conviction pursuant to this section shall, if the victim is a government agency, include a period of imprisonment. The period of imprisonment shall include a minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, during which term the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. The victim shall be deemed to be a government agency if a computer, computer network, computer storage medium, computer system, computer equipment, computer program, computer software, computer data or data base that is a subject of the crime is owned, operated or maintained by or on behalf of a governmental agency or unit of State or local government or a public authority. The defendant shall be strictly liable under this subsection and it shall not be a defense that the defendant did not know or intend that the victim was a government agency, or that the defendant intended that there be other victims of the crime.

A violation of any subsection of this section shall be a distinct offense from a violation of any other subsection of this section, and a conviction for a violation of any subsection of this section shall not merge with a conviction for a violation of any other subsection of this section or section 10 of P.L.1984, c. 184 (C.2C:20-31), or for conspiring or attempting to violate any subsection of this section or section 10 of P.L.1984, c. 184 (C.2C:20-31), and a separate sentence shall be imposed for each such conviction.

When a violation of any subsection of this section involves an offense committed against a person under 18 years of age, the violation shall constitute an aggravating circumstance to be considered by the court when determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed.

CREDIT(S)

L.1984, c. 184, § 4, eff. March 14, 1985. Amended by L.2003, c. 39, § 3, eff. April 14, 2003.

Jurisdiction of Computer Related Crimes

2C:20-34. Situs of offense

For the purpose of prosecution under this act, and in addition to determining the situs of the offense pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-3, the situs of an offense of computer criminal activity shall also be the location of the computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network which is accessed, or where the computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system, computer network or other device used in the offense is situated, or where the actual damage occurs.

CREDIT(S)

L.1984, c. 184, § 13, eff. March 14, 1985. Amended by L.2003, c. 39, § 6, eff. April 14, 2003.

New Jersey Computer Fraud Definitions

2C:20-23. Definitions

As used in this act:

a. “Access” means to instruct, communicate with, store data in, retrieve data from, or otherwise make use of any resources of a computer, computer storage medium, computer system, or computer network.

b. “Computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical or other high speed data processing device or another similar device capable of executing a computer program, including arithmetic, logic, memory, data storage or input-output operations and includes all computer equipment connected to such a device, computer system or computer network, but shall not include an automated typewriter or typesetter or a portable, hand-held calculator.

c. “Computer equipment” means any equipment or devices, including all input, output, processing, storage, software, or communications facilities, intended to interface with the computer.

d. “Computer network” means the interconnection of communication lines, including microwave or other means of electronic communications, with a computer through remote terminals, or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers, and shall include the Internet.

e. “Computer program” means a series of instructions or statements executable on a computer, which directs the computer system in a manner to produce a desired result.

f. “Computer software” means a set of computer programs, data, procedures, and associated documentation concerned with the operation of a computer system.

g. “Computer system” means a set of interconnected computer equipment intended to operate as a cohesive system.

h. “Data” means information, facts, concepts, or instructions contained in a computer, computer storage medium, computer system, or computer network. It shall also include, but not be limited to, any alphanumeric, hexadecimal, octal or binary code.

i. “Data base” means a collection of data.

j. “Financial instrument” includes but is not limited to a check, draft, warrant, money order, note, certificate of deposit, letter of credit, bill of exchange, credit or debit card, transaction authorization mechanism, marketable security and any computer representation of these items.

k. “Services” includes but is not limited to the use of a computer system, computer network, computer programs, data prepared for computer use and data contained within a computer system or computer network.

l. “Personal identifying information” shall have the meaning set forth in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:21-17, and shall also include passwords and other codes that permit access to any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network, where access is intended to be secure, restricted or limited.

m. “Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and non-federal interoperable packet switched data networks.

n. “Alter,” “damage” or “ destroy” shall include, but not be limited to, any change or impairment to the integrity or availability of any data or other information, data base, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer, computer storage medium, computer system, or computer network by any means including introduction of a computer contaminant.

o. “User of computer services” shall include, but not be limited to, any person, business, computer, computer network, computer system, computer equipment or any other device which makes use of any resources of a computer, computer network, computer system, computer storage medium, computer equipment, data or data base.

p. “Computer contaminant” means any set of computer instructions that are designed to alter, damage, destroy, record or transmit information within a computer, computer system or computer network without the authorization of the owner of the information. They include, but are not limited to, a group of computer instructions commonly called viruses or worms, that are self-replicating or self-propagating and are designed to contaminate other computer programs or computer data, consume computer resources, alter, damage, destroy, record or transmit data or in some other fashion usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer program, computer operations, computer services or computer network.

q. “Authorization” means permission, authority or consent given by a person who possesses lawful authority to grant such permission, authority or consent to another person to access, operate, use, obtain, take, copy, alter, damage or destroy a computer, computer network, computer system, computer equipment, computer software, computer program, computer storage medium, or data. An actor has authorization if a reasonable person would believe that the act was authorized.

CREDIT(S)

L.1984, c. 184, § 2, eff. March 14, 1985. Amended by L.2003, c. 39, § 1, eff. April 14, 2003.

Value of Property of Services lost from Computer Crimes

2C:20-24. Value of property or services

For the purposes of this act, the value of any property or services, including the use of computer time, shall be their fair market value, if it is determined that a willing buyer and willing seller exist. Value shall include the cost of repair or remediation of any damage caused by an unlawful act and the gross revenue from any lost business opportunity caused by the unlawful act. The value of any lost business opportunity may be determined by comparison to gross revenue generated before the unlawful act that resulted in the lost business opportunity. Value shall include, but not be limited to, the cost of generating or obtaining data and storing it within a computer or computer system.

CREDIT(S)

L.1984, c. 184, § 3, eff. March 14, 1985. Amended by L.2003, c. 39, § 2, eff. April 14, 2003.

Types of Fraud Crimes in New Jersey

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