If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime involving a computer, the option of consulting an experienced Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer is a critical step to guide you through difficult times.

In Virginia, there are several crimes that somewhat coincide with crimes at the common law that you may be familiar with (such as larceny, forgery, and others). The relevant Virginia statutory article, which was added in 1984, is Chapter 5 of Title 18.2.


What Does it Mean to Use a Computer “Without Authority?”

While your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer can best assist you in answering questions you may have, it is helpful to have an initial understanding of some basic concepts associated with computer crimes in the Commonwealth.

One such term is “without authority.” Many of the crimes involving computers that a person can be charged with require that the prosecution proves the accused used a computer (or network) without having obtained proper authority.

“Without authority” is a term that means exactly what it sounds like. Essentially, the accused must know (or reasonably should know) he or she possesses no right or permission to use the computer at issue, or that the accused used the computer/network in a way that exceeds the given permission.

What is the Difference Between Using a Computer Without Authority vs. a Computer Network?

Your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer can assess the facts of your case and provide you with insight and guidance. Use of a computer without authority is just that – as mentioned in the preceding paragraph. However, using a network without authority may be a trickier concept to comprehend for those not technologically savvy. For example, it would be “without authority” to use a personal computer (or authorized work computer) to remotely access another computer, when there is no such authority to do so.

What Crimes Can a Defendant be Charged with Involving Computers?

Again, your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer can explain in detail the facts of your specific case as they pertain to the laws in Virginia. Below is a very brief breakdown of some computer crimes:

  • Theft of Computer Services
    • Code Section: 18.2-152.6
    • Penalty: Class 1 misdemeanor if value of services is less than $2,500; Class 6 felony if $2,500 or more
  • Computer Fraud (obtaining value through use of computer without permission)
    • Code Section: 18.2-152.3
    • Penalty: Class 1 misdemeanor if value less than $200; Class 5 felony if $200 or more.
  • Computer Trespass (causing damage to computer or damage using a computer)
    • Code Section: 18.2-152.A
    • Penalty: Class 1 misdemeanor if property damage is less than $1,000; Class 6 felony if damage to property is $1,000 or more.
  • Invasion of Privacy (examining records of another person by intrusion via computer)
    • Code Section: 18.2-152.5
    • Penalty: varies depending upon violation. Consult your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer for an assessment of your case

There are yet other computer crimes which may be charged by Virginia, not mentioned in this article. Please consult an experienced Virginia Beach Criminal Attorney to have your case analyzed if you have been charged with a computer crime.


1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-152.3 to 152.7.

2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-152.2.