Computer Tampering Is a Felony in Arizona

laptop on top of a wood desk - computer tampering

Computer Tampering Is a Felony in Arizona

In 2022, an Arizona law enforcement officer was convicted of computer tampering. He had used his credentials to access the records databases of the department and state for personal use. This type of police misconduct was remedied with the resignation of the officer, and computer tampering charges were also filed against him. Computer tampering covers a range of activities from hacking to misuse—and yes, a conviction could send you to prison.


What Is Computer Tampering?

In Arizona, computer tampering is one type of cybercrime. It covers a slew of activities, like deleting important files after being fired from a job, stealing personal information from a private network, or using a computer to commit a hate crime

However, to be charged with computer tampering you would have had to have known you were committing a crime or have had the intent to defraud or steal from the person, or persons. (Accidentally deleting your company’s entire project database will only get you fired, not sent to jail.) 

Common Types of Tampering:

  • Changing, deleting, or damaging a computer, programs, or files that do not belong to you
  • Destroying a network of computers, or their connections to the internet in order to commit a theft
  • Adding a virus to a computer or network 
  • Stopping a person from leaving a website
  • Using a computer, network, or system to threaten, torment, or terrorize another person
  • Stealing personal or confidential information from a computer, system, or network


There Is Prison Time for Computer Tampering in Arizona

No matter what type of computer tampering occurred, the Arizona penal code defines this crime as a felony. All felony convictions carry prison time, fines, and parole. Depending on any previous convictions, related charges, or the age of the person committing the crime, the amount of time in prison can vary drastically. 

Examples of Felony Charges

    • Class 2 Felony: 
      • 3 to 35 years
      • Damaging, deleting, or destroying files that are related to critical infrastructure
  • Class 3 Felony:
      • 2 to 25 years
      • Damaging files, a computer, or a network to steal 
  • Class 4 Felony:
      • 1 to 15 years
      • Adding a virus onto a computer or network
  • Class 5 Felony:
      • 6 months to 7 years)
      • Using a computer system to torment another person
  • Class 6 Felony: 
    • 3 months to 5 years
    • Gaining confidential information from a computer, system, or network 


Contact a Lawyer If You Are Charged

Computer tampering is often brought along with other charges. The most common charges with tampering are white-collar crimes like fraud or identity theft. Consulting an experienced lawyer can ensure that you get the best defense if you are charged with computer tampering.

A good lawyer could be the difference between spending time with your family or spending years behind bars. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience as a criminal attorney. With his extensive knowledge of the Arizona justice system and unwavering commitment to his cases, contacting the Coolidge Law firm for a consultation on your case is a no-brainer.



Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/18/23). Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash.