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When is Spam Illegal?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Almost everyone receives the occasional piece of spam in their email inbox. What many people aren't aware of is that sending these bulk email messages may be considered a computer crime in Illinois.

According to Illinois computer crime law, sending an unsolicited bulk email may be illegal in the state under certain conditions. For example, in many cases the protections but in place by many email and service providers requires the installation of additional computer software in order to send these emails. The law states that installing or attempting to install software that "falsifies or forges electronic mail transmission information or other routing information in any manner in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail through or into the computer network of an electronic mail service provider or its subscribers" is considered computer tampering, and is illegal.

In many cases however, the perpetrator of a computer crime will install these programs on publicly accessible computers, such as those at the library or in an internet cafe. According to the law, if these programs are installed on another person's or business computer without authorization, the act could be considered a Class 4 felony for the first offense, and a Class 3 penalty for each subsequent offense. The Class 4 felony carries penalties of up to three years in prison, while the Class 3 felony may result in up to five years' imprisonment.

With computer crime on the rise in all areas of the country, law enforcement officials are extra vigilant. Unfortunately, no one is perfect, and false allegations or misinterpretations of the evidence can occur. If you or someone you know has been accused of computer tampering or fraud in Illinois, it is a serious matter. Contact a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois immediately for a consultation on your case. We can help ensure you receive fair representation under the law and help mitigate any punishment you may be facing.

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