Technology is growing rapidly, and most people now have access to the internet. As a result, there are increasing instances of a relatively new type of crime, cybercrime.
Offense against computer users can result in a state or federal charge, and penalties can include prison and fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sometimes the perpetrator may not have even been aware that they were committing a crime.
If you are being accused of committing an offense against computer users, you should seek help from St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers. At The Law Place, we value an honest attorney-client relationship. We will stand by your side and use our 75 years of collective experience to minimize any consequences that you might face.
Many of the criminal defense lawyers at our law firm are AVVO rated 10.0, the highest possible rating, based on years of experience, awards, and reviews from previous clients. We are committed to continuous learning and doing everything possible for our clients. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444.
Types of Computer Offenses in St. Petersburg, FL.
Offenses Against Computer Users in St. Petersburg
The Florida Computer Crimes Act, outlined in Florida Statute 815.06, describes the offenses committed against users of computers, computer networks, and computer systems. The list of potential crimes is long and complicated, but some examples include:
- Unauthorized access to a computer system or computer network.
- Disruption of the ability to transmit data to or from a device.
- Accessing part of someone else’s computer for video or audio surveillance without the victim’s knowledge.
If you are being accused of any of these offenses, this will be classified as a third-degree felony, and the penalties include up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
However, there are also crimes against users of computers that are classified as second-degree felonies, such as:
- Damage to a computer, a computer system, or computer equipment valued at least $5,000.
- Committed a computer offense to defraud or obtain property.
- Interrupted the supply of public services, such as water or gas.
The penalties for a second-degree felony include up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If any of your actions resulted in danger to a person or had implications on medical care, then your charge could be elevated to a first-degree felony, which could result in up to 30 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Offenses Against Intellectual Property in St. Petersburg, FL.
Florida Statue 815.04 outlines the specifics of committing a computer crime against intellectual property and public records exemption. An individual being accused of a computer crime against intellectual property can be charged under this statute if the accused individual willfully, knowingly, and without authorization commits the following:
- Introduces a computer contaminant to or modifies a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device.
- Destroys data, programs, or supporting documentation of a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device.
- Discloses or takes data, programs, or supporting documentation that is defined as a trade secret or is confidential as provided by law from a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device.
A charged of an offense against intellectual property is classed as a third-degree felony. The penalties include facing up to five years in prison and receiving a fine of up to $5,000. However, if the offense was committed for devising or executing any scheme to defraud or to obtain any property, then the crime will be classed as a second-degree felony. The penalties include facing up to fifteen years in prison and receiving a fine of up to $10,000.
Federal Computer Crimes in St. Petersburg, FL.
The federal government prosecutes cyber-crimes in breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Federal offenses often come with hefty penalties, and we always recommended speaking to a criminal defense lawyer.
Title 18 U.S. Code § 1030 details several types of crimes. They include, but are not limited to;
- Computer espionage – Also called cyber spying. Obtaining information that is determined by the United States Government to require protection for reasons of national defense or foreign relations. A first offense could result in up to 10 years in prison and up to 20 years for a second offense. Individuals could be fined up to $250,000 and organizations up to $500,000.
- Obtaining information by unauthorized computer access – Obtaining information without the user’s knowledge. A first-tier violation could result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for organizations. A second-tier violation (committed for financial or commercial gain or to promote a criminal act) is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. A third-tier violation (repeat offenders) could result in up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations.
- Trespassing in government cyberspace – Accessing a government computer. Penalties include up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for organizations. A subsequent violation could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations.
- Computer fraud – Results in up to 5 years in prison, with a fine of $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations, or up to 10 years for a subsequent offense.
- Causing computer damage – Include a range of crimes, and the penalties vary depending on the nature of the accused and their offense. It includes intentional, reckless, or negligent damage to computers, computer networks, and computer systems. Examples include damage to the code of protected computer systems.
- Trafficking in computer access – Includes an action that affects interstate, foreign commerce, or other damage to a computer system owned by the United States Government. For a first offense, you could expect to serve one year in prison and pay a fine as an individual of $100,000, which is doubled for organizations. A second offense could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, which is once again doubled for organizations.
- Extortionate threats – Attempting to obtain a benefit through exertion, such as demanding money in exchange for keeping something secret. A first offense could result in up to five years in prison and up to ten years in prison for a subsequent offense. As well as a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and up to $500,000 for organizations.
How Can Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend You in St. Petersburg, FL?
An offense against computer users is considered extremely serious in the State of Florida. You should immediately seek help from a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the complex laws surrounding this type of crime. Based on your case’s details and their extensive experience in Florida criminal law, they will work out the best avenue for defense. Examples include:
- Authorization – You had the authorization to take the action you did, and therefore you did not commit an unlawful act. For your criminal defense lawyers to use this as a defense, they will need documented evidence to build a strong case.
- Lack of knowledge – You were unaware that the action you were taking constituted a cybercrime. Lacking awareness can be difficult to prove, which is why it is important to have a skilled St. Petersburg lawyer on your side ready to defend you.
- Plea deal – Your lawyer may help you determine whether your best course of action is a plea deal, you may receive lower penalties in exchange for a plea.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Law Place Today
The law surrounding offenses against computer users is vast and complex, including both federal and state law. If you are facing accusations, you are probably at a complete loss of what to do next.
You should contact a team of criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible so that they can help you to work out the details of your specific case and begin developing a good defense strategy. The sooner, the better, as they will be better able to collect evidence and have more time to work out how best to help you.
At The Law Place, our criminal defense lawyers have over 75 years of combined experience. We will review your case as a team, so you will benefit from all our knowledge and experience. We are confident that we are prepared to minimize the consequences you could face, or hopefully, have your charges dropped entirely.
Although we work as a team, the criminal defense attorney most skilled in dealing with your case will become your advocate and take responsibility for fighting your case.
The Law Place respects and values an honest attorney-client relationship, we are obliged to secrecy. Therefore, you can tell us all the details of your case, so that we can best support you. If you are facing state or federal charges, you need an attorney who has experience in criminal law and is committed to your best interests.
Contact us today for a free consultation on (941) 444-4444.