West Palm Beach Computer/Internet Crimes Lawyer
As society becomes more dependent on computers and computer networks, it should come as no surprise that computer and Internet crimes are also on the rise. We have all read stories about “cyber attacks” or sophisticated hacker groups demanding ransoms in exchange for unlocking compromised computer systems. But even outside of these headline-grabbing stories, there are many more cases of people who are arrested and charged with a crime simply because the police believed they tried to access a computer network without prior authorization.
If you have been arrested for or under investigation on suspicion of such crimes, the first thing you need to do is seek out competent legal advice. A qualified West Palm Beach computer/internet crimes lawyer can review your situation and advise you on what steps to take next. Do not assume that you will be able to simply “talk your way out of” a potential computer crimes charge.
Florida Punishes Crimes Against Computer Users, Intellectual Property
There are a number of federal and state criminal laws designed to address computer and Internet-based crimes. One of the more common statutes used in this state is the Florida Computer Crimes Act (FCCA). The FCCA actually defines two broad categories of computer crimes: offenses against computer users and offenses against intellectual property.
Offenses against computer users means that a person willfully, knowingly, and without authorization does any of the following:
- accesses a computer system or network without authorization, or exceeds their authorized access to such systems;
- disrupts or causes a denial of service to anyone authorized to use a computer system;
- destroys or damages a computer system or any equipment or supplies intended for use in such a system;
- introduces a virus or malware into any computer system; or
- accesses the features of a computer system to engage in audio or video surveillance of an individual.
Offenses against intellectual property, in contrast, generally refers to accessing a private computer system for the purpose of taking trade secrets or other data that is considered proprietary.
Both types of FCCA offenses are classified as felonies. You can be charged with a third-degree felony for either an offense against computer users or an offense against intellectual property. If certain aggravating factors are present, these charges can be elevated to a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years in Florida.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
Beyond state charges under the FCCA, computer and Internet crimes also frequently draw the interest of federal prosecutors as well. So even if you are simply under suspicion of being a criminal “hacker,” you need to be prepared to mount a strong legal defense. And you should not try and fight such allegations or charges on your own.
A skilled West Palm Beach computer/Internet crimes lawyer can sit down with you and review the government’s potential case. We can identify potential weak points and help you develop an appropriate defense strategy. So if you need to speak with an attorney, contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today.