Computer Crimes

Computer Crimes


Computer crimes, also called cybercrime or Internet offenses, are any type that use a computer, mobile device, the Internet, or other digital or electronic means to commit a crime. Because technology evolves and changes so fast, lawmakers at all levels can’t keep up with the advent of these crimes. Furthermore, many are committed across both state and international borders, making tracking even more difficult.

The defense team at Farkas & Crowley is ready to help you with your case and protect your rights if you are charged with a computer crime. These crimes are prosecuted by state and federal agencies that have nearly unlimited resources and are aggressive in their pursuit of suspects. Without your own legal counsel, you will not be able to fight them on your own.

Types of Computer Crimes

Computer crimes encompass a wide range of offenses from cyberstalking to theft and fraud. Denial of service attacks, network intrusions, viruses, and other hacking activity can interfere with businesses, essential services such as 911 and other civil defense, and the military.

Three basic types of computer crimes include most types of digital and online fraud and wrongdoing:

• Crimes against individuals: cyberstalking and harassment, online slander and libel, identity theft, spoofing, phishing (sending cloned emails to look legitimate and steal someone’s financial information), money laundering, credit card and other financial frauds, extortion, human trafficking, and child pornography.

• Property crimes: attacking networks, servers, and individual devices with viruses, malware, hacking, Denial of Service (DOS) attacks, vandalism, IPR violations, and copyright infringement.

• Against government entities: considered an attack on a nation’s sovereignty, and include hacking, pirated software, cyber terrorism and warfare, data breaches, and retrieving confidential information.

Any digital fraud can land you in serious trouble. The defense attorneys of Farkas & Crowley have experience in both state and federal cases and can help defend you against these and other charges.

Florida Computer Crimes

Cybercrimes committed inside the state of Florida are generally prosecuted at the state level under Chapter 815 of the Florida Statutes. Florida considers all forms of computer-related crime to be felonies.

Intellectual Property Crimes

Crimes against intellectual property are third-degree felonies, punishable by:

• Up to 5 years in prison

• A fine of up to $5,000

These crimes can be elevated to second-degree felonies if they involve a plan to defraud individuals or businesses. In such cases, the penalties increase to:

• Up to 15 years in prison

• A fine of up to $10,000


Crimes Against Users

Third-Degree Felony

By default, crimes against users are third-degree felonies with the same penalties as intellectual property crimes:

• Up to 5 years in prison

• A fine of up to $5,000

Second-Degree Felony

The charge becomes a second-degree felony if any of the following conditions are met:

• Damages exceed $5,000

• There is intent to defraud

• The crime interrupts government communications, utilities, or other public services

• The accessed network is for public or private transit

First-Degree Felony

A cybercrime is elevated to a first-degree felony if:

• It interferes with a network or system used for medical care

• Otherwise endangers human life

Penalties for first-degree felonies include:

• Up to 30 years in prison

• Fines of up to $10,000

Because the statute is so broad, it’s not uncommon for someone to face multiple charges.

Federal Cybercrime

Cybercrime frequently originates outside of Florida or even overseas. When a computer-related crime crosses state lines, it becomes federal and is usually charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (“CFAA”).

Federal agencies like the FBI have specific divisions dedicated to cybercrime and frequently work in concert with other agencies like Homeland Security, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Secret Service, and others on investigations. The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, established in 2008, is a group of more than 30 agencies working to collaborate internally as well as with private sector, state, and international entities to investigate and prosecute cybercriminals.

Much will depend on the circumstances in a specific case, including a person’s criminal history, if any, the offense involved, and other factors. First-time offenders can expect as much as 10 years in prison for a conviction. Sentencing guidelines for federal cybercrime convictions can include as much as 20 years in prison, or life in prison if it led to the death of another person.

The sooner you contact Farkas & Crowley to discuss your case, the sooner we can begin building your defense.

Defenses Against Computer Crimes

Even with federal charges, you have several defenses against cybercrimes. When we discuss your case, we can discuss those options with you, such as:

The reliability of evidence. Digital evidence is vital to these cases. Any inconsistency in the handling of evidence, including collection, storage, preservation, or transfer, can be brought into question, and the evidence is possibly ruled inadmissible.

Mistaken identity. Did someone ask to use your device (laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone) to “check their email?” It’s possible that email wasn’t all they checked, and you are left to defend yourself against a computer crime.

• Lack of intent. If you had no intent or plans to commit a cybercrime, we can include this in your defense.

• Permission. If you had permission to access a computer network or system or were authorized to access and use someone’s financial information, we will include this in your defense as well.

Unlawful search and seizure. Cybercrime investigation requires an examination of your devices. Did law enforcement search without probable cause or a warrant? If so, any evidence collected may not be admissible in court and tossed out by a judge because it violates your Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.

• Duress. You were coerced into committing the crime by threat of harm to yourself or a loved one.

Entrapment. You only engaged in cybercrime because a government agent convinced you to.

Circumstantial evidence. Unless the evidence can be verified and positively identified, it may not hold up in court.

One or more of these defenses may be sufficient to defend you against cybercrime charges. The government’s prosecutors must be able to prove the elements behind each charge beyond a reasonable doubt to reach a conviction. Our computer crimes defense attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case as well as the prosecution’s evidence to create a strong defense against the charges.

We strongly encourage you to speak with one of our cybercrime defense attorneys before speaking with law enforcement or handing over your personal devices to them.

If you’ve been asked to turn over any of your devices or digital evidence such as track logs, you are already under investigation. If the investigation is in your place of work, the evidence may have been examined while you were unavailable. Inform the investigator that you would like to cooperate with them after you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney. Then contact our office immediately.

Whether state or federal, computer crimes can lead to stiff penalties and long jail times. If you are under investigation or have been charged with any type of computer crime, you need a strong and aggressive defense from someone who understands both state and federal charges. Contact Farkas & Crowley’s federal criminal defense attorneys immediately to begin building your defense.


If you have been arrested for a federal offense like cybercriminal activity, contact the criminal defense attorney team at Farkas & Crowley today. We offer aggressive representation, and we will not rest until we get a favorable outcome for your case.

Our federal criminal attorneys in Florida have experience with both state and federal court systems, and we are here to help you. Call us now for a free consultation at 561-444-9529, or use our online form.

Anonymous hacker committing a computer crime

Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers