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Juvenile Offenses in the Digital Age: Cybercrimes and Legal Responses

Juvenile Offenses in the Digital Age: Cybercrimes and Legal Responses

Technology has made it faster and easier for juveniles to commit crimes that can get them into serious trouble. Many juveniles grew up with technology and quickly learned to use new software and apps. Their ease with technology means they can break the law with a few clicks. 

Teenage Cybercrimes

In 2021, a Florida teenager named Graham Ivan Clark stole over $117,000 by hacking the Twitter accounts of several public figures and blasting messages about cryptocurrency. 

Another teenager running a cybercrime ring stole identities and purchased over $350,000 in merchandise. He and the five others arrested face charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, with a potential 135 years in prison. 

In another Florida case, a teenage homecoming queen and her mother faced multiple charges of computer hacking and unauthorized access to manipulate votes for the homecoming queen contest. 

Frequent Juvenile Cybercrimes 

Cybercrimes can be either state or federal crimes, such as: 

  • Identity theft: illegally obtaining and deceptively using another person’s identity and personal data 
  • Hacking: Accessing a computer, network, or system without authorization
  • Distributing malware to damage or disrupt a computer or network 
  • Cyberstalking/Cyberbullying: using any digital platform to harass someone 
  • Sexting and Revenge Porn: posting or transferring explicit videos and pictures to others can lead to charges of child pornography, even as juveniles
  • Deepfake Pictures and Videos: using AI and other tools to create images and videos depicting someone engaged in sexual activities or saying things they wouldn’t normally do, such as racist comments.
  • Illegal downloading: downloading copyrighted materials may be a federal offense. 

Florida Computer Crimes Act 

Florida’s Computer Crimes Act separates crimes into two categories: crimes against intellectual property and against individual users. The common elements of this law are: 

  • Illegitimate entry into a computer system, network, or electronic device.
  • Causing harm, disturbance, or destruction to computers, networks, electronic devices, or related resources designated for computer use.
  • Interference with data transmission from a computer, network, or electronic device.
  • Inserting malware or viruses into a computer, network, or electronic device.
  • Conducting audio or video surveillance by accessing an essential function of a computer, network, system, or electronic device without authorization.


Florida considers all cybercrimes to be felonies. 

Crimes against intellectual property are third-degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, if the crime was part of a plan to defraud people or businesses, it becomes second-degree, punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  

Crimes against users are also third-degree, with the same penalties. However, that charge becomes second-degree if: 

  • The damages exceed $5,000
  • It includes intent to defraud 
  • The crime interrupts government communications, utilities (water, gas, etc.) or other public services
  • The network accessed is for public or private transit

A cybercrime is elevated to a first-degree felony if it interferes with a network or system used for medical care or otherwise endangers human life. A convicted person faces fines of $10,000 and 30 years in prison.

West Palm Beach Juvenile Cybercrime Attorneys 

Our criminal defense attorneys understand the juvenile courts and can help you navigate the system to defend your child and fight for dismissal. 

We believe that you should consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime you are asked to speak to the police. If your child has been arrested or accused of a cybercrime, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers