Computer Hacking

Are you or someone you care about charged with a computer hacking offense?

Computer hacking is a serious offense and can be misdemeanor or a felony under both State and Federal law.  Computer hacking is when one seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network with goals such as profit, protest, challenge, enjoyment, or terrorism.

Under Federal law, computer hacking offenses are prosecuted under the “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” (“CFAA”). It is a Federal crime for one to having knowingly accessed a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct, having obtained information that has been determined by the United States Government to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation willfully communicates, delivers, transmits, or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access for information contained in a financial record of a financial institution, information from any department or agency of the United States, or information from any protected computer; intentionally, without authorization to access any nonpublic computer of a department or agency of the United States, accesses such a computer of that department or agency that is exclusively for the use of the Government of the United States or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, is used by or for the Government of the United States and such conduct affects that use by or for the Government of the United States; knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period; or knowingly and with intent to defraud traffics any password or similar information through which a computer may be accessed without authorization. Conviction of this offense is a misdemeanor or a felony and is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment of one day up to no more than 20 years depending on prior convictions and the nature of the offense committed under the CFAA.

Under Florida state law, computer hacking is when a person commits an offense against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, or electronic devices if he or she willfully, knowingly, and without authorization: Accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device with knowledge that such access is unauthorized; destroys, injures, or damages any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device; introduces any computer contaminant into any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device; or engages in audio or video surveillance of an individual by accessing any inherent feature or component of a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device, including accessing the data or information of a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device that is stored by a third party.  Conviction of this offense is a felony of the third degree and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 and a term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.  If one damages a computer, computer equipment or supplies, a computer system, or a computer network and the damage or loss is at least $5,000; commits the offense for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or obtain property; interrupts or impairs a governmental operation or public communication, transportation, or supply of water, gas, or other public service; or intentionally interrupts the transmittal of data to or from, or gains unauthorized access to, a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device belonging to any mode of public or private transit, one commits a felony of the second degree.  Conviction of this offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 15 years.  If one endangers human life; or disrupts a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device that affects medical equipment used in the direct administration of medical care or treatment to a person, one commits a felony of the first degree. Conviction of this offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 years.  If one willfully, knowingly, and without authorization modifies equipment or supplies used or intended to be used in a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device, one commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.  Conviction of this offense is a punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 1 year.

Attorney Petruzzi has been defending those charged with computer crimes from their first existence in the criminal code.  He has represented hundreds of clients charged with, or under investigation for, various computer-related crimes.  If you or someone you know has been charged with a computer crime, it is important for one to hire an experienced attorney.  Attorney Petruzzi’s knowledge and expertise in this field of law is a vital asset to anyone charged with these crimes.

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