When fraud and other financial crimes involve technology, the person who has committed these actions may face additional charges. In Florida, hacking also falls under the category of computer crime. 

Read on to learn more about how Florida prosecutes computer-related criminal offenses. 

Intellectual property crimes 

This category includes instances when an individual knowingly and purposefully damages or intercepts a third party’s intellectual property by: 

  • Stealing programs, electronic documents or data containing trade secrets or other confidential information and/or disclosing this type of information 
  • Destroying electronic documents, programs or data on a third-party computer network, system, device or drive 
  • Contaminating or damaging another party’s computer, device, network, programs or electronic data 

Florida charges these crimes as third-degree felony offenses. IP offenses become second-degree felonies when the person committed fraud to access devices or networks. 

Offenses against computer users 

This category of Florida computer crimes includes: 

  • Unauthorized access or damage to third-party computer networks, systems or devices 
  • Unauthorized electronic audio or video surveillance or data access  
  • Interception or disruption of data transmission between computers, networks or devices 
  • Contaminating a network, system or device 
  • Destroying electronic equipment, devices or computers 
  • Stealing electronic equipment, devices or computers 

These offenses carry similar penalties to IP crimes. A second-degree felony charge results when the financial damages exceed $5,000, when fraud has occurred or when the crime affects a private or public transit organization, public utility, communication company or government agency. When the crime endangered a person’s life or disrupted the provision of medical equipment or care, the perpetrator could receive a first-degree felony charge. 

Third-degree felony criminal charges carry fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in state prison in Florida. Second-degree computer crime felonies could result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison, while first-degree felonies carry $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in state prison. 

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