Criminal Defense Lawyer in Miami Defending the Rights of People Accused of Computer Crimes
It is difficult to remember a time when computers were not involved in every aspect of daily life. These days, business, education, personal relationships, and even shopping are all conducted online. Most Floridians carry a mobile device with them at all times and are rarely (if ever) without internet access. For all the conveniences of computer technologies, they have also created vast opportunities for internet crimes. State and federal legislators have recognized these relatively new crimes. Updated penal codes, statutes, and case law recognize the severe punishments facing those who are convicted of computer crimes.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for computer crimes, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney. The skilled computer crime lawyer of Stroleny Law, P.A. has extensive experience defending charges in state and federal courts across Florida. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation.
What Are Computer-Related Crimes?
As internet use proliferated throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the opportunity for internet and cybercrimes also expanded. The Florida Legislature responded to these crimes with the Florida Computer Crimes Act, which is found in Section 815 of the Florida Statutes. The Act creates separate crimes for offenses against intellectual property, trade secret information, offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices, and offenses against public utilities.
But what do these legal terms actually look like? What acts can result in a person being charged with a computer crime? Computer crimes encompass a wide variety of behavior. Some of the most serious charges involve child pornography. A defendant can be charged with a separate felony for each image or download, and this results in sentences that may be hundreds of years in length. Similarly, a scheme to commit wire fraud or steal credit card numbers online can also be charged per incident. For widespread, long-lasting white collar crimes, this can result in hundreds of charges representing years of white-collar crime.
Computer crimes can also result in charges being filed in federal court. One of the most famous recent examples of this is the case of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle. Fogle was investigated by federal authorities in connection with child pornography and sexual misconduct that crossed state lines. After evidence was secured (including a police dog who sniffed out a USB thumb drive containing critical evidence at Fogle’s home), Fogle was charged in federal court. He quickly pled guilty in order to secure a relatively short prison sentence of fifteen years and eight months. In a case like this, it is important for a defendant to be represented by a criminal defense attorney who understands both the underlying charges and the nuances of federal court.
A New Computer Crime: Cyberbullying
In recent years, cyberbullying has become a hot button issue across America. States have begun to enact laws specifically targeting online harassment in response to a startling number of suicides. Florida has enacted the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up For All Students Act (codified within the Education Code at Section 1006.147 of the Florida Statutes). This Act prohibits cyberbullying of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution within the State. It also requires schools to adopt and review policies to prevent cyberbullying.
The Jeffrey Johnston Act is encompassed within the Education Code and does not specifically cite criminal penalties for cyberbullying. This has not, however, stopped prosecutors from bringing criminal charges against students – especially when cyberbullying results in the suicide of the victim. It is therefore important to take all cyberbullying charges seriously. Even in the juvenile court, a conviction for cyberbullying can have lifelong consequences.
Cyberbullying is not, of course, limited to juvenile defendants. The internet has become a popular place to engage in “trolling” behaviors such as insults, threats, and other hostility. Even when this behavior does not result in criminal charges, there are nonetheless consequences for these acts. Jobs are lost, professional reputations compromised, community standing can be challenged, and other aspects of life are impacted by such acts. And when criminal charges are brought, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal attorney who can successfully defend charges of cyberbullying.
The Permanent Consequences of a Computer Crime Conviction
All convictions carry certain collateral consequences for the defendant. A felony conviction, for example, will deprive the defendant of his or her right to vote and right to possess firearms. Any domestic violence conviction (misdemeanor or felony) will permanently deprive the defendant of the right to possess firearms, with no right of appeal, under the provisions of the Brady Act. And a criminal conviction often impairs a defendant’s access to housing, education, employment, and financial opportunities.
But computer crimes carry yet another serious consequence. A judge can order a defendant not to use computers or have any internet access as part of a sentencing order or plea agreement. For serious crimes (such as possession of child pornography), this can be a lifelong ban that is closely monitored by the Department of Corrections. This is a problem far more serious than a lack of access to social media and other entertainment. It can prohibit the defendant from searching and applying for jobs or finding critical information about complying with his or her probation conditions.
Defend Computer Crime Charges with an Experienced Miami Lawyer
A computer crime conviction can affect a defendant’s life for years to come. Education, housing, and employment opportunities can all be limited as the result of a felony conviction. At Stroleny Law, P.A., our experienced computer crimes attorney has wide-ranging experience protecting the legal rights of defendants. The federal Constitution, state Constitution, and Florida statutes all provide rights to criminal defendants. It is important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney representing you to protect these rights. With legal guidance, it is possible to mitigate the lifelong consequences of a criminal conviction. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. The longer you wait to seek legal advice, the more likely it is that your legal rights could become impaired. You can also contact us online.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.