LET A CYBERCRIMES DEFENSE LAWYER IN TAMPA FIGHT FOR THE JUSTICE YOUR DESERVE
For several decades, computers have been an integral part of our everyday lives. As computers became virtually universal over the last thirty years, it’s no surprise that computer crimes – “cybercrimes” – also increased substantially. But what, precisely, constitutes a cybercrime?
Wikipedia defines cybercrimes as crimes that are “committed against individuals or groups … to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly” by using computers and/or mobile phones.
Put more simply, if someone uses a computer or a smartphone to commit a crime, it’s a cybercrime. The internet reaches around the globe and makes all types of online criminal activity possible. Federal and state law enforcement agencies deal quite seriously with cybercrimes.
COULD YOU BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF A CYBER CRIME?
But in the 21st century, almost anyone could mistakenly commit – or could be wrongly accused of – a felony or a misdemeanor cybercrime at either the state or federal level.
Someone who uses a computer in Florida, for example, could solicit sex from a minor in California, post revenge porn pictures of someone in Ohio, or steal intellectual property from a company in New York. You could also be wrongly accused – or even framed – for such crimes.
SPECIFICALLY, WHAT CRIMES ARE CYBERCRIMES?
Florida’s cybercrime statutes cover all types of illegal online activity, from fraud and forgery crimes to hacking, identity theft, and posting revenge porn. Other cybercrimes include:
- uploading or downloading child pornography or soliciting a minor
- digital copyright infringement
- credit card and bank fraud
- phishing – deceptively trying to obtain someone’s financial information
- intellectual property theft and other data theft
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A CYBERCRIME?
If you are charged with a cybercrime, your emails, text messages, and social media accounts will be scrutinized. Your computer and phone will be searched. Prosecutors in Florida can be surprisingly aggressive, especially if a cybercrime case involves minors, sex, and the internet.
U.S. attorneys also prosecute cybercrimes aggressively. When online crimes involve people in different states, it usually means that a federal law has been violated, and criminal charges against the suspect or suspects may be filed in a federal court.
If you are accused of a cybercrime, you can’t be represented by an attorney who has little or no computer background or experience. In fact, it will probably be your attorney’s task to educate the court – and if your case goes to trial, the jury – about the technology related to your case.
WHAT PENALTIES ARE IMPOSED FOR A CYBERCRIME CONVICTION?
If you are convicted on a cybercrime charge, you could pay a stiff fine, be ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, or even be sent to jail or prison. It depends on the specifics of the case and the charge.
The consequences of a cybercrime conviction can follow you for years. If you hold a professional license in Florida, that license could be suspended or revoked after a cybercrime conviction. If you’re an immigrant in this state, you could face deportation.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES AGAINST A CYBERCRIME ALLEGATION?
However, if law enforcement officers violated your rights while gathering evidence to build a cybercrime case against you, the right attorney may be able to have the charge against you dismissed.
Sometimes a cybercrime charge is merely the result of a mistake or a misunderstanding, with no criminal intent. Innocent people can sometimes be cajoled or confused into clicking a link they shouldn’t click, and they can end up technically committing a crime without even knowing it.
Entrapment, however, rarely works as a defense in cybercrime cases. Internet sting operations targeting sexual predators must be conducted according to precise rules. Law enforcement agencies know the entrapment rules, and they’re usually careful not to violate those rules.
For the typical Floridian, the best advice is to use simple common sense. Do not discuss sex – or anything that suggests criminal activity – online with anyone that you don’t know in real life. That protects you from online entrapment and from most cybercrime-related criminal charges.
ACCUSED OF A CYBERCRIME IN THE TAMPA BAY AREA?
If you are the person who stands accused of committing a computer crime in the Tampa Bay area, an experienced Tampa cybercrime attorney will be needed to handle your case, protect your rights, and if necessary, defend you against the cybercrime charge at a criminal trial.
Tampa criminal defense attorney Patrick B. Courtney has an extensive legal background and more than 24 years of courtroom experience. He’s a former prosecutor who protects his clients’ rights and fights for defendants who are accused of a cybercrime.
Pat Courtney represents clients in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Learn more by calling his law offices ator by using the online contact form here on this website.