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Cybercrime

Florida law broadly defines the term “cybercrime” to include “any fraud committed with the aid of computer programming or internet-related communications such as Web sites, e-mail, or chat rooms. In Florida, cybercrimes are prohibited by Section 815.06, F.S.

Crimes against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices are prohibited under Section 815.06, F.S. Although most cybercrimes are punishable as a third degree felony, then penalties can be enhanced to a second degree or first degree felony depending on the way the crime is committed, the amount of damage caused, and whether anyone is injured.

Attorney for Cybercrimes in Tampa, FL

If you are accused of any type of cyber crime listed in Section 815.06(2), F.S., then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our main offices are located in downtown Tampa, FL. We have a second office in New Port Richey.

Contact us to find out more about the charges pending against you, the penalties that come with a conviction, and the best ways to fight the charges for an outright dismissal.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


Types of Cybercrimes in Florida

Section 815.06(2), F.S., provides that 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:

  1. Accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device with knowledge that such access is unauthorized;
  2. Disrupts or denies or causes the denial of the ability to transmit data to or from an authorized user of a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device, which, in whole or in part, is owned by, under contract to, or operated for, on behalf of, or in conjunction with another;
  3. Destroys, takes, injures, or damages equipment or supplies used or intended to be used in a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device;
  4. Destroys, injures, or damages any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device;
  5. Introduces any computer contaminant into any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device; or
  6. 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 under Section 815.06(2)(a)-(f), F.S.

For cybercrimes  in Florida, Section 815.06(1), F.S., defines the term “user” as a person with the authority to operate or maintain a computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device.


Punishments for Cybercrimes

Most cybercrimes are punishable as a third degree felony under Section 815.06(3)(a), F.S.

Under Section 815.06(3)(b)1.-4., F.S., the penalties can be enhanced to a second degree felony, if the person commits any of the acts described in s. 815.06(2), F.S., and:

  • 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;
  • Interrupts or impairs a governmental operation or public communication, transportation, or supply of water, gas, or public service;
  • Commits the offense for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or obtain property;
  • Damages a computer, computer equipment or supplies, a computer system, or a computer network and the damage or loss is at least $5,000;

A cybercrime is punishable as a first degree felony if the person commits any of the acts described in s. 815.06(2), F.S., and the violation:

  • 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.

Section 815.06(3)(c)1.-2., F.S.


Additional Resources

Cyber Victimization by Hackers: A Criminological Analysis” by Damien Odunze, v. 1, n. 1 (2018), p. 9, Public Policy and Administration Research. (last visited on March 22, 2019).

Cyber Crime Division at FBI Headquarters – Visit the FBI website to find out more about how the Cyber Crime Division at the FBI headquarters investigates intrusions into both government and private computer networks. The specially trained cyber squads are staffed with “agents and analysts who protect against investigate computer intrusions, theft of intellectual property and personal information, child pornography and exploitation, and online fraud.” Find information on ransomware and malware that encrypts valuable digital files before demanding a a ransom to release them.

FDLE on Reporting a Computer Crime – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to report a computer crime or internet fraud to the FDLE Computer Crime Center. Find information on the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which investigates computer crimes that cover multiple jurisdictions or areas outside of the state of Florida.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 22, 2019.

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