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Critical Infrastructure Vandalism in Fort Myers


While vandalism is always a serious offense in Fort Myers, the situation becomes markedly worse if the crime involves critical infrastructure. This type of property enjoys heightened levels of protection from the courts and authorities – for obvious reasons. If you have been accused of vandalizing critical infrastructure, you should become aware of the potential consequences.

Why Critical Infrastructure Vandalism Leads to Higher Penalties 

At its most basic level, the crime of vandalism is an offense of criminal mischief in Florida. As long as the damage is less than $200, the defendant will face a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, any type of vandalism that affects critical infrastructure will automatically lead to a felony of the third degree – as long as it costs more than $1,000 in labor to restore. Considering the high cost of employing government employees for just a few hours, this is a very low bar.

Furthermore, anyone who destroys or damages any telephone cables, wires, fixtures, antennae, or similar equipment will also face a felony of the third degree – regardless of the cost required to repair the damage. Florida law states that these charges are only possible, however, if a notice of relevant penalties is posted near the telephone equipment.

Florida law specifically mentions several examples of critical infrastructure aside from telephone equipment, including:

  • Communication facilities
  • Transportation hubs
  • Water supply facilities
  • Gas plants
  • Power plants

Finally, Florida states that “any other public service” may fall under this general category – making the definition of critical infrastructure quite broad. Note that facilities owned by private companies that provide these services to the state may also qualify as critical infrastructure.

To summarize, vandalizing critical infrastructure is one of the few ways to face felony charges for vandalism in Florida – aside from vandalizing churches, memorials, and historical monuments. A felony of the third degree may result in a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Florida is Taking the Protection of Public Infrastructure More Seriously 

After a slew of attacks on public infrastructure, Florida is more likely than ever to take a hard-line approach when it comes to protecting these locations. One of the most notable attacks in recent history involved the hacking of a water treatment plant in 2021. Authorities also fear that “extremists” are now targeting the US power grid across the nation.

This means that even being caught under suspicious circumstances at a power plant or water plant can lead to serious consequences – even if you merely intended to scrawl a graffiti tag on a wall. To avoid more serious legal consequences – including federal terrorism charges – it may be crucial to work alongside a qualified defense attorney.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Defense Attorney in Fort Myers 

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced Fort Myers criminal defense attorney, look no further than Foley & Wilson. With our assistance, you can strive for the best possible outcomes after facing vandalism charges. While vandalizing critical infrastructure comes with heightened penalties, various defense strategies can potentially mitigate consequences. Book your consultation today to discuss the most appropriate defense strategy based on your unique situation.




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