Laser pointers might seem like a fun toy most of the time, but they can be dangerous if used improperly. For example, people who point laser pointers up in the sky at a plane may be in danger of ending up in federal court.
Improper Laser Pointer Use Is A Federal Crime
While it might seem hard to believe, it is actually a federal crime to point a laser pointer at a plane while it is in flight. If you are caught doing this act, you could be arrested and put on trial for a federal offense that could put you in prison.
This fact is true even if the laser pointer didn't reach the craft or interfere with the pilot at all. This situation is treated very seriously because laser pointers can be a major danger if they were to interfere with the operation of an aircraft.
Why Laser Pointers Can Be Dangerous
While the chance of actually hitting a pilot with a laser pointer is low, it could be dangerous if it did occur. While temporary exposure to a laser isn't going to permanently damage a pilot's sight, it could distract or even temporarily blind them at a critical point during a flight.
This distraction could cause them to make a critical mistake that leads to a plane crashing. That's why this crime is taken so seriously, and why it is a federal crime to behave in such a way. That said, it is possible to defend yourself in this kind of case.
The Case May Be Different Than Expected
Even if you are ready to plead guilty to the crime and receive some kind of probation, it is important to know that federal cases are going to be different than state ones. This is because they have different lawyers, judges, schedules, and laws which are enforced in different ways and which can complicate the procedure.
As a result, you may have a hard time coming up with a good case for defending yourself. Ignorance of a crime is not a possible defense in these types of cases; one of the only ways you could win would be to cast doubt on the fact that you even aimed a laser pointer at a plane in the first place.
Doing this on your own is going to be tough because a federal court is a stricter and more difficult place to operate. As a result, it is smart to get a federal criminal lawyer to help you. They will understand the differences between the state and federal laws and can help you win your case.