Pointing Laser at an Aircraft, California Penal Code Section 247.5 and Shining a Light at a Helicopter, California Penal Code Section 248
Aircraft safety is a priority and any type of conduct that could jeopardize the safety of an aircraft is taken seriously by the authorities. Such conduct, such as pointing a laser at an aircraft or shining a light at a helicopter, can result in criminal prosecution and substantial penalties, including but not limited to custody time. Pointing a laser at an aircraft, Penal Code section 247.5, whether charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, is a serious accusation that can have wide-ranging direct and collateral consequences. The same goes for shining a light at a helicopter, California Penal Code section 248, a misdemeanor.Elements Constituting Pointing a Laser at an Aircraft, California Penal Code Section 247.5
California Penal Code section 247.5, pointing a laser at an aircraft, is a wobbler, which can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. To be found guilty of pointing a laser at an aircraft, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant willfully and maliciously discharged a laser at an aircraft.
- The aircraft was occupied.
California Penal Code section 247.5 defines a “laser” as “a device that utilizes the natural oscillations of atoms or molecules between energy levels for generating coherent electromagnetic radiation in the ultraviolet, visible, or infrared region of the spectrum, and when discharged exceed one milliwatt continuous wave.”Potential Punishment for Pointing a Laser at an Aircraft, California Penal Code Section 247.5
California Penal Code section 247.5 states in pertinent part that, “Any person who willfully and maliciously discharge a laser at an aircraft, whether in motion or in flight, while occupied, is guilty of a violation of this section, which shall be punishable as either a misdemeanor by means of imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or a felony by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, two years, or three years, or by a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000)….”Elements Constituting Shining a Light at a Helicopter
California Penal Code section 248, shinning a light at a helicopter, is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail. To be found guilty of shining a light at a helicopter, pursuant to California Penal Code section 248, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant interfered with a helicopter.
- The defendant willfully shined a light or another bright device of an intensity capable of impairing the operation of a helicopter.
An allegation of pointing a laser at an aircraft, shining a light at a helicopter, or any type of interference with an aircraft, is serious and could result in serious penalties and other consequences. If you or a family member has been charged with any type of such allegation in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Ventura County, it is imperative that you hire the best attorney that you can. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut knows how to effectively defend clients who have been accused of these types of felony and misdemeanor offenses.
For more information about these types of crimes and to schedule your free consultation, contact attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at (888) 334-6344 or (323) 464-6453.