Laser lights are used as pointers, to play with pets and in many other ways. However, when a 35-year-old man decided to use a laser to light up the cockpit of a helicopter near Cape Fear Regional Jetport, he was charged in federal court.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, was able to get a federal indictment for the man who was arrested after blasting the light into the helicopter's cockpit. The helicopter had a student pilot and an instructor in it when this occurred.
The helicopter was about 600 feet in the air and landing when the incident occurred. The light reportedly illuminated the cockpit, making it very hard to see the inside and outside. The student did land the helicopter safely. The man's illegal use of the light happened again when the student pilot was trying another landing. The instructor called the police after the helicopter landed safely again.
The man pleaded guilty to the federal charge of knowingly aiming the light at the helicopter. He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and five years of probation.
While this might not seem like your typical federal crime, his actions could have caused the helicopter to crash. It's not known if the man was offered any type of plea bargain in the case, but a defense was certainly in order against the charge.
If you're facing federal charges -- for whatever reason -- it's important to know what the possible penalties are and what type of defense will work best in your case. An experienced attorney can help you by providing you with more information.
Source: The News & Observer, "NC man sentenced to probation for pointing laser at helicopter," Nov. 05, 2015