Man Sentenced to Prison for Laser Pointing Prank – Lesson for All?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Defense Attorney Fighting Criminal Charges for Inappropriate Laser Use in New Mexico

Laser PointerThere are plenty of innocent pranks out there that turn into tragedies and prison sentences. Laser pointers, for example, are an amazing, fun tool. They keep people amused, and they are only limited by a person’s imagination. However, state and federal law govern the use of laser pointers, which is something you may not have realized.

By now, you are likely aware of the fact that pointing a laser at someone, including an airplane, is an offense. However, most do not realize that it is a criminal act to point it at any type of craft, including a helicopter.

In fact, a 23-year-old man in Missouri was sentenced in a federal court for three years in prison for pointing his laser at a police helicopter, which is a felony.

Not the First Arrest for Pointing a Laser at a Helicopter

This man was not the first to be convicted for pointing a laser at a helicopter or other aircraft. In fact, there have been quite a few arrests for these violations, and they have received a massive amount of publicity.

While the devices are meant to be fun, people need to understand that they pose significant risks to safety.

Laws About Laser Pointer Ownership

There are no laws against owning a laser pointer. Some states do have restrictions about who can own laser pointers when they are juveniles, and they may be limited to a lower power rating. However, the laws only prohibit the uses of the lasers themselves, not actual laser ownership.

In New Mexico as well as other areas of the country, it is illegal to point your laser pointer at an aircraft or any vehicle with a driver. Therefore, pointing it at a motor vehicle is just as illegal as an airplane. There are laws prohibiting the use of a laser pointer at law enforcement, government officials, and others.

While New Mexico does not have a specific law governing the use of laser pointers, you could still be arrested for doing so, but face federal charges instead. The federal punishment for pointing a laser at an aircraft is a felony, and that means you could face up to five years in prison and more than $250,000 in fines. Some states that have specific laws against this will consider them a misdemeanor.

Arrested for Laser Pointing? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately

While New Mexico’s laws are relaxed on the use of laser pointers, you will be charged with a federal crime if you pointed your laser at government officials or airplanes. Therefore, it is not a simple prank that the courts will ignore.

If you have been arrested for using a laser pointer inappropriately, contact the team of criminal defense lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. Even seemingly innocent juvenile pranks could affect you for the rest of your life.

Reach out to us for a consultation at 505-375-4661 or contact us online with your legal questions.