June 3, the FBI had just started up a countrywide campaign to alert the public that flashing a laser at aircraft is an offense that could lead to a federal prison sentence. Thursday, June 5, a Tampa man was under arrest for charges that included the federal crime of shining a laser pointer up at a police helicopter.
Tampa police officers report that at about 1:30 a.m., while airborne in a helicopter, they saw a green laser light aimed at them from below. The pilots called it in, and police found a 29-year-old man slipping into a vehicle. Officers searched his car and not only found a laser pointer, but further reported seeing marijuana and a marijuana pipe.
The reason using a laser in this manner is a serious federal crime is that it actually is a hazard to pilots, as well as to any passengers and people below. Pilots have said that a laser interferes with their job much like an approaching vehicle would nearly blind a driver if the vehicle kept flashing its high beams.
A conviction of this federal offense could mean:
- Five years in prison
- $250,000 fine
This is not the only criminal charge that this suspect is confronted with. Depending on the amount of marijuana said to be uncovered in the officers' search, the suspect in this case could be facing additional felony charges, along with severe penalties that could include several years in prison and thousands of dollars more in fines.
If you or someone you know has been arrested on serious charges, do not wait to find the powerful criminal defense you need. Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to find out how our experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys may be able to fight for you!