Aircraft operators need to be able to fully utilize their vision to safely fly. Individuals who threaten this may be subjected to criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 248: Shining Light at an Aircraft to Impair Operation.
You can get more information about PC 248 violations right here. Go over the definition of this charge, the penalties for a conviction, and some possible legal defenses with the Simmrin Law Group.
Go Over the Definition of PC 248 Charges
Individuals may be charged under PC 248 if they intentionally shine some type of light source into an:
- Other Aircraft
The light source must be powerful enough to impair the aircraft’s operator for a PC 248 charge to apply. The court system in California should only prosecute individuals who willfully shine a light at an aircraft to impair operation.
Consider Examples of PC 248 Violations
You can improve your understanding of PC 248 charges by going over these examples:
Man A is outside at night with some friends, playing with a new laser scope. A news helicopter flies overhead and one of Man A’s friends dares him to try to shine it into the helicopter operator’s eyes. Man A decides to try and aims his laser scope at the helicopter. He could be convicted of shining light at an aircraft to impair operation.
Man B is out on a walk with his kids. He’s carrying a standard flashlight to light the way. They hear a small plane passing overhead and Man B raises the flashlight to show his children. He shines the light towards the cockpit, but should not face PC 248 charges as he was not intentionally trying to impair the operation and his light is not strong enough to cause impairment.
Man C hears a rumor that you can blind a pilot if you shine a lantern in through the front of an aircraft at the right angle. He gets on a hill outside the local airport with a lantern and attempts to shine a light through the windshield of different planes after the sun goes down. His light source is not strong enough to impair anyone, so he could avoid PC 248 charges, even though he intended to impair pilot operation.
Focus on the Outcomes of a PC 248 Conviction in California
The state of California considers shining light at an aircraft to impair function to be a misdemeanor level criminal offense. A conviction under PC 248 could lead to the following penalties:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
Individuals could also be sentenced to probation if they are convicted of shining light at an aircraft to impair operation. During the probationary period, an individual must obey a set of rules handed down by the court to avoid a criminal charge for a probation violation.
Review Charges Similar to PC 248 in California
California uses other laws to regulate the usage of lights around vehicle operators. Individuals could face criminal charges for:
- California Vehicle Code Section 24409: Failure to Dim Headlights
- California Vehicle Code Section 24250: Driving in Darkness Without Headlights
These traffic violations can lead to fines and they can endanger other drivers.
Consider Legal Defenses for PC 248 Charges
There are several defenses that can be used if you are charged with shining light at an aircraft to impair operation in California. You can find out more about which defenses might work best for your case by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.
Depending on your situation, a criminal defense lawyer might be able to demonstrate that:
You Didn’t Intend to Impair Operation
You should only be charged under PC 248 if you intentionally used light to impair an aircraft operator. If you shined a light into an aircraft by accident or without any desire to impair the operator, you may be able to avoid a PC 248 conviction.
You Didn’t Use a Light Strong Enough to Impair Anyone
The court system cannot convict you of a PC 248 violation unless you utilize a light bright enough to impair an aircraft operator. Some forms of light, such as candles, simply do not put off enough light to impair anyone. If you were using this type of light, your lawyer could be able to build your defense.
Build a Defense to PC 248 Charges in California
You can get legal advice regarding California Penal Code Section 248: Shining Light at an Aircraft to Impair Operation charges with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can focus on your case today, starting with a FREE initial case evaluation.
Take charge of your future now by filling out our online contact form, or calling (310) 997-4688.