Avoiding Federal Crimes on Airplanes

A flight can be a stressful time for any passenger, considering the long hours of sitting in cramped seats and being surrounded by strangers. But if you respond to fellow irritating travelers, especially through physical contact or threatening language, during the flight experience—you could face serious federal charges for violations in airplanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulations in place to ensure that all aircraft passengers are safe. The rules state that it is illegal for you to interfere with a flight crew or other passengers during the course of your trip. But, these aren’t the only laws you need to keep in mind during your flight- This list can provide some helpful information to avoid being charged with a crime while flying.

Assaulting a Crewmember

Any type of physical contact with a flight crew member or other passenger can be considered assault. This includes any type of touching, pushing or shoving. Assaulting the crewmember could result in federal charges and serious penalties.

You should also know that assaulting a crewmember is illegal even if there was no intent to harm.

Interfering With a Crewmember

Interfering with a crewmember or flight attendant is also a federal crime. This includes any type of physical contact, threats against the crewmember or passenger and making false accusations against them. You can be charged with interfering if you resist their efforts to control an unruly passenger or take other action to prevent them from doing their job properly.

If you’re charged with interfering with a crewmember or flight attendant, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

The Federal Aviation Administration also can impose fines on anyone who interferes with a crewmember on a flight. Some actions that can be considered interference include:

  • Blocking a flight attendant’s path or attempting to touch them as they walk down the aisle.
  • Failing to comply with a flight attendant’s instruction to, for example, return to one’s seat.
  • Threatening violence against the crew or other passengers
  • Using a laser beam to blind the pilot in the cockpit
  • Using a device that emits an electromagnetic pulse to disable the plane’s electronics
  • Disrupting the plane’s communication system
  • Using a drone to interfere with the flight

If the crew feels that a passenger is interfering with their duties, they are legally allowed to restrain them. However, this does not include physically dragging them off the plane for failing to comply with an instruction.

Penalties For Crimes on Airplanes

In the United States, crimes on an airplane can be prosecuted under federal law or state laws. If a person is convicted of committing a crime on an airplane, they may face fines and prison time.

Violent crimes, such as assault and battery or murder, may be punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and life imprisonment. Other crimes, such as drug trafficking and possession of a firearm on an airplane, may be punishable by fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment.

If you are arrested for a crime on an airplane, you may have the right to have your case heard in federal court. Federal laws regarding crimes committed on airplanes are similar to state laws.

If you’re facing any of these situations, you should speak to a qualified attorney to represent you in court. Our experts at Tampa Crime Attorneys are here to help you find a favorable resolution for your charges.