Although a news report of drones being shot down may seem more at home in an international setting, a New Jersey man is facing charges for doing just that.

According to police reports, the accused shot down a privately owned hobby drone being used to collect aerial photographs of a construction project. The accused allegedly fired five shots with a shotgun because the hobby drone was flying near his home, apparently seeming like a nuisance to him. Although the property damage to the drone’s owner may have been limited, the 33-year-old New Jersey man is now in hot legal waters with authorities. He is facing two felony charges. 

Under New Jersey law, property and weapons crimes carry potentially severe punishments. In this case, the man’s charge of criminal mischief in the second degree, a type of property crime, is punishable by up to 10 years in state prison. The other fourth degree charge, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, could add another 18 months to the accused’s sentence.

Criminal mischief can refer to the purposeful or reckless destruction of another’s property using dangerous means. New Jersey law lists several examples of dangerous means, such as fire or explosives. The statute also provides for various degrees of the offense, with corresponding penalties.

In this case, a grand jury recently handed down an indictment on the two felony charges. However, a strong defense at the upcoming criminal trial may still be possible. In addition, a criminal defense attorney may also have strategies for engaging prosecutors in negotiations. Check out our firm’s website to learn more about how we approach the defense of criminal mischief charges.

Source: Guns.com, “New Jersey man indicted on felony charges for drone shoot down,” Chris Eger, Aug. 26, 2015