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Smokin' new phone so hot, it's criminal

Great measures are taken to better ensure that air travel is safe. Luggage is searched, people are scanned and security officers are roaming airports on the watch for suspicious activity. Now topping the list of suspicious activity: smoking phones.

Unfortunately, this is not a trendy way to explain a hot Instagram message or clever Facebook post. This refers to actual smoking phones.

In a move that may surprise travelers throughout the country, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United States Department of Transportation (DOT) just banned passengers from bringing the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on flights. In fact, the FAA now considers this device a "forbidden hazardous material."

Why would this law go into effect? It appears that these agencies fear the recurring issue with these phones could pose a safety hazard. The phones were recently recalled due to a technical issue that causes the phone to overheat and smoke.

More on the law - how is it illegal to travel with this phone? The FAA and DOT issued an Emergency Restriction/Prohibition Order that explains the ban in great detail. Essentially, no one is allowed to carry these devices, check them in their luggage, shipping the devices as cargo or otherwise attempt to bring the phone onto an aircraft.

The prohibition went into effect as of 12:00 p.m. on October 15, 2016. It includes all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices.

What if I forget or accidentally bring my phone on the plane? If a person is found to have "inadvertently" brought such a device onto an aircraft, the device must be immediately powered off and all features that could turn on the device, like an alarm clock, must be disabled. The individual that brought the phone on the plane must then hold the device on their person for the remainder of the flight.

What kind of penalties apply for a violation of this new law? Those who fail to comply with this new law can face serious repercussions. These repercussions include a potential civil penalty in the form of a fine of up to $179,933 for every violation, for every day that the person is found in violation.

Criminal penalties can also apply. This can include up to ten years imprisonment and additional monetary fines.

Interesting twist - how does this law provide lessons for anyone facing criminal charges? This law provides an example of just how quickly the law can change. Anyone facing criminal charges should take note of this example. What may seem like a simple mistake one day could be criminal the next.

If facing allegations of criminal conduct it is important to take the allegations seriously. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options and better ensure your legal rights are protected.

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