Russell Brand

Russell Brand

British funnyman Russell Brand is facing up to two years behind bars for smashing a paparazzo's cell phone after New Orleans, Louisiana police listed the crime as a felony.

The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star turned himself in to police in the city on Thursday (15Mar12) and was arrested following an angry encounter with snapper Timothy Jackson on Monday (12Mar12).

Brand stands accused of throwing the photographer's iPhone through the window of an abandoned building.

He walked free from jail hours later after posting $5,000 bail, and reports suggested he was just facing a $700 fine for a charge of simple criminal damage.

But editors at claim Brand's offense qualified as a felony arrest - because the damage caused to the iPhone and the smashed window amounted to more than $500 .

The window repair cost $240 alone.

The actor has since compensated property owners.

The felony count carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison.