Can I Be Arrested for Flying a Drone?

Small unmanned aerial vehicles have become one of the hottest gifts for the last year or so, and it stands to reason that they will once again be towards the top of the list this holiday season. However, before taking to the sky, it’s important to learn what you can and cannot do with these devices.

Many of these drones come equipped with high-quality cameras, allowing people to take unique photos and video from new angles. But this has led to a number of lawsuits by people who challenge that pilots are not punished for not respecting their privacy. The laws were updated earlier this year to reflect new regulations around these devices, but there are still some things you cannot do.

Be Careful Where You Fly

Laws regarding flight anywhere in U.S. airspace are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Recently, the FAA passed laws that allow UAV pilots to operate within certain parameters. Notably, there are a few key exceptions to airspace where you cannot fly, including around large groups of people, over landmarks such as theme parks, stadiums, sporting events, and within five miles of any airport. Additionally, as part of National Security, you are not allowed to fly within the city limits of Washington D.C., or a 15-mile radius surrounding it. You also are not allowed to fly a drone near fire or police activity, as the transmitter and receiver can interfere with crucial communications equipment.

General Operation Guidelines

When you find a place where you can fly comfortably with minimal risk of injuring someone, feel free to take off and buzz around, but you need to keep your drone under 400 feet and within your line of sight. Flying “first-person view” or “FPV” has become very popular, but this does not give you permission to fly away from where you can see the aircraft.

Don’t Film Private Property Without Permission

Drones allow you to capture brilliant images, but using one to capture footage of someone else on their own property is frowned upon and may land you in legal trouble. Only one state has currently outlawed this type of spying (California), but it’s not beyond reason to imagine other states will soon follow.

Have you recently run into legal trouble for operating a drone? Are you facing a major fine? Get legal assistance from the skilled Noblesville criminal defense attorneys at The Criminal Defense Team. Our team features two Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists, making us one of the leading law firms for assistance when you are facing criminal charges.