Last Christmas, drones were a popular gift option and many news outlets carried stories of people learning how to use the devices to their full advantage. Although drones are still relatively new in terms of public use, the statistics from the recent holidays suggest that they will become increasingly more popular in homes across the country and in the hands of anyone from your co-worker to your creepy neighbor down the street.
As is the case with most new advances in technology, drone use will necessitate changes to how laws handle private and public property. There have already been several reported instances of drones being used improperly or trespassing on private domains and invading non-public spaces. Because so many people can get their hands on these devices, it’s important to understand what requirements are in place for drone usage and what those who are affected by drones in their area may be facing.
What is Considered a Drone?
The term “drone” refers to any flying device that is controlled either remotely through a handheld control system, computer, or smartphone, or any device that operates with an onboard computer. Drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), can be anything from a small, personal toy to a large unmanned aircraft, and can be used for a variety of purposes — photographs, surveying, video capture, flying tests and more.
Drones weighing more than .55 pounds must be registered, according to the FAA. This registration policy allows the agency to help drone operators use their devices safely and holds them accountable for any illegal or dangerous actions.
Flying Too Close for Comfort
In a recent case in California, a man was at the beach with a group of friends. A drone flew very low to the ground near the group, with the camera on and trained in their direction. When the man shooed the drone away, it kept its course. The man then threw his t-shirt in the drone’s direction, in an effort to make the device leave, and the propeller got caught in the material, causing the drone to fall from the air.
The damages caused to the device were estimated at over $700 and the drone’s pilot attempted to file charges for felony vandalism against the man who had thrown the shirt. The pilot claimed that the device had been flying high in the air. The charges were ultimately dropped but the man was held in jail overnight before the incident was over.
This incident, and others like it, has sparked questions about what constitutes self-protection when it comes to keeping a drone out of your personal space. As legislators begin to weigh the legal complications of drones and their usage by consumers, it will be more and more important to seek legal advice in any case.
For more information on drones, safety requirements, and your rights when it comes to privacy and protection, contact Scott Gorman at The Gorman Law Firm, an Essex County and Morristown criminal defense law firm. Scott represents anyone who has been charged with criminal activity or felonies, especially those who were acting in defense of their privacy rights.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense