Drone Laws and Arrests in Florida

drone laws in florida

Drones have quickly gone from a tool used by the CIA to coordinate air strikes to a toy found on the shelves in your neighborhood Wal-Mart. Given their origin in military operations, it can be difficult for some to accept these devices as being harmless technological devices. This has resulted in many having concerns for their safety and privacy. Many institutions have deemed it unlawful to fly drones over their premises, but what about the everyday consumer? Can someone who recreationally flies their drone in a park or from their backyard really face criminal charges?

The unfortunate answer is yes, but the crime you’re charged with often has nothing to do with drones in particular. If you or someone you know is facing prosecution for committing an offense while flying a drone, reach out to a criminal defense attorney who can explain your charges and possible legal remedies.

The Orlando drone defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are here to provide you with the information and legal defense needed to combat the charges you face. Drones are still relatively new technology when it comes to them being used for recreational purposes. As a result, individuals who own and operate them are often unaware that their activity is against the law. Our team is here to help ensure that a simple misunderstanding doesn’t result in you being subjected to criminal repercussions.

Is it Legal to Fly a UAS?

Flying an unmanned aerial system (UAS) is perfectly legal in Florida. However, there’s a possibility that one can commit a crime while flying one. The offenses range from misdemeanors to felonies, each possessing their own set of penalties. Many people believe that by accepting probation or pleading “no contest” that they can settle the issue while avoiding jail time. As ideal as this may seem, it’s highly unfavorable for you to resolve criminal matters without legal counsel.

Types of Drone Violations in Florida

Florida Statute § 934.50, commonly cited as the Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, defines a drone as a powered aerial vehicle that is:

  • Unmanned
  • Uses aerodynamic forces to provide a lift
  • Can be piloted remotely
  • Can be expendable and recoverable
  • Can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload

In regards to drone-related offenses, one must explore numerous statutes to determine what exactly constitutes as a drone violation. For starters, federal law requires those who fly drones recreationally in Florida to register their drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If you use a drone for business or work purposes, you must meet the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule. This includes being required to pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test.

As for specific violations that can result in criminal penalties, be wary of any of the following:

  • Operating a drone over or near critical infrastructure facilities
  • Weaponizing a drone
  • Using a drone to capture images of privately owned property or the owner, tenant, or occupant of such property

Florida laws also make it illegal for local governments to implement regulations that conflict with the Florida Legislature and limits law enforcement’s use of drones to only a few specific instances.

Get Help From an Orlando Drone Defense Lawyer

While drones can take your love for and use of technology to new heights, it does come with its restrictions, and violating one of these can result in severe criminal penalties. Don’t allow a carefree afternoon of drone flying to result in you facing jail time and hefty fines. The Orlando drone defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are here to provide you with unmatched legal defense.

With over 100 years of combined legal experience and a team consisting of former prosecutors on the state and local level, we have the resources needed to mitigate your criminal charges. You may believe your drone violations can be solved with a simple conversation, but once criminal charges come into play, you’ll require the services of an attorney who is abreast of FAA regulations and the rights of drone pilots under Florida law. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.