Drone laws and regulation by states

UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), or drones is not only being used in operations and battlefields in the middle-east. In the US, hobbyists and businesses are starting to this cutting-edge technology for their own goods. Industries like insurance, telecommunication, and utilities are using drones to inspect their large assets and hobbyists are using drones to take photos.

Besides federal drone regulation, states also have laws to regulate the use of drones by individuals, businesses, and law enforcement. According to FindLaw, an online legal solution provider, more than half of the states don’t have in additional regulation on drones while some states has regulations on hunting, surveillance, or privacy. For more details, click on the official article in FindLaw.

States with no additional regulations:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. D.C.
  7. Delaware
  8. Indiana
  9. Iowa
  10. Kansas
  11. Kentucky
  12. Missouri
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Jersey
  16. New Mexico
  17. New York
  18. Ohio
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Pennsylvania
  21. Rhode Island
  22. South Carolina
  23. South Dakota
  24. Vermont
  25. Washington
  26. Wisconsin
  27. Wyoming

States with regulation on hunting activities:

  1. Michigan
  2. New Hamshire
    • RSA 207:57: Prohibits the use of drones to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping activities.
  3. Oregon
    • State Fish and Wildlife Commission: Law prohibits the use of drones for fishing, hunting, or trapping, including the use of drones to locate game or to interfere with the lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping of another party.
  4. West Virginia

With regulation on privacy:

  1. Arkansa
    • Act 293: Prohibits the use of drones to commit video voyeurism (invasion of privacy). Class B misdemeanor; Class A misdemeanor if images were distributed or transmitted to another party, or posted to the Internet.
    • Act 1019: Prohibits the use of drones for surveillance and/or the gathering of information on “critical infrastructure” (oil refinery, chemical manufacturing facility, power plant, etc.) without written consent.
  2. California
    • Civil Code Section 1708.8: Prohibits the use of drones to capture video and/or a sound recording of another person without their consent (invasion of privacy). Violators are liable for up to three times the amount of damages related to the violation, and a civil fine of between $5,000 and $50,000.
  3. Illinois
    • 20 ILCS 5065: This act creates the Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force Act, which is tasked with the regulation of both commercial and private use of drones. These will include considerations of landowner rights, privacy rights, and rules for safe and lawful operation of drones.
  4. Mississippi
    • Miss. Code Section 97-29-61: Prohibits the use of drones to peep into a building for the “lewd, licentious and indecent purpose” of spying on another party (charged as a felony, up to five years prison; up to 10 years prison if the person spied on is a child 16 or younger).

With regulation on police warrant

  1. Florida
    • Criminal Code Section 934.50: Drones may not be used for surveillance in violation of another party’s reasonable expectation of privacy; this includes law enforcement. However, police may use drones with a valid search warrant. Violators may be ordered to pay legal fees and compensatory damages; victims may seek injunctive relief.
  2. Maine
    • Sec. 1. 25 MRSA Pt. 12: Requires law enforcement agencies to obtain approval prior to acquiring drones, in addition to other rules for police use(including the requirement for a warrant when using a drone for criminal investigations).
  3. North Dakota
    • North Dakota Code Sec. 29-29.4-01: Limits the use of drones for surveillance, crime investigation, and other uses by law enforcement (creates the requirement of a warrant, etc.).
  4. Utah
    • Utah Code Title 63G, Chapter 18: Authorizes police to use drones for data collection at testing sites and to find missing persons in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
  5. Virginia
    • Virginia Code Section 19.2-60.1: Requires that police obtain a warrant prior to using a drone for criminal investigations or surveillance (unless it for an Amber Alert, Senior Alert, or Blue Alert).
    • Executive Order No. 43: Creates a commission to regulate the procurement and use of drones within the state.

 

 

 

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