Author Topic: Drone Laws in Pike County PA  (Read 551 times)

sandersona

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Drone Laws in Pike County PA
« on: May 30, 2017, 07:24:03 AM »
Hello,

Yesterday evening I encountered someone flying a drone over my property. The drone was so close to my roof it have landed on it. I have no idea if this was a pervert,criminal or hobbyist. I do know this drone had a camera mounted on it which I will assume was being used to stream and record pictures of my property and possibly any person within camera range on my property without the permission to do so. I called the police and learned something, there is not much the police can do except ask me to try and follow the drone back to the owner. This was not possible as the drone flew away very quickly while I was on the phone.I also did not get a clear answer with regard to shooting the drone hence this post.

My question is two part, 1) What are my rights in this situation?. I feel the law at least in PA has yet to catch up to this technology. 2) Lets say instead of reaching for a phone I reached for a shotgun and rectified the situation myself, would the laws protect the trespasser or myself in this case? Would US Law Shield defend me?

Regards

Andy Sanderson


Bodeneth

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Re: Drone Laws in Pike County PA
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 09:00:28 AM »
You are a lot nicer about this than I would be, brother. IANAL. My non lawyer opinion is that if I spotted a drone passing by, as if it is on its way to some place else, it wouldn't bother me, nor would I feel like my privacy is being violated. However, if it was a situation where it was flying around at roof top level, appearing to be checking out my property, I would view it as a violation of my privacy. As such I would treat it as skeet. But before I do so, I would buy some poster board and create a sign that says that the next time I see your drone snooping around my property at rooftop level, it will be met by my shotgun.

Seems like I saw a you tube video a while back about a similar situation, but the violated chap did shoot down the drone. He ended up being charged with destruction of private property, or something similar. I think the guy stated that where he lives, his infraction is akin to shooting at an airplane flying over his property. Im guessing the way to deal with this problem is going to be different, depending on the state you are in, rather than being a federal issue, as well as the mood of the officer that responds to the drone owner's complaint.

Im curious to read an attorney's response to your questions.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 09:10:43 AM by Bodeneth »

TexasLawShield

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Re: Drone Laws in Pike County PA
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 04:59:58 PM »
sandersona,

I can tell you what the law is at this point. As anyone who is paying attention to the development of the law with respect to consumer use of drones or commercial use of drones will know, this area of the law is evolving. There is pending legislation in many states including PA that may change this answer. So, it is best to keep an eye on the law as it develops. This is the current answer of of June 5, 2017.

Per federal law, specifically 18 U.S. Code 32 - Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities, you may not lawfully shoot down any form of aircraft. The FAA has absolutely interpreted drones to be aircraft. There is no "wiggle room" in this.

Just as someone may not kill or destroy a wandering cow or remote control car that trespasses on your land, you may not destroy or kill a drone that does likewise.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself that if it is recording you on your land or through to the inside of your house, you have the "right" to destroy it. Under federal law, you do not. Your remedy would be to call the police and try to determine the owner. You may be able to sue the owner for invasion of privacy. But maybe not.

Because you are perhaps thinking to yourself, I can destroy it because it might be a "threat," you would in most practical circumstances be totally wrong. You would need to be able to articulate well (through your attorney) precisely how you thought the drone was weaponized. Although there have been some far-fetched projects seen on YouTube of putting a pistol or a binary explosive on a drone, this is such a very unlikely and not at all common scenario that it would not likely pass the "smile test" if you were to assert it.

So shooting down someone else's drone just because it is no your property is a definite way to invite the FAA and FBI and ATF into your life. You are subject to federal prosecution and depending on your county and its gun related inclinations, you may be subject to state based prosecution as well. Although it may not result in charges ultimately or a conviction, we strongly counsel against it in the strongest terms.

In simple words: Do not shoot down any drone.

sandersona

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Re: Drone Laws in Pike County PA
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 05:26:56 PM »
Thank you for the replies.

I was thinking non lethal ammunition might be the way to go. 😎