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Drone Operation Can Lead to Criminal Charges

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Milwaukee drone privacy violation attorneyDrones have become popular in several industries and among personal users. As such, Wisconsin has passed laws prohibiting certain acts involving drones. This is an emerging area of law, and ignorance of the law is not a defense to criminal charges. If you use a drone or are considering using a drone, you should educate yourself on drone laws.

What Is a Drone? How Are They Used?

Under Wisconsin law, a drone is defined as an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. The number of drones purchased each year continues to increase as drone technology and utility improves. In January 2018, more than one million drones were registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Drones can be used in many ways, including:

  • Aerial photography for journalism and film
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Getting information and providing supplies for disaster management
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Mapping unreachable areas
  • Building safety inspections
  • Precision crop observation
  • Cargo transport
  • Law enforcement and border control surveillance
  • Storm tracking and forecasting hurricanes and tornadoes

What Are the Wisconsin Laws Regarding Drones?

Wisconsin law prohibits private citizens from using a drone “with the intent to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place or location where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” This crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor.

Typically, when someone exposes something to public view, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in that instance. If a person was attempting to remain private, yet a drone was able to photograph the location, the Wisconsin law may be violated. For example, a drone may be able to take much more detailed photographs by being able to fly lower than what a person could take from an aircraft. 

The Wisconsin drone laws focus on individual privacy concerns. For example, the law may prohibit operating a drone in order to get photos of tiny details of someone’s property, especially if the targeted area would not be visible to someone on foot because of a fence.

Call a Milwaukee, WI Drone Crime Lawyer

If you are charged with a drone-related crime, you need to seek the advice of a knowledgeable criminal lawyer. This is a developing body of law, and the arguments made on your behalf should be very persuasive to a judge and jury who are determining how to apply these laws to your situation.

Our skilled Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys have been closely following this area of law for years and have watched it develop. Call our office today to set up your first meeting with our firm. We can be reached at 414-271-1440. 

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/942/10

https://www.wisbar.org/newspublications/insidetrack/pages/article.aspx?Volume=89&Issue=8&ArticleID=25060#a

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