Bartis Law Offices, PLLC

447 Daniel Webster Highway

PO Box 1268

Merrimack, New Hampshire 03054

Phone: 603-420-8588

Fx (603) 420-8587

BBartis@BartisLaw.com

Drone Laws in New Hampshire

Drone Laws in New HampshireUnmanned aerial vehicles or Drones are receiving a lot of attention in New Hampshire recently. Drone Law is currently on the front line as one of the most cutting-edge areas of the law.  Seldom do products enter into the public sphere so frequently and rapidly that the law cannot keep up with the technology and precedent.  The last time we saw an advances like this was with the inception of the Internet and, more markedly, a hundred years ago with the invention of automobiles.  While people at that time expressed concern for the new technology and apprehension at the danger posed by a combustion engine running horse and carriage off the road and interacting with the volume of pedestrian traffic, the law and society certainly were able to deal with automobiles.  Automobiles account for accidents, misuse, injury and death yet society as a whole benefits from their use. Likewise, while scholars had concerns on the use of the Internet by the public as well as its potential for abuses, the Internet and social media are undoubtedly here to stay and the vast benefits outweigh any dangers of its misuse.

Drone Injury Law New Hampshire

Currently, the same concerns that people will be needlessly injured surround the use of drones.  Amazon’s proposed commercial use of delivering products by drone system and the resulting potential for interference with public air space are also serious areas of concern.  Drone Law will intersect with a host of areas of law including personal injury, criminal, commercial and business use and even family law.  For example, there are drones currently being used by law enforcement to observe persons of interest not only to the federal government but also local alleged criminals.  The use for public good will certainly outweigh the downfall, but you may find yourself victim to a ‘perch and search’ wherein law enforcement activate a drone, park it on a tree, utility pole, or utility wire and observe your comings and goings and this can often be done without obtaining a warrant.  Likewise, divorcing couples may utilize drones as an intrusion of the other’s privacy to observe suspected adulterous affairs, or capture images of a non-attentive parent delegating duties to babysitters and/or other family members in an effort to bolster claims that they are the primary parent and should maintain custody from the other parent.  People can also seek to violate restraining orders by using drones to have indirect contact by surveillance of spouses and former significant others.  Drones are also already being utilized for hobbies and recreational purposes which can sometimes result in misuse of the product that may culminate in criminal charges of reckless conduct or civil penalties for negligence and misuse. An out-of-control drone that strikes an innocent third party or causes damage and destruction to one’s personal property could result in civil penalties.  As the law is currently written, a drone cannot be operated within 5 miles of an airport at an elevation above 400 feet.  Violations of this provision are subject to federal prosecution.  Crossing an altitude of 400 feet also triggers federal law for violation of civil airspace.  Currently the definition of an unmanned, remote-operated vehicle also falls squarely within the definition of an aircraft.  To that end, a frustrated neighbor dealing with the nuisance of a drone, an aggrieved divorcee or a frustrated hunter shooting down a drone is considered to have shot down an aircraft a crime subject to 20 years imprisonment and up to a 250,000 fine.  There are anti-hunter groups using drones to scare off wildlife during hunting seasons and photographing hunters for future harassment.  The law of trespass vs. nuisance is clear and distinct. Trespass requires violating the property boundary and/or airspace over one’s house or some type of physical entry onto another’s property.  Nuisance does not have the same physical intrusion requirement.  A noisy drone operated on one’s own property could violate abutters’ and neighbors’ rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property.  Currently there is little legal precedence on drone law. Given the absence of precedence, courts will be deciding many cases of first impression.  Thus, your presentation to the court and the desired outcome is more beneficial and important in drone law than currently in any other area of the law.

All of the attorneys at Bartis Law have undertaken educational courses and materials relative to drone law including receiving instruction from representatives from FAA, federal attorneys, industry leaders, as well as consultants.  All of the attorneys at Bartis Law recognize the importance this area of law will have now and into the future and the necessity of being fully versed in its limited background as well as having the ability to craft innovative arguments and resolutions and contribute to prospective precedence. 

Contact us for any case involving a drone whether it be a violation of your constitutional rights by intruders, by the police, an invasion of privacy by your neighbors or your ‘ex’, or for any injury to yourself or your property by the misuse and negligence of the operation of a drone.

 

Contact us by phone or e-mail. We provide a free 30-minute initial consultation.
Bartis Law Offices 603-420-8588
bbartis@bartislaw.com