When Might You Be Arrested For Flying A Drone In New Jersey?
Drones are just one of many new technological innovations that have emerged within the past few years. These days, numerous people use drones for professional reasons or recreation. However, there are many situations in which flying a drone in New Jersey might be illegal. Drone owners should be aware of New Jersey’s laws on this subject to avoid potential consequences.
Drone Operator Caught after Dropping Dye in Hotel Pools
What started as a seemingly innocent prank may lead to serious consequences for a drone pilot who used his device to drop dye in hotel and homeowner pools. For whatever reason, this drone pilot wanted to turn various hotel pools green with this dye. Not only was this a form of “illegal dumping,” but it also apparently caused damage to the pools. This is despite the fact that the dye is designed to dissipate within about 40 minutes.
Somehow, investigators were able to trace the drone flight back to a heating and cooling business in Galloway Township. Police then arrived at the business and arrested the owner. It’s not clear how the police determined that this business owner was to blame, but the defendant has posted bond while awaiting trial.
Other Drone-Related Offenses
Dropping dye in pools is a very specific example of a drone-related crime, and there are many other possibilities. One thing that most drone operators don’t realize is that it’s illegal to become intoxicated before flying the device. Essentially, drones are treated like vehicles – and a relatively new bill in New Jersey makes it illegal to operate them under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. You could spend up to six months in prison for violating this law. The logic is that drones could potentially cause injuries if operated in a reckless fashion.
You also need to be aware of “no-fly” zones, including:
- Industrial areas
- State forest lands
- Military facilities
- Wildlife refuges
- Any restricted airspace
Prisons are of particular note, as New Jersey residents have been charged with serious offenses for using drones to smuggle contraband into prisons. This seems to be a rising trend across the nation. In 2020, two individuals faced up to six years in prison for attempting to smuggle a wide range of items into a Burlington County federal prison – including marijuana, steroids, cell phones, SIM cards, and syringes.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey?
If you are facing charges for illegally operating your drone, be sure to get in touch with a qualified New Jersey criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. With help from Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law, you can get started with an appropriate defense strategy at your earliest convenience. While flying a drone might seem like innocent fun, the legal consequences can be surprisingly severe. Reach out today.