Wisconsin drone flying law now includes SB 196 Restricting the use of drones and providing a penalty. It was signed and passed in April 2014.
Law enforcement cannot use a drone equipped with video/audio recording equipment to collect evidence without obtaining a search warrant. The only exception is for emergency purposes such as locating a escaped prisoner or during a search and rescue mission.
A person cannot use a drone equipped with video/audio recording equipment to record anyone who has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
There will be a $10,000 fine for a person who sells, possesses, or uses a weaponized drone’
Below is the summary of the law. The pdf of the law is found at SB 196 Restricting the use of drones and providing a penalty. For further research visit Wisconsin State Legislature and search for Unmanned Aerial and drones.
AN ACT to amend 114.04; and to create 175.55, 941.292, 942.10 and 972.113 of the statutes; relating to: restricting the use of drones and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill restricts the use of drones. The bill defines a drone as a powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely.
Under the bill, no law enforcement agency may use a drone that is equipped with video or audio recording equipment to collect evidence or information in a criminal investigation without first obtaining a search warrant. The bill allows a law enforcement agency to use a drone without a search warrant if it is necessary to do so for certain emergency purposes, including to locate an escaped prisoner, to aid in a search and rescue mission, or to prevent imminent harm to a person or the imminent destruction of evidence. Under the bill, evidence obtained by a drone in violation of the law is not admissible in a criminal proceeding.
Under the bill, a person who sells, possesses, or uses a weaponized drone is guilty of a Class H felony, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to six years, or both. The bill prohibits a person, except a law enforcement officer who has a search warrant or is acting for a permissible emergency purpose, from using a drone that is equipped with video or audio recording equipment to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone who does so is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to nine months, or both.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime, the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to result if the bill is enacted.
Do not forget to always abide by the FAA regulations no matter where you fly.
- Fly your Drone below 400 FT
- Fly with local clubs
- Inspect your aircraft before you fly
- Take a lesson before you fly
- Don’t fly your drone beyond line of sight
- Don’t fly near airports or any manned aircraft
- Don’t fly near people or stadiums
- Don’t be careless or reckless, you could be fined if you endanger people or other aircraft
- Don’t fly anything that weighs more than 55lbs.
- Don’t fly for payment or commercial purposes unless specifically authorized by the FAA