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When Will Seattle DUI Prosecutions Expand to Drones? Personal Drone Use Under Scrutiny

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | May 20, 2013 | 0 Comments


It's not uncommon for technology to progress faster than legislation. One prime example of this is an incident in Seattle which occurred recently. The new issue? Personal drones.

A woman was in her home when she heard a loud noise outside her third-story window. When she looked, she saw a remote-controlled drone that was hovering "a few feet" away from her house. She noticed a man on the street who was apparently operating the drone, so she told her husband to confront him. When the husband asked the man to stop, the drone operator replied that he was doing "research." The husband went inside to call the police, but by the time authorities arrived, the man and his drone had vacated the area.

Not only is this situation a little creepy, but there's no clear portion of state law which prohibits what the drone operator was doing. He didn't admit to using the drone's camera to look through the window, which would probably have been a crime. And even though the drone likely flew over the couple's property, trespassing laws only govern the actual ground and home - not the airspace above it. (Remember, the man himself was standing on a public street.)

This scenario is shaping up to be a major issue in the 21st century as personal drones become more prevalent and less expensive. There are already reports of these machines being used for nefarious purposes - like animal rights activists using them over hunting lands to scare away birds and other animals so they cannot be killed.

Hopefully, Washington will address this problem sooner rather than later. But that remains to be seen.  Who knows, maybe legislation will come out of the hysteria surrounding DUI laws right now.  Seattle, here comes the DUI Drone Charge? 

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.


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