Have you been annoyed by a drone flying over your house or hovering outside your window? How to Legally Take Down a Drone?
There should be no reason for anyone to fly a drone near your property without your permission. You have the right to have privacy from these drones and there are several ways of doing so, including some that don’t break any federal and state laws.
Drones are everywhere — but that doesn’t mean you’ll want one above your private property. As unmanned aerial vehicles gain in popularity, there’s been a corresponding rise in reports of drones flying in the airspace where they’re not wanted.
Either individuals are flying them without permission, or others have invested in surveillance versions with infrared cameras to spy on their neighbors. Regardless of the reason, there are ways to stop a drone from flying over your private property.
Federal Laws have the power to instantly stop a drone from flying. Drones are considered aircraft under most legislation, which means that drones and their operators are bound to the same rules, responsibilities and consequences as pilots of manned aircraft.
Is It Legal To Fly Drone?
- The use of drones is a bit controversial. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including surveillance.
- In some circumstances, it is illegal to fly a drone. For example, the FAA recently issued new rules that prohibit flying drones in certain areas of the country around airports and other restricted airspace. The FAA also prohibits the use of drones for commercial purposes or in any manner that could cause damage or injury to people or property.
- It is important to understand the legal issues involved before deciding whether to buy and operate a drone.
Proper Way To Take Down A Drone
If you’re wondering how to legally take down a drone, you’ll be pleased to know that it all comes down to one, simple question: Is it legal to use a firearm where you live? If not, then you are also not allowed to take down a drone. If so, then you have the legal right to discharge your firearm whenever and wherever is safe.
Of course, there are still some caveats here. You must ensure that it is safe for others around you when discharging your firearm—if the drone is flying over a city park filled with children playing football, or if it’s hovering outside of your window while kids sleep in their bedroom across the street, it’s probably best not to shoot at it.
Should safe conditions exist and the “yes” option apply in both cases above (i.e., firearms are allowed and children aren’t present), what kind of gun should be used? A shotgun!
It’s important that each pellet penetrate the body of the drone and simply knock out its power supply so as not to scatter potentially dangerous debris across an area—you want pellets big enough for this purpose but small enough so that they don’t disperse too much energy on impact and fly off into unexpected directions.
Can I Shoot It Down?
Using a firearm to take down a drone is legal in all states, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. For starters, shooting at a drone means using a firearm, which is inherently dangerous; if you’re not an expert marksman and/or don’t know exactly what you’re doing, this method is probably not for you.
Even if you are confident behind the trigger of your shotgun or rifle (never use a handgun), there’s still the issue of trajectory: if the drone is too close to you when it goes down, debris could fall on your property.
And then there are the potential legal ramifications—shooting at someone else’s property with intent to destroy it may cost you big bucks in court.
To minimize any legal risk and maximize safety, be sure that both the target drone and your own property are 150 feet away from anyone else (and anything they might own).
Also remember that this method will likely destroy the drone outright—if you want to preserve evidence of its intrusion into your airspace/property, consider one of the less destructive methods below instead.
Can I Use A Snare?
According to the FAA, drone owners are responsible for any damage done by their drone. As a result, it is perfectly acceptable to use a snare (or net) to take down an offending drone invading your airspace as long as that snare is non-lethal. A quick Google search will serve up many examples of snares and nets capable of accomplishing this task.
Be mindful that there is a difference between a snare and a trap. A trap has the intent of capturing living creatures with the intention of killing them and/or eating them. A snare does not intend on killing or eating anything, but merely holds the item in place for removal or other action (such as capture).
Can I Use My Hands Or A Net?
As drones take to the skies for a more hands-on approach to aviation, people are increasingly getting in their way. From crop dusting to real estate inspection, drones have gained a reputation for being harmless and even helpful. However, all drone users need to understand that there are limitations on where and how this technology can be used.
Drones are classified as model aircraft under the federal government’s Airworthiness Standards and should not be flown beyond the line of sight of their operators (except by military pilots). They can also only be used in controlled airspace or within line-of-sight of an air traffic controller.
If you’re going to use your own drone for any other purpose, you’ll want to make sure it complies with local laws first, as well as check your local rules before taking off.
Prohibited Uses Of Drones
Drones are a useful tool for home and business, but there are certain prohibitions on where and how they can be used. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned the use of drones within 400 feet of people, stadiums, airports and military bases to protect both drone operators and the general public.
If you see someone using a drone in an area where it is prohibited, or if you feel like your privacy is being invaded by one, you have a right to take it down or report it. Here’s what that process looks like:
Legally Take Down A Drone By Weapon
If you wish to take down a drone flying above your property, you must ensure that the drone poses an immediate threat of harm. If it does not pose such a threat, do not shoot it down.
Most property owners cannot legally use deadly force to defend their property, even if the drone is trespassing on their property and even if they believe that the drone poses a significant threat to their privacy. Again, there are three specific exceptions where deadly force is allowed:
- If someone is using or has used the drone/aircraft as part of an invasion of a dwelling (i.e., home invasion) or other building.
- Someone is using or has used the drone/aircraft in furtherance of a burglary or aggravated burglary offense (i.e., breaking into your house).
- The person who owns the property would be privileged to use deadly force against another human being to defend themselves under normal circumstances (i.e., self-defense).
Judge Whether The Drone Is A Threat
Since the law falls short in regulating drones, it’s up to you to take matters into your own hands. So, if a drone is flying over your property, what should you do?
- Judge Whether The Drone Is A Threat. Is it flying too close to power lines? In a restricted area, like an airport? Too close to people or buildings to ensure its safety? Consider how dangerous this rogue drone can be and determine if it needs to be taken out of the sky.
- If you decide that a drone poses enough of a risk, there are plenty of ways to safely take down drones without risking injury or any legal repercussions.
Rights And The Risks To Taking Out A Drone
Now that we’ve established the fact that you can legally shoot down a drone, let’s talk about how you should go about doing it. The first thing to know is that this is something you should only do if it’s an absolute last resort.
The main risk of shooting down a drone is getting in legal trouble yourself, even though the FAA and other organizations have made it clear that you can legally take down a drone on your property.
This is because taking out a drone does consider some trespass laws, which vary from state to state and can be quite complicated for some people to understand.
You may want to consult with an attorney or review your local laws before actually going through with this breach of privacy. In most cases, however, there are no specific laws in place regarding trespassing drones – just general nuisance laws.
You May Use Force To Stop Crimes
When it comes to drones, you can legally use reasonable force to stop a drone if it is coming towards you or another person. A good example of this would be a drone flying above your house and shining a bright light into your windows
In this situation, because the drone is disrupting your privacy, you would be able to stop the drone by using one of these methods:
- Catching it with a net (a shield will not work). You must do so before it leaves the area.
- Using radio frequency jamming equipment to disrupt its flight so that it lands safely near you.
Self-defense Or To Defend Others
While this does not mean you cannot shoot at a drone for any reason, it does mean that you may not use force solely to get revenge or cause harm.
For example, if someone is flying a drone over your property and the operator is doing so in a manner that was causing some type of harm, such as spying into your home or harassing you, then self-defense would be a valid claim.
However, if there was no imminent threat of harm and your sole purpose was to cause damage to the drone by shooting it down because you were angry, then this would likely be considered using force in the wrong way. You must always be reasonable when using force on another person or against their property.
Taking Down A Drone Could Constitute Destruction
You may also be charged with destruction of personal property and required to pay for the drone you took down.
- If a drone is taking pictures of your neighbor’s backyard, you are not legally allowed to destroy it. The owner can bring a civil suit against you and get his or her money back for the cost of the drone plus any additional damages that may have been incurred.
- If the owner presses criminal charges, you could face fines and jail time if convicted.
Be Careful While Shooting At A Drone
- Before you do anything, make sure that you’re allowed to shoot in a public place. If a drone crashes and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Yes, but it also makes littering.
- Additionally, if the drone doesn’t belong to you, shooting at it may constitute property damage. Be careful not to hit the person flying the drone!
- This could mean injury or worse—and we want our readers on this blog post to continue living long, prosperous lives. We also don’t want any of our readers going to jail for accidentally murdering their neighbor.
- If you do decide that you need to shoot down a drone in your backyard (or anywhere else), be sure to contact law enforcement first!
- Not only will they tell you whether or not shooting is allowed in your area (and whether or not your firearm is legal at all), but they can also help track down the owner of the offending drone so that he/she can pay for any damages incurred by the crash landing and subsequent cleanup efforts.
- Plus: if someone else has access rights across public land surrounding your house and decides he/she wants some aerial photos taken from above as well, then taking out this unwanted intruder might even be considered self-defense—just make sure those same cops come back with an arrest warrant before trying anything like that again…
Be Careful That Shooting At A Drone Doesn’t Cause Harm
If you take down a drone with a firearm, there is the risk that it will fall in a way that causes damage to property or people. If the drone falls on someone’s head, for example, and causes injury, you may be liable for medical expenses and other damages in a lawsuit.
If you use one of our recommended methods of disabling a drone—with an anti-drone jammer or by shooting it out of the sky with a net gun—it’s important to make sure no harm comes from falling debris.
The safest approach is to disable the drone while it hovers over your dog pen in your yard instead of the child’s playground at your local park.
You Can Legally Take Down A Drone
You have the legal right to take down a drone if it is threatening you, your family, or your property. For example:
- You can knock a drone out of the sky with no legal repercussions if it is flying over your house on private property.
- You can take down a drone that is hovering over you and shining its camera at you without any repercussions from the law.
On the other hand, you cannot shoot down a drone if it is minding its own business while flying somewhere public. To take down such a drone would be illegal because this type of drone flight is protected under freedom of airspace regulations. For example:
- If someone flies their hobbyist quadcopter in front of your home’s window and snaps pictures of it, then you can shoot it down
Frequently Asked Question (how To Legally Take Down A Drone)
Q1. how Do You Take Down Illegal Drones?
Answer. Shooting down a drone isn’t as simple as it sounds. Many methods, such as shooting down the drone with another type of firearm, can be dangerous and may do more damage than good. Other methods might be illegal or carry a high risk of damaging nearby property.
Q2. what To Do If A Drone Is Spying On You?
Answer. Contact local law enforcement. The exceptions to this are if there’s an immediate threat – like a bomb attached to the drone – or if the drone is interfering with emergency services. If you feel that there is an imminent danger, call 911 immediately. If you know who owns the drone, contact them directly
Q3. can A Laser Pointer Take Down A Drone?
Answer. When it comes to drones and safety, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Most people don’t realize that lasers can permanently damage your eyes in an instant and that drones are equipped with cameras that are recording at all times. You should never point a laser at a drone or shine a laser at the operator — it’s dangerous and reckless, plus it’s a federal crime.
As you can see, there are many different laws in place to protect against drone surveillance. The good news is that it is perfectly legal to take down a drone with a net, or other measures, as long as you do it in an orderly manner and don’t damage the craft or harm its pilot.
Before taking any action however, make sure that the drone is filming something it shouldn’t be. Filming another person’s residence without their knowledge is illegal in some states. If it’s your residence being filmed, you have every right to take down the drone without worrying about breaking any laws.
Note that this is only for taking down your own drone, not someone else’s. Additionally, you should always check your local laws about flying and owning a drone before taking it out for a spin.