August 6, 2015

Effective July 1, 2015, Florida’s Drone Law, the “Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act,” has been amended. Chapter 2015-26, Laws of Florida, amends Section 934.50 of the Florida Statutes. As originally passed in 2013, the law prohibited law enforcement agencies from using drones to gather evidence or other information, and provided for certain exceptions (such as to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack, to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to search for a missing person). The law also provided an exception where the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant.

The new amendment to the Florida Drone Law not only limits law enforcement agencies, but also prohibits any person, state agency, or political subdivision of the State from using a drone equipped with an imaging device to conduct surveillance of privately owned real property or of people lawfully on that property, in violation of a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s written consent.

The new amendment provides for recovery of punitive damages and attorney fees, as well as injunctive relief, in a civil action for violations of this law.

There are additional exceptions under the new amendment to allow for legitimate use of drones for activities such as delivering packages, assessing property values for taxes, inspecting utilities, and aerial mapping.

Click the following link for the full text of the new law: http://laws.flrules.org/2015/26

Attorney Richard “Jake” Jackson has been in private practice in Volusia County serving the legal needs of the Central Florida community since 1985. Call us at (386) 738-1111 to schedule a consultation in our DeLand office.

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