Coddington, Hicks & Danforth

Drone owner flings paper fliers over football stadiums

California is no stranger to radical expression of strongly held personal beliefs. Aviation is just one of the many ways messages transmit across a large audience. However, anytime these attempts encroach upon the legal ordinances set in place, a legal matter is certain to arise.

Drone mission failure

In recent news, a man from California is facing criminal charges brought against him after scattering 'anti-media' propaganda over multiple NFL stadiums. The man used his drone to drop the pamphlets onto the field, which is illegal. The infraction happened when the man had his unmanned aircraft spread propaganda with his personally held beliefs about the media over San Francisco and Oakland stadiums.

The timing of these deliveries happened while a full crowd was present to watch two competing NFL teams play a game. The messages promoted free speech while denigrating television's influence on individual's beliefs, attitudes and behavior.

Legal consequences for drone operators

Drone laws may vary by state and city limits, but California has clear restrictions against flying drones within close proximity of public events. In this particular case, the drone flew during NFL games, violating a Santa Clara ordinance, stating drones may not come within 500 yards of the stadium. Anyone found guilty of breaking this or any other drone law is subject to hefty fines, permit revocation, and/or jail time. Understanding the laws about drones can keep you out of trouble with the law or help you in your defense should charges ever be brought against you.

What odd or unsafe uses of drones have you witnessed?

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