University of Maryland Extension

Frequently Asked Questions?: Can I Shoot Down a UAV/Drone?

Paul Goeringer

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

This post should not be construed as legal advice

            Late in 2015, Jon Moyle, Ashley Ellixson, and I published Privacy Issues and the Use of sUAS/Drones in Maryland covering basic issues related to privacy issues with UAVs, more commonly known as drones.  One issue related to drones and privacy we did not deal with is: “Can I shoot down a drone over my property?”

            The simple answer to this question is NO!  Shooting down a drone flying over your property is never a good idea.  In the summer of 2015, a Kentucky man shot down a drone flying over his property.  The man was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment.  Eventually, a judge dropped the charges, but that does not mean charges in future cases will be dropped.  The drone operator has filed a lawsuit against the man who shot the drone down seeking damages from the shooter and requesting that the federal government clarify when a drone can commit trespass (more on this lawsuit in a future post).  In short, you should not shoot down a drone because you could face criminal charges and claims for damages for the destroyed drone.

To keep reading more on why you cannot shoot down a drone, click over to the Maryland Risk Management Education Blog.

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