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Wed, Feb 08, 2017

Hempstead, NY Drone Law Presumes Guilt

Mere Possession Of A Drone Can Subject The Owner To Penalties

An examination of a drone law passed last year by the town of Hempstead, NY reveals a very disturbing section for anyone who might be transporting a drone through the city.

The law states that "The Town Board ... finds that the flying of these drones presents a noisy and potentially dangerous condition to the public and wildlife that may be present at Town facilities and that drone use at Town facilities is inconsistent with the establishment and maintaining of a safe and pleasing public environment.

"The Town Board further finds that it is in the public interest to limit the private use of such UAS in the vicinity of Town of Hempstead facilities.

But then there is this kicker: "The possession by any person of a UAS while on or in the vicinity of any Town of Hempstead facility creates the presumption that such UAS has been used in violation of this chapter subjecting the possessor of such UAS to all penalties provided for herein."

A "Town Facility" is described as "Any park, beach, cemetery, building, repair facility, under the ownership or control of the Town of Hempstead, as well as any public area under the use or control of the Town of Hempstead."

That's correct. The operator doesn't have to be observed flying the aircraft, caught flying the aircraft, or admit flying the aircraft. If you have a drone on, or even around, a "Town of Hempstead facility" ... you're guilty.

And the penalties are stiff. First offense: fine of $500 or 15 days in jail or both, plus the cost of permit; Second offense within one year of first offense: fine of $1,000 or 15 days in jail or both, plus the cost of permit; Third offense within 18 months of first offense: fine of $1,500 or 15 days in jail or both, plus the cost of permit.

It is perhaps ironic that in the same law, the Town Board recognizes that the Federal Aviation Administration has authority to regulate the use of UAS by public entities as well as UAS used for commercial purposes and that no person shall operate a UAS for commercial purposes without the express permission of the FAA.

They might as well put a "No Drone Zone" sign at the city limits.

(Image from file)

FMI: http://ecode360.com/31276625?highlight=drones%2cdrone#31276625

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