Shooting down a drone is considered a federal crime, for which you can go to jail for up to 20 years!
A recent incident involving a drone shooting, which took place in Arkansas, US, has raised questions on whether or not shooting down drones should be punished, even if those drones haven’t been properly registered. And the answer is – yes, it is punishable with hefty fines and prison sentences.
The event in question saw a man shooting his neighbor’s drone down with a riffle because the guy thought the drone, which was flying over his backyard, was filming his children on video and thus, was invading the family’s privacy. In relation to the controversy the incident caused the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration) issued a statement claiming that drones are considered as being civilian aircrafts. This means that according to federal law, shooting the man-less aircrafts down and destroying them mid-flight is considered a punishable crime. The fines have remained undisclosed, but the FAA stated that if you shoot down a drone the prison sentence might land you behind bars for as long as 20 years – a punishment, which might seem ridiculous, but it is quite real and legitimate.
In a similar case to the one of the Arkansas citizen, a Kentucky resident named William Meredith, shot a drone mid-flight and took it down after he saw it flying over his backyard in summer 2015. The guy got charged with two counts of criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. However, the charges were later dismissed when the judge ruled out that the man was rightfully protecting his own privacy. Thanks to these two cases and numerous others people are being quite controversial on whether or not you could be jailed or punished in any other way for taking a drone down. Apparently, you can.