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I have a 10 foot privacy fence around my property. There are no trespassing signs on all four sides. One of the neighbors keeps flying a drone over my yard like they are casing the place.

Do I have any legal rights concerning such invasions?

  • 2
    Not a simple question, it turns out. – ohwilleke Aug 2 '18 at 18:37
  • Take up kite-flying as a hobby. "Oops, your drone got caught on my kite string and seems to have landed in my pond". – brhans Aug 2 '18 at 18:58
  • 1
    How low is it flying? Are they also using it for any commercial applications? If the latter, you could check on whether they're licensed. – mkennedy Aug 2 '18 at 23:27
  • 3
    two words: water pistol – solarflare Aug 3 '18 at 0:07
  • It depends on how high the dron flies. The space up to certain height is yours, so when the dron is within it you could get the operator charged with trespassing. – Greendrake Aug 3 '18 at 1:46
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Boggs v. Merideth was a pretty big case involving private drones and the privacy of neighbors. Happened in Kentucky, though. I would suggest taking a look at that.

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    Doesn't Really help case was dismissed before it actually went to court. It was also more on the drones operators right to compensation than the land owners rights from intrusion. It also failed to cover discharging a fire arm in the air on all but 2 days of the year in most places is illegal. Guess I will half to build a F 16 to argue border skirmish against a hostile invader to shoot it down. Since the laws seem to be ignoring most people rights to a certain amount of privacy even when you do every thing you are suppose to do. – Ernest Fultz Aug 2 '18 at 22:37
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    I understand your frustration. Really, I did an assignment on this topic for school and found that laws regarding drones and privacy are... mostly missing. /: – user9353204 Aug 2 '18 at 22:39
  • I think the one loop hole that protects people from drones is a FAA rule. think its 49 registration process. Drones are not allowed within 500 feet of a person,structure,home or emergency response worker. By that definition in the city's a drone should be what property owners would call land locked. It is against the rules to fly higher than 500 feet, so the second you fly over a person or a home you have just broke the FAA rules if you didn't have the owners permission. The real question is whether the rule extends to the road way if its closer than 500 feet to the home or structures – Ernest Fultz Aug 6 '18 at 23:04
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ANSWER: Torts of TRESPASS and NUISANCE

Plaintiff may ask court to enjoin defendant from flying drone over plaintiff's property and may seek money damages.

"One of the neighbors keeps flying a drone over my yard" Complaint

"It has long been settled that a trespass to real property takes place not only on the surface, but also with any intrusion above or below the surface of the land." Smith v. Smith, 110 Mass. 302 (1872)

a “nuisance [is] … ‘a nontrespassory invasion of another’s interest in the private use and enjoyment of land.’ Restatement (Second) of Torts §821D.”

There are other definitions of nuisance. This definition may not apply in where you live. This the general principle. You should be able to complain to the police.

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A LICENSED ATTORNEY. YOU ARE NOT MY CLIENT. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. THIS IS A LAY OPINION FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

  • This can't stand as an answer on its own. – Trish Aug 25 at 19:05
  • How does flying a drone invade a person's interest in enjoying their property. Is walking while ugly a similar invasion of that interest? – user6726 Aug 25 at 19:37
  • First, the drone is over his property, not flying over his neighbor's property. Don't you think you'd have a problem using your property if a drone was flying over it? and possibly you or another person or a pet or your car or some other valuable object? - No walking while ugly isn't similar. But noise can be a nuisance, even though no physical object of the defendant's is near the plaintiff's property. – Wm Wolff - Law Exam Guides Aug 25 at 22:09
  • The protection in California is for people “engaging in a private, personal or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.” Cal. Civ. Code § 1708.8. Florida has a similar statutory claim. F.S.A. § 934.50. Nevada and Oregon allow for a “trespass” action if a drone flies over someone’s property and the property owner previously told the drone operator the drone was not authorized to fly over the property. N.R.S. 493.103 – Wm Wolff - Law Exam Guides Aug 25 at 22:14
  • "Meredith says it was hovering over his property ... Judge Ward says that since at least two witnesses could see the drone below the tree line, it was an invasion of privacy. ... Last week, state representative St. Onge pre-filed her drone harassment bill for the 2016 session. It says a person is guilty of harassment when they hover over or land on someone's property, or use a drone for no legitimate purpose, to commit acts that alarm or seriously annoy someone." wdrb.com/news/… – Wm Wolff - Law Exam Guides Aug 25 at 22:24

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