Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

Utah Drone Laws

 

SB 111reorganizes existing laws addressing UAS. It also preempts local regulation of UAS and exempts UAS from aircraft registration in the state. The law addresses UAS use by law enforcement, allowing use for purposes unrelated to a criminal investigation. It also requires law enforcement create an official record when using UAS that provides information regarding the use of the drone and any data acquired. The law makes it a class B misdemeanor to fly a UAS that carries a weapon or has a weapon attached. Exceptions include if a person has authorization from the FAA, the state or federal government. The law also defines safe operation of unmanned aircraft, specifying operational requirements for recreational operators. The operator must maintain visual line of sight, cannot operate within certain airspace, cannot operate in a way that interferes with operations at an airport, heliport or seaplane base, cannot operate from specified locations, and must operate below 400 feet unless it is within 400 feet of a structure. Any operator who violates these requirements is liable for any damages and law enforcement shall issue a written warning for the first violation. A second violation is an infraction and any subsequent violations are class B misdemeanors. The offense of criminal trespass is modified to include drones entering and remaining unlawfully over property with specified intent. Depending on the intent, a violation is either a class B misdemeanor, a class A misdemeanor or an infraction. The law also specifies that a person is not guilty of what would otherwise be a privacy violation if the person is operating a UAS for legitimate commercial or education purposes consistent with FAA regulations. It also modifies the offense of voyeurism, a class B misdemeanor, to include the use of any type of technology, including UAS, to secretly record video of a person in certain instances. 

 

HB 217prohibits a person from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly chasing, actively disturbing, or harming livestock through the use of UAS. Anyone who violates this law is guilty of a class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for a subsequent offense or if livestock is seriously injured or killed or there is damage in excess of $1,000.

 

HCR 21supports the building of a NASA drone testing facility and Command Control Center in Tooele County, Utah.

 

HB 280 General Description: This bill requires a study related to autonomous vehicles.
Highlighted Provisions: This bill: defines terms; requires certain state agencies to study autonomous vehicle technologies and report; findings; provides authority for agencies to partner with autonomous vehicle technology entities; and grants contracting authority.
Money Appropriated in this Bill: None
Other Special Clauses: None
Utah Code Sections Affected: ENACTS:
41-26-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
41-26-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953 

 

HB 126 - makes it a class B misdemeanor to operate a UAS within a certain distance of a wildfire. It becomes a class A misdemeanor if the UAS causes an aircraft fighting the wildfire to drop a payload in the wrong location or to land without dropping the payload. It is a third degree felony if the UAS crashes into a manned aircraft and a second degree if that causes the manned aircraft to crash.

 

HB 3003 - increases the penalties for offenses related to operating within a certain distance of a wildfire and permits certain law enforcement officers to disable a drone that is flying in a prohibited area near a wildland fire.

 

On April 1, 2014 the Governor of Utah signed Senate Bill (SB) 167 (download below), which establishes provisions for the appropriate use of an unmanned aerial vehicle. 

SB 167 regulates the use of UAS by state government entities. A warrant is now required for a law enforcement agency to “obtain, receive or use data” derived from the use of UAS. The law also establishes standards for when it is acceptable for an individual or other non-governmental entity to submit data to law enforcement. The new law provides standards for law enforcement’s collection, use, storage, deletion and maintenance of data. If a law enforcement agency uses UAS, the measure requires that agency submit an annual report on their use to the Department of Public Safety  and also to publish the report on the individual agency’s website.  The new law notes that it is not intended to “prohibit or impede the public and private research, development or manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles.” 

Ski Utah Drone Rules

SB0167.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [71.8 KB]

On March 27, 2015, the Governor of Utah signed House Bill (HB) 296 (download below) into law. The bill amends the provisions of Title 63G, Chapter 18, Government Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Act.

HB 296 allows a law enforcement agency to use an unmanned aircraft system to collect data at a testing site and to locate a lost or missing person in an area in which a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy. It also institutes testing requirements for a law enforcement agency's use of an unmanned aircraft system.

HB0296.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [73.2 KB]

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Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

 

602 561 8665

 

sarah@sarahnilsson.org

 

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Legal disclaimer 

The information on this website is for educational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not your attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

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