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Can I face criminal charges in Virginia for drone use?

Technological advancements provide various diversions, hobbies and toys to Virginians and people across the country. This can be enjoyable and useful in a personal and professional context. However, legislators are putting laws in place to regulate how these items - especially drones and other unmanned aircraft systems - are dealt with if there is a violation. Those arrested and charged with violations of this law should remember that the charges can be serious.

If a person uses an unmanned aircraft system and enters another's property to coerce, commit harassment or intimidation or after being told to stop via notice or does so with any other intent, they will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor can include both jail time and a fine. A conviction can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

It is important to note that the law does not apply to people who was given consent to enter the property by someone who had legal authority to grant it or by someone who was legally present on the property in a lawful manner. If the person was legally operating the aircraft based on federal regulations, they will not be subject to criminal charges for doing so.

Being arrested can be intimidating for anyone, but it can be especially worrisome for someone who was simply using an unmanned aircraft and did not realize they were committing a violation. Misdemeanor charges can lead to problems in a person's life, whether they avoid jail time or not. A law firm that has experience in all areas of police investigations, criminal charges and the criminal justice system should be called for advice.

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