In a recent criminal case, a video drone enabled police in South Dakota to find and arrest cattle rustlers. The surveillance occurred without a search warrant since the Supreme Court has ruled that anything visible from the air, even if above private property, can be subject to police spying.
Drone usage has evolved from high tech hobby to legitimate commercial and journalistic tool. These Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) seem to be everywhere, providing us a bird’s eye view of our planet. Capable of recording spectacular scenery, aiding search and rescue missions, and fighting crime. Their small size and quiet operation allow anonymity, but may foster illegal activities, and futuristic invasions of privacy.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to using drones in the practice of law.
Attorneys know that drones can have an impact on many areas of practice. Someday it may be used for subpoena service, court filings, urgent document deliveries, and even ambulance chasing, but what kinds of admissible evidence can it provide?
Images from drones can be highly probative by showing accident scenes, surveillance of malingering plaintiffs, divorce elements, and many more. To successfully use or defend against this kind of evidence in court, lawyers must understand video and drone technology as well as applicable state and federal statutes, FAA regulations and guidelines, the U.S. Constitution, and the common law, especially trespass, torts, and privacy rights.
Experts in video and drone technologies, we have recorded thousands of demonstrative and primary evidence productions for litigation. We fully understand the attorneys’ needs for quality, economy and confidentiality, and know how to help win cases with visual evidence obtained using drones.
So, if you do awaken with a drone at your bedroom window, first make sure it’s not just delivering your beer, then you may take a picture of it, call the police, call a lawyer, or just pull down the shade and go back to sleep!
© 2016 Lawyers’ Video Service, Inc. by Michael J. Tabas, Esq.
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