Florida UAS Laws

  
 
 
Note on Federal vs State Laws:

Federal airspace laws take precedence over state drone laws. If a state or local law directly conflicts with FAA regulations, the state or local law is likely to be invalidated.

 

Definitions:

Florida Statutes, defines a drone as a “powered, aerial vehicle that:

  1. Does not carry a human operator;
  2. Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;
  3. Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely;
  4. Can be expendable or recoverable; and
  5. Can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload.”
 

Unmanned aircraft system” means a drone and its associated elements, including communication links and the components used to control the drone which are required for the pilot in command to operate the drone safely and efficiently.

 

Critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs which indicate that entry is forbidden and which are posted on the property in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders:

  1. An electrical power generation or transmission facility, substation, switching station, or electrical control center.
  2. A chemical or rubber manufacturing or storage facility.
  3. A mining facility.
  4. A natural gas or compressed gas compressor station, storage facility, or natural gas or compressed gas pipeline.
  5. A liquid natural gas or propane gas terminal or storage facility with a capacity of 4,000 gallons or more.
  6. Any portion of an aboveground oil or gas pipeline.
  7. A wireless communications facility, including the tower, antenna, support structures, and all associated ground- based equipment.
 
Statutes/Bills (passed):

330.41 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act

 

PROTECTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES.

(a) A person may not knowingly or willfully:

  1. Operate a drone over a critical infrastructure facility;
  2. Allow a drone to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or
  3. Allow a drone to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.
 

934.50 - Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act

PROHIBITED USE OF DRONES.

  1. A law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather evidence or other information.
  2. A person, a state agency, or a political subdivision as defined in s. 11.45 may not use a drone equipped with an imaging device to record an image of privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image in violation of such person’s reasonable expectation of privacy without his or her written consent. For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on his or her privately owned real property if he or she is not observable by persons located at ground level in a place where they have a legal right to be, regardless of whether he or she is observable from the air with the use of a drone.

EXCEPTIONS.—This section does not prohibit the use of a drone:

  1. To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.
  2. If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone.
  3. If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence, or to achieve purposes including, but not limited to, facilitating the search for a missing person.
  4. By a person or an entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state, or by an agent, employee, or contractor thereof, if the drone is used only to perform reasonable tasks within the scope of practice or activities permitted under such person’s or entity’s license. However, this exception does not apply to a profession in which the licensee’s authorized scope of practice includes obtaining information about the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character of any society, person, or group of persons
  5. By an employee or a contractor of a property appraiser who uses a drone solely for the purpose of assessing property for ad valorem taxation.
  6. To capture images by or for an electric, water, or natural gas utility:
  7. For aerial mapping, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
  8. To deliver cargo, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
  9. To capture images necessary for the safe operation or navigation of a drone that is being used for a purpose allowed under federal or Florida law.
  10. By a communications service provider or a contractor for a communications service provider for routing, siting, installation, maintenance, or inspection of facilities used to provide communications services.