California Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot(2018)


california-drone-laws

Are you interested in California drone laws?

If so, you are in the right spot. Not only does federal drone law apply to flying around California state, California drone laws apply as well!

The law below isn’t paraphrased or summarized which is extremely important so you can understand the California drone laws. If you need help interpreting the California drone laws, I highly highly suggest you contact an attorney in the state of California. I’m a Florida attorney that can assist you with federal draw law but I’m not an expert on California drone laws.

If you are feeling frustrated understanding the California drone law, I would suggest printing it out and going through each section and try and highlight the major points. Do this with all the California drone laws below a few time and you’ll start to gain some understanding. Highlight words like and, or, but, except, unless as these words are very important.

 

NOTICE: This article on California drone laws is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for California laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent California drone law attorney before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws (federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 

These California drone laws are current as of February 21, 2017

 

California Civil Code 43.101.  

(a) An emergency responder shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if that damage was caused while the emergency responder was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of the emergency services listed in Section 853 of the Government Code.

(b)

(1) For purposes of this section, “emergency responder” means either of the following, if acting within the scope of authority implicitly or expressly provided by a local public entity or a public employee of a local public entity to provide emergency services:

(A) A paid or an unpaid volunteer.

(B) A private entity.

(2) All of the following terms shall have the same meaning as the terms as used in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 853) of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code:

(A) Local public entity.

(B) Public employee of a local public entity.

(C) Unmanned aircraft.

(D) Unmanned aircraft system.

California Civil Code 1708.8.  

(a) A person is liable for physical invasion of privacy when the person knowingly enters onto the land or into the airspace above the land of another person without permission or otherwise commits a trespass in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.

(b) A person is liable for constructive invasion of privacy when the person attempts to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity, through the use of any device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass, if this image, sound recording, or other physical impression could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the device was used.

(c) An assault or false imprisonment committed with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff is subject to subdivisions (d), (e), and (h).

(d) A person who commits any act described in subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for up to three times the amount of any general and special damages that are proximately caused by the violation of this section. This person may also be liable for punitive damages, subject to proof according to Section 3294. If the plaintiff proves that the invasion of privacy was committed for a commercial purpose, the person shall also be subject to disgorgement to the plaintiff of any proceeds or other consideration obtained as a result of the violation of this section. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(e) A person who directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate any provision of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for any general, special, and consequential damages resulting from each said violation. In addition, the person that directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate this section shall be liable for punitive damages to the extent that an employer would be subject to punitive damages pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3294. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(f)

(1) The transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, offer for sale, or other use of any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) shall not constitute a violation of this section unless the person, in the first transaction following the taking or capture of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression with actual knowledge that it was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c), and provided compensation, consideration, or remuneration, monetary or otherwise, for the rights to the unlawfully obtained visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), “actual knowledge” means actual awareness, understanding, and recognition, obtained prior to the time at which the person purchased or acquired the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, that the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c). The plaintiff shall establish actual knowledge by clear and convincing evidence.

(3) Any person that publicly transmits, publishes, broadcasts, sells, or offers for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was previously publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale by another person, is exempt from liability under this section.

(4) If a person’s first public transmission, publication, broadcast, or sale or offer for sale of a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) does not constitute a violation of this section, that person’s subsequent public transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, or offer for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, does not constitute a violation of this section.

(5) This section applies only to a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that is captured or taken in California in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) after January 1, 2010, and shall not apply to any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression taken or captured outside of California.

(6) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to impair or limit a special motion to strike pursuant to Section 425.16, 425.17, or 425.18 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(7) This section shall not be construed to limit all other rights or remedies of the plaintiff in law or equity, including, but not limited to, the publication of private facts.

(g) This section shall not be construed to impair or limit any otherwise lawful activities of law enforcement personnel or employees of governmental agencies or other entities, either public or private, who, in the course and scope of their employment, and supported by an articulable suspicion, attempt to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of a person during an investigation, surveillance, or monitoring of any conduct to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity or other misconduct, the suspected violation of any administrative rule or regulation, a suspected fraudulent conduct, or any activity involving a violation of law or business practices or conduct of public officials adversely affecting the public welfare, health, or safety.

(h) In any action pursuant to this section, the court may grant equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction and restraining order against further violations of subdivision (a), (b), or (c).

(i) The rights and remedies provided in this section are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(j) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that no image, recording, or physical impression was captured or sold.

(k) For the purposes of this section, “for a commercial purpose” means any act done with the expectation of a sale, financial gain, or other consideration. A visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression shall not be found to have been, or intended to have been, captured for a commercial purpose unless it is intended to be, or was in fact, sold, published, or transmitted.

(l)

(1) For the purposes of this section, “private, personal, and familial activity” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Intimate details of the plaintiff’s personal life under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(B) Interaction with the plaintiff’s family or significant others under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(C) If and only after the person has been convicted of violating Section 626.8 of the Penal Code, any activity that occurs when minors are present at any location set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 626.8 of the Penal Code.

(D) Any activity that occurs on a residential property under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(E) Other aspects of the plaintiff’s private affairs or concerns under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(2) “Private, personal, and familial activity” does not include illegal or otherwise criminal activity as delineated in subdivision (g). However, “private, personal, and familial activity” shall include the activities of victims of crime in circumstances under which subdivision (a), (b), or (c) would apply.

(m)

(1) A proceeding to recover the civil fines specified in subdivision (d) or (e) may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction by a county counsel or city attorney.

(2) Fines collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be allocated, as follows:

(A) One-half shall be allocated to the prosecuting agency.

(B) One-half shall be deposited in the Arts and Entertainment Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury.

(3) Funds in the Arts and Entertainment Fund created pursuant to paragraph (2) may be expended by the California Arts Council, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to issue grants pursuant to the Dixon-Zenovich-Maddy California Arts Act of 1975 (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 8750) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(4) The rights and remedies provided in this subdivision are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(n) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 521, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

 

California Government Code 853.  

A local public entity or public employee of a local public entity shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if the damage was caused while the local public entity or public employee of a local public entity was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of any of the following emergency services:

(a) Emergency medical services or ambulance transport services, including, but not limited to, air ambulance services.

(b) Firefighting or firefighting-related services, including, but not limited to, air services related to firefighting or firefighting-related services.

(c) Search and rescue services, including, but not limited to, air search and rescue services.

 

California Government Code 853.1

The immunity provided by this chapter is in addition to any other immunity provided to a local public entity or public employee of a local public entity under law.

 

California Government Code 853.5.  

The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

(a) “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

(b) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including, but not limited to, communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

California Penal Code 402 

(a)

(1) Every person who goes to the scene of an emergency, or stops at the scene of an emergency, for the purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel, or military personnel coping with the emergency in the course of their duties during the time it is necessary for emergency vehicles or those personnel to be at the scene of the emergency or to be moving to or from the scene of the emergency for the purpose of protecting lives or property, unless it is part of the duties of that person’s employment to view that scene or those activities, and thereby impedes police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel or military personnel, in the performance of their duties in coping with the emergency, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, a person shall include a person, regardless of his or her location, who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone that is at the scene of an emergency.

(b) Every person who knowingly resists or interferes with the lawful efforts of a lifeguard in the discharge or attempted discharge of an official duty in an emergency situation, when the person knows or reasonably should know that the lifeguard is engaged in the performance of his or her official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) For the purposes of this section, an emergency includes a condition or situation involving injury to persons, damage to property, or peril to the safety of persons or property, which results from a fire, an explosion, an airplane crash, flooding, windstorm damage, a railroad accident, a traffic accident, a powerplant accident, a toxic chemical or biological spill, or any other natural or human-caused event.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 817, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2017.)

 

 

California Food and Agriculture Code. Division 6, Chapter 5. Article 1.

  1. (a) It is unlawful for any person to operate a manned aircraft in pest control unless the pilot operating the aircraft holds a valid manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate issued by the director and an appropriate and valid commercial pilot’s certificate and a current appropriate medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to operate an unmanned aircraft system in pest control unless the pilot operating the unmanned aircraft system holds a valid manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate or a valid unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate issued by the director and is certified or otherwise authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate an unmanned aircraft system approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct pest control.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 1. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. (a) Each manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate shall designate the manned pest control aircraft pilot’s status as a journeyman or apprentice.

(b) Each unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate shall designate the unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s status as a journeyman, apprentice, or vector control technician.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 2. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

11902.5.  To be eligible for an unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate under the status of vector control technician, a pilot shall be certified by the State Department of Public Health as a vector control technician in the category of mosquito control pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 2052 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 3. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. A fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5 shall accompany each application for an initial certificate.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 51. Effective January 1, 2004.)

 

  1. Every certificate shall expire on December 31 of the year for which it is issued. Certificates may be renewed before the expiration date by application to the director and upon payment of a fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5. A penalty fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5 shall be paid by an applicant who applies for renewal after the expiration date.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 52. Effective January 1, 2004.)

 

  1. Before an initial manned or unmanned certificate is issued, the applicant for an apprentice, journeyman, or vector control technician shall pass an examination to demonstrate to the director his or her ability to legally and safely conduct pest control operations and his or her knowledge of the nature and effect of materials that are used in pest control.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 4. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. A journeyman’s certificate shall not be issued to any applicant, other than the holder of an apprentice certificate, unless such applicant has had in effect a journeyman’s certificate issued by the director within the previous two calendar years.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. A journeyman’s certificate shall not be issued until the applicant has served as an apprentice under a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter for one year and until the applicant presents to the director satisfactory documentary proof consisting of a declaration or affidavit by the holder of a journeyman’s certificate attesting to the applicant’s performance, under the attesting journeyman’s direct and personal supervision, of not less than 150 hours of operation of fixed-wing aircraft or 50 hours of operation of nonfixed-wing aircraft within the previous two calendar years in pest control activities, together with any other evidence as the director may require.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 624, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1994.)

 

  1. Each applicant for an apprentice certificate shall satisfy the director, through documentary evidence or other suitable information, that the applicant shall conduct pest control activities only under the direct and personal supervision of a person that holds a journeyman’s certificate.

(Added by renumbering Section 11909 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. It is unlawful for the holder of an apprentice certificate to conduct pest control activities unless such activities are conducted under the direct and personal supervision of a person that holds a journeyman’s certificate.

(Added by renumbering Section 11910 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. (a) The director may refuse to issue a manned or unmanned pest control aircraft pilot certificate to an applicant and may revoke or suspend a manned or unmanned pest control aircraft pilot certificate after a hearing in which one or more of the following findings are made:

(1) The person is not qualified to conduct the pest control operations in accordance with the certificate.

(2) The application or certificate is for the operation of a manned aircraft in pest control and the person does not hold an appropriate and valid commercial pilot’s certificate and a current appropriate medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(3) The application or certificate is for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in pest control and the person does not hold a certificate or other authorization issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for pest control.

(4) The person has violated any provision of, or any regulation adopted pursuant to, this division or Division 7 (commencing with Section 12501) pertaining to pesticides, any regulation of a county agricultural commissioner, or any industrial safety order of the Department of Industrial Relations, or has not complied with any order of the director or commissioner as authorized by Section 11737.

(5) The person has violated any regulation or privacy guideline adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration pertaining to the commercial operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(b) The director may, pending a hearing, suspend or condition the certificate of any pest control aircraft pilot when, upon an investigation that the director determines to be necessary and upon the receipt of affidavits by the enforcement personnel provided in Section 11501.5 or injured parties, the director finds that continuance of the certificate endangers public welfare or safety. The director may terminate the suspension or condition upon the taking of corrective action that the director determines to be satisfactory to ensure qualification or compliance with the law or regulations. In that event, the matter may proceed to hearing as though that action had not been taken.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 5. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, if the holder of a certificate is called to active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States of America, the holder, upon the termination of such active duty, is entitled to renewal of such certificate in the same category, if he does all of the following:

(a) Makes application to the director.

(b) Pays the renewal fee required by the director.

(c) Demonstrates to the director his ability to conduct pest control operations and his knowledge of the nature and effect of materials which are used in pest control.

(Added by renumbering Section 11913 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

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