Montana Drone Laws (2017)


NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state 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 attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

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

 Current as of February 21, 2017

46-5-109. Limitations on unmanned aerial vehicles. 

(1) In any prosecution or proceeding within the state of Montana, information from an unmanned aerial vehicle is not admissible as evidence unless the information was obtained:

(a) pursuant to the authority of a search warrant; or

(b) in accordance with judicially recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement.

(2) Information obtained from the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle may not be used in an affidavit of probable cause in an effort to obtain a search warrant unless the information was obtained under the circumstances described in subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) or was obtained through the monitoring of public lands or international borders.

(3) For the purposes of this section, “unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aircraft that is operated without direct human intervention from on or within the aircraft. The term does not include satellites.

7-32-401. Limitations on excess property provided to local law enforcement — definitions

(1) A law enforcement agency may not receive the following property from a military equipment surplus program operated by the federal government:

(a) drones that are armored, weaponized, or both;

(b) aircraft that are combat configured or combat coded;

(c) grenades or similar explosives and grenade launchers;

(d) silencers; or

(e) militarized armored vehicles.

(2) If a law enforcement agency purchases property from a military equipment surplus program operated by the federal government, the law enforcement agency may only use state or local funds for the purchase. Funds obtained from the federal government may not be used to purchase property from a military equipment surplus program.

(3) For purposes of this section, “law enforcement agency” means a law enforcement service provided by a local government as authorized in Title 7, chapter 32.

76-13-214. Obstruction of aerial wildfire suppression effort — penalty — exceptions.

(1) A person may not obstruct, impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with a lawful aerial wildfire suppression response by a state or local government effort by any means, including by the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle system.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is liable for a civil penalty to the state or local government for an amount equivalent to the reasonable costs of obstructing, impeding, preventing, or interfering with an aerial wildfire suppression response effort. The penalty may not exceed the actual flight costs of the aerial wildfire suppression response effort that was obstructed, impeded, prevented, or interfered with.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle system conducted by a unit or agency of the United States government or of a state, tribal, or local government, including any individual conducting an operation pursuant to a contract or other agreement entered into with the unit or agency, for the purpose of protecting the public safety and welfare, including firefighting, law enforcement, or emergency response.

(4) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aircraft that is:

(i) capable of sustaining flight; and

(ii) operated with no possible direct human intervention from on or within the aircraft.

(b) “Unmanned aerial vehicle system” means the entire system used to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle, including:

(i) the unmanned aerial vehicle;

(ii) communications equipment;

(iii) navigation equipment;

(iv) controllers;

(v) support equipment; and

(vi) autopilot functionality.

(c) “Wildfire” means an unplanned, unwanted fire burning uncontrolled and consuming vegetative fuels.

(d) “Wildfire suppression” means an effort to contain, extinguish, or suppress a wildfire.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.