Wisconsin 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

Statute 29.083  Interference with hunting, fishing or trapping.

(1)  Definition. In this section, “activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping” means travel, camping, scouting, target shooting, dog training, animal baiting or feeding, or other acts that are preparatory to lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping and that are done by a hunter, fisher, or trapper or by a member of a hunting, fishing, or trapping party.

(2) Prohibitions.

(a) No person may interfere or attempt to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping with the intent to prevent the taking of a wild animal, or intentionally interfere with or intentionally attempt to interfere with an activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping, by doing any of the following:

………..

8. Using a drone, as defined in s. 941.292 (1), to conduct any activity prohibited under subds. 1.to 7.

………

(4) Civil actions.

(a) A person who is adversely affected by, or who reasonably may be expected to be adversely affected by, conduct that is in violation of sub. (2) (a) may bring an action in circuit court for an injunction or damages or both.

(b) The circuit court may enter an injunction under ch. 813 against conduct in violation of sub. (2) (a) if the court determines any of the following:The defendant is threatening the conduct.

1. The defendant is threatening the conduct.

2. The defendant has engaged in the conduct in the past and that it is reasonable to expect that the defendant will engage in the conduct that will adversely affect the plaintiff in the future.

(c) The circuit court may award damages to the plaintiff if the defendant’s conduct in violation of sub. (2) (a) has adversely affected the plaintiff. The damages awarded may include punitive damages and any special damages. Special damages may include approval fees, travel costs, camping fees, costs for guides, and costs for equipment or supplies to the extent that the plaintiff did not receive the full value of any of these expenditures due to the unlawful conduct of the defendant.

History: 1989 a. 1901997 a. 248 s. 415; Stats. 1997 s. 29.083; 2015 a. 346.

The application of this section is limited to physical interference and does not violate the freedom of speech. State v. Bagley, 164 Wis. 2d 255474 N.W.2d 761 (Ct. App. 1991).

 

114.04 Flying and landing, limitations.

Subject to ss. 114.105 (3) and 175.55, and except as provided in ss. 114.045 and 942.10, flight of or in aircraft or spacecraft over the lands and waters of this state is lawful, unless at such a low altitude as to interfere with the then existing use to which the land or water, or the space over the land or water, is put by the owner, or unless so conducted as to be imminently dangerous or damaging to persons or property lawfully on the land or water beneath. The landing of an aircraft or spacecraft on the lands or waters of another, without the person’s consent, is unlawful, except in the case of a forced landing. For damages caused by a forced landing, however, the owner or lessee of the aircraft or spacecraft or the aeronaut or astronaut shall be liable, as provided in s. 114.05.

 

114.045 Limitation on the operation of drones.

(1) No person may operate a drone, as defined in s. 114.105 (1) (a), over a state correctional institution, as defined in s. 301.01 (4), including any grounds of the institution.

(2) Any person who violates sub. (1) may be required to forfeit not more than $5,000.

(3) A law enforcement officer investigating an alleged violation of sub. (1) shall seize and transfer to the department of corrections any photograph, motion picture other visual representation, or data that represents a visual image that was created or recorded by a drone during an alleged violation of sub. (1).

114.105  Local regulation. 

(1) In this section:

(a) Drone” means a powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. A drone may be expendable or recoverable.

(b)Political subdivision” means a city, village, town, or county.

(2) A political subdivision may adopt any ordinance in strict conformity with the provisions of this chapter and impose the same penalty for violation of any of its provisions except that an ordinance under this subsection may not provide for the suspension or revocation of pilot or aircraft licenses or certificates and may not provide for imprisonment except for failure to pay any fine which may be imposed.

(3)

(a) If a political subdivision determines that public safety requires that drone operation over an area under the jurisdiction of the political subdivision be limited, subject to par.

(b), the political subdivision may enact an ordinance designating the area as an area over which the operation of a drone is limited and imposing limitations on the operation of drones over the designated area. Subject to par. (b), an ordinance under this section may prohibit any operation of a drone over a designated area. (b) An ordinance under par. (a) may not apply to any of the following:

1. The operation of a drone by the state, an agency of the state, or a public safety agency, as defined in s. 256.35 (1) (g).

2. The operation of a drone with the permission of the owner of the property over which the drone is operated.

(c) If a political subdivision enacts an ordinance under par. (a), the political subdivision shall provide notice reasonably calculated to inform the public of the location of areas over which drone operation is limited. If the political subdivision produces a newsletter for its residents, the political subdivision shall provide notice of the areas affected by an ordinance under par. (a) in the newsletter. If the political subdivision maintains an Internet site, the political subdivision shall maintain a list of locations affected by an ordinance under par. (a) on the Internet site.

(d) A political subdivision may provide a forfeiture of not more than $2,500 for each violation of an ordinance under par. (a).

(4) No political subdivision may enact any ordinance governing aircraft or aeronautics or spacecraft or astronautics contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or federal law.

(5) Every court in which a violation of an ordinance under this section is prosecuted shall make a written report of any conviction, including bail or appearance money forfeiture, to the federal aviation administration.

175.55  Use of drones restricted.

(1) In this section:

(a) “Drone” means a powered, aerial vehicle that carries or is equipped with a device that, in analog, digital, or other form, gathers, records, or transmits a sound or image, that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. A drone may be expendable or recoverable.

(b) “Wisconsin law enforcement agency” has the meaning given in s. 165.77 (1) (c) and includes the department of justice and a tribal law enforcement agency.

(2) No Wisconsin law enforcement agency may use a drone to gather evidence or other information in a criminal investigation from or at a place or location where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy without first obtaining a search warrant under s. 968.12. This subsection does not apply to the use of a drone in a public place or to assist in an active search and rescue operation, to locate an escaped prisoner, to surveil a place or location for the purpose of executing an arrest warrant, or if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the use of a drone is necessary to prevent imminent danger to an individual or to prevent imminent destruction of evidence.

History: 2013 a. 213.

 

941.292  Possession of a weaponized drone.

(1) In this section, “drone” means a powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely. A drone may be expendable or recoverable.

(2) Whoever operates any weaponized drone is guilty of a Class H felony. This subsection does not apply to a member of the U.S. armed forces or national guard acting in his or her official capacity.

History: 2013 a. 213.

942.10  Use of a drone. 

Whoever uses a drone, as defined in s. 175.55 (1) (a), with the intent to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place or location where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy is guilty of Class A misdemeanor. This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer authorized to use a drone pursuant to s. 175.55 (2).

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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.