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The Law Enforcement Drone Association is a resource for training and standards regularly obtaining legal updates from those in a position to disseminate information about legislation related to the use and purchase of drones, case law related to government search and seizure laws.  We also are made aware or are involved in the education of legislators writing state laws defining how law enforcement agencies may or may not be permitted to use drones.  As more and new information becomes available, we will update the respective sections of this page with legal information to help you decide how you can either participate or get involved in the formation of legislation for your state or at the federal level.  We will also post new law passed that dictate how you may use drones for your operations as those laws are passed.  If you know about a law or bill that has passed or is about to be passed and it is not posted on this page, please let us know at and we will do our best to post it in a timely manner.  Thank you and please be diligent in educating yourself and your team on this information as the misuse of drones could put our entire ecosystem at risk if done negligently.  Remember LEDA's Rule #1....

DISCLAIMER - LEDA is drone agnostic and does not promote one drone company over another.  We exist to create and implement best practices and standards of training for the use of drones in law enforcement.  We have a solid pulse on the drone market and what our members and their programs are using to effectively operate drones in the public safety sector.  We partner with any and all drone manufacturers and software developers that wish to put their products in the hands of end users in the public safety market and help improve the industry and quality of life of our communities.  Currently, DJI is a sponsor of LEDA, as are their competitors and the ones pushing legislative efforts to ban DJI and Chinese drones altogether.  At the end of the day, this is our opinion on the matter:  We merely want our members to be able to choose which drone best suits their needs and the needs of their agency, community and mission and not have the government dictate which platforms they HAVE to use.  We are not a partner with the Drone Advocacy Alliance, but recommend visiting their site if you wish to get involved and voice your opinions to your representatives in both the House and Senate, as well as state legislators.


Updated July 3rd, 2024

Countering CCP Drones Act

House bill HR 2864, the Countering CCP Drones Act (CCCPDA) was introduced into the House earlier this year as a standalone bill by Rep Elise Stefanik (R-NY).  The bill was written to place DJI specifically on the FCC Covered Entities list, which would prohibit DJI from obtaining new FCC licensing on future models from DJI.  It has been speculated that this bill could be retroactive and allow for the revocation of current FCC licenses for drones already in use in the US.  It is not know how the retroactivity would be enforced if enacted.  We believe it would basically outlaw DJI drones and the government could then pressure current drone owners to "turn in" their newly unlawful drones.  We do not believe the drones would just cease to function.  That said, this bill would essentially prohibit DJI from obtaining FCC licenses for future DJI models, meaning the drones would not be able to communicate with the radio controllers needed to operate them.  

The effects of this bill go beyond public safety and bleed well into the commercial and hobby drone market.  There would no longer be future innovation from DJI, which leads the drone industry in many categories.  If this bill were to pass, we believe there would be a staggering fallout in the drone ecosphere due to the fact that, at this time and potentially for years to come, alternatives to DJI from US or allied drone companies are not capable of being produced at scale or the demand that this bill would create.  Furthermore, the consumer market would be gutted, as there really isn't a consumer drone manufacturer that produces drones at the scale and capability that DJI does.  Once the consumer drone models from DJI are end of life, the ability to purchase consumer drones would be impossible.  We do not believe it is feasible for a new company, or an existing enterprise drone manufacturer to begin to create and produce at scale a consumer drone model to compete in the next 5+ years.  

In the last two weeks, the language of the CCCPDA was introduced into the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2025 in the House Armed Services Committee.  This is a tactic by the bill sponsor to insert and get a vote on a bill they don't feel confident would make it to the floor for a vote.  NDAA must be voted on each year and it's a way to get language enacted into law without it having to stand alone and obtain enough votes to pass.  This is the exact same way the language from the American Security Drone Act (ASDA) was enacted into law last year.  Whether the language stays in the bill or not is yet to be seen.  It is also possible the language stays in, but gets changed or watered down quite a bit.  

There is no companion bill to the CCCPDA in the Senate yet, nor has the language been introduced into the Senate NDAA yet.  Once that occurs, passing would be in short order, according to our sources.  It is rumored recently that Senator Tester (D-MT) may be introducing a companion bill that would also include a FCC ban on drones with technology license by DJI.  This language would encompass Anzu Robotics, as they are manufacturing drones and tech license by DJI, although they are an American company and manufacturing in Malaysia, an allied country.

Drones for First Responders Act

House bill HR 8416, the Drones for First Responders Act (DFR Act), was just recently introduced into the House as another standalone bill by Rep Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and we are told it will run in parallel to the CCCPDA. The bill was place tariffs on any drone imported into the US that has any of the following components manufactured in China:

Flight controller, radio, data transmission device, camera, gimbal, ground control system, operating software, network connectivity hardware, or data storage...

The money generated from the tariffs would fund a grant to assist first responders, farm and agriculture, and critical infrastructure to transition to US made drones.  The DFR Act tariffs would start at 30% the first year (DJI is already tariffed at 25%) and would rise by 5% every year for 5 years.  The last year would be a $100 tariff plus 50%.  Lastly, starting in 2030, there would be an all out ban on the import of Chinese drones.  

So far, there has not been much movement on this bill as a standalone and there also has not been any mention of any of this language being introduced into NDAA on either side.  No companion bill has been produced for the Senate to date.


Updated July 3rd, 2024

State of Ohio v. Stevens

Ohio Fifth Appellate Court


A felony hit and run occurred where the driver of the suspect vehicle critically injured the victim and fled.  The investigating detective, who was not reported in the case to be licensed with the FAA, tracked down the registered owner and utilized a drone to fly over the suspect's large and open acreage to observe the suspect vehicle parked deep into the property.  The suspect was arrested for multiple felonies and convicted at trial.  The case was upheld in the Appellate court on appeal.


On March 27, 2021, a motor vehicle accident occurred on State Route 751 in Coshocton County, near the intersection with Township Road 250. The victims were traveling northbound on State Route 751 when they were struck by a dark-colored sedan traveling southbound, which crossed the center line of travel. The victims suffered life-threatening injuries. The dark-colored sedan fled the scene of the accident.

Police officers investigating the accident collected debris from the scene. After examining the paint transfer from the vehicles involved in the crash, they determined the dark-colored sedan was a black 2016-2018 Nissan Altima.  A data base search of the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Department revealed deputies had contact with a 2016-2018 Nissan Altima about a month prior to the accident. Appellant was the registered owner of the vehicle. Detective Seth Andrews learnedAppellant lived at 7705 Euga Road in Guernsey County, near the scene of the accident.

Det. Andrews decided to fly a drone over the property encompassing 7705 Euga Road out of concern the Nissan was being scrapped at the location in order to hide evidence. On March 30, 2021, Det. Andrews traveled to a location adjacent to the 7705 Euga Road address, approximately 200 yards north of the primary driveway to the property. The day was clear and sunny.  Det. Andrews launched a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drone in an effort to find the black Nissan. The detective had two days of training and had logged approximately 1,600 minutes of flight time with the specific drone used on March 30. The drone had a camera similar to the type of camera found on a cell phone. The maximum altitude for the drone is 400 feet, or Class G airspace, as designated by the FAA.

Det. Andrews preset the drone to a maximum altitude of 396 feet. He operated the drone over the propertyat altitudes between 300 and 396 feet, taking pictures of the property. The pictures showed several acres of property, partially wooded, with two driveways. The property included a two-story house, a garage, and a number of vehicles in various stages ofdisrepair near a fire pit. The photos showed a black Nissan Altima in the wooded area behind the home and behind the fire pit, approximately 280 feet from the residence and 80 feet from a neighboring parcel of real estate. A closeup shot of the vehicle showed it was missing a door, and other parts were on the ground near the vehicle and near a burn pile. The vehicle was not covered, and the trees were defoliated because it was still winter, providing no coverage for the vehicle from the air. The information obtained from the drone search was used to obtain a search warrant for the property.

Appellant was indicted by the Coshocton County Grand Jury ontwo counts of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, two counts of vehicular assault, and one count of tampering with evidence. The two charges of failure to stop at the scene of an accident were indicted as felonies rather than misdemeanors because the indictment included additional allegations the accident resulted in “serious physical harm to a person.”

Appellant filed a motion to suppress, arguing the warrantless drone search of the property was unconstitutional. Following a hearing, the trial court overruled the motion, finding the vehicle was not within the curtilage of the home and was therefore subject to the “open fields” doctrine, in which Appellant didnot have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The trial court held even if the open fields doctrine did not apply in this case, the search was not unconstitutional because the officer was operating the drone in public navigable airspace in a nonintrusivemanner, which does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Appellant did not raise the issue of Det. Andrew’s lack of a license to fly the drone in her motion to suppress, nor did the trial court consider the issue. “It is well-settled law that issues not raised in the trial court may not be raised for the first time on appeal because such issues are deemed waived.” Columbus v. Ridley, 2015-Ohio-4968, 50 N.E.3d 934, 28 (10th Dist.), quoting State v. Barrett, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 11AP-375, 2011-Ohio-4986, 2011 WL4489169, 13; see State v. Comen, 50 Ohio St.3d 206, 211, 553 N.E.2d 640 (1990). This principle also applies to arguments not asserted either in a written motion to suppress or at the suppression hearing. Id. We find Appellant cannot assert her argument Det. Andrews was not properly licensed to fly the drone for the first time on appeal, as the State did not have the opportunity to demonstrate compliance with licensing requirements and the trial court did not have an opportunity to consider the issue.

​The trial court found the car was not located within the curtilage of the house, and thus the “open fields” doctrine applied; therefore, Appellant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area where the car was found. Accordingly, police were not required to have a warrant to search the wooded area where the car was located, whether such search was by drone or on foot.  “The curtilage is an area around a person's home upon which he or she may reasonably expect the sanctity and privacy of the home. For Fourth Amendment purposes, the curtilage is considered part of the home itself.


”Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 180, 104 S.Ct. 1735, 80 L.Ed.2d 214 (1984). The only areas of the curtilage where officers may lawfully go are those impliedly open to the public, including walkways, driveways, or access routes to the house. State v. Cook, 5th Dist. Muskingum Nos.2010–CA–40, 2010–CA–41, 2011–Ohio–1776, 65, citing State v. Birdsall, 6th Dist. Williams No. WM–09–016, 2010–Ohio–2382,  13. Because the curtilage of a property is considered to be part of a person's home, the right of the police to come into the curtilage is highly circumscribed. State v. Woljevach,160 Ohio App.3d 757, 2005–Ohio–2085, 828 N.E.2d 1015, at 29. “The extent of a home's curtilage is resolved by considering four main factors: (1) the proximity of the area claimed to be curtilage to the home; (2) whether the area is included within an enclosure surrounding the home; (3) the nature of the use to which the area is put; and (4) the steps taken to protect the area from observation by passersby.” State v. Doyle, 5th Dist. No. 16CA05, 2016-Ohio-5742, 70 N.E.3d 981.


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