The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office (VPSO) has announced that there have been several complaints made about drones flying too close to private residences and or private property.

Complaints also claim that they see drones flying near properties and residences at night, which is illegal.

The VPSO recently released a statement reminding citizens that there are strict laws in Louisiana regarding drone use.

A drone or an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is defined by the DOTD as “an aircraft without a human pilot on board. The drone is controlled from an operator on the ground. Each drone operator is responsible for understanding and abiding by the rules implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).”

According to state law unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system is defined as either of the following:

The intentional use of an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record a targeted facility without the prior written consent of the owner of the targeted facility. The intentional use of an unmanned aircraft system over the grounds of a state or local jail, prison, or other correctional facility that incarcerates or detains juveniles or adults accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for violations of criminal law without the express written consent of the person in charge of that state or local jail, prison, or other correctional facility.

Those convicted of the crime could face serious fines and up to a year in prison depending on the severity of the offense.

If the drone is unlawfully filming lewd or lascivious acts, that is considered video voyeurism and is a much more serious offense. A video voyeurism conviction could see an offender face up to 10 years in prison.

The statement from VPSO states “Every citizen has a right to privacy in their homes and on their private property and any violation of that privacy will not be tolerated.”

Offenders caught misusing drones will be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law.”