Updated 12/16/2015

Effective December 21st, all drones not covered under COA’s (government) and 333’s (commercial) must be registered with FAA. Basically this covers all hobbyist and their drone. Penalties for piloting drones without a valid registration displayed, include civil and unlike times past….also include criminal penalties under Federal Code. Civil fines range up to $27,500.00, and criminal is up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.

To make things simple, the FAA has constructed an online portal for registration and for the first thirty days, registration is free. Afterwards, registration will cost $5.00 per drone registered. To register drones, pilots can go to: http://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/

This new registration does not directly affect law enforcement in that law enforcement drones should already be covered under COA's and now 333 exemptions.  However, it does give law enforcement tools to help identify drone operators in the case of misuse and accidents.  

For additional information about this new drone registration, please visit FAA's FAQ page at https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/  This FAQ page answers some general, but important questions.  For specific law enforcement questions and resources, please visit: https://www.faa.gov/uas/law_enforcement/

Initial Press Conference

For both commercial and law enforcement usage of drones, it’s likely that little will change reference the recent announcement of drone registration, as they both are already required to register under 333 and COA associated rules. However, for all others there will be and, its likely this new approach will give law enforcement tools for identifying individuals that criminally misuse drones.  

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