Drone Laws in the State of Wisconsin
Like Utah, Wisconsin’s SB 196 requires law enforcement to “obtain a warrant before using drones in a place where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Weaponizing a drone is considered a felony.
Wisconsin Senate BILL 196
Hansen, Schultz and L. Taylor, cosponsored by Representatives August,
Kessler, Craig, C. Taylor, Ballweg, Berceau, Born, Czaja, Hebl, Kestell,
Loudenbeck, Murphy, Murtha, Ohnstad, A. Ott, Pope, Sanfelippo,
Shankland, Spiros, Thiesfeldt, Tittl and Tranel. Referred to Committee on
Government Operations, Public Works, and Telecommunications.
2the statutes; relating to: restricting the use of drones and providing a penalty.
vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic vehicle lift, and can
fly autonomously or be piloted remotely.
with video or audio recording equipment to collect evidence or information in a
criminal investigation without first obtaining a search warrant. The bill allows a law
enforcement agency to use a drone without a search warrant if it is necessary to do
so for certain emergency purposes, including to locate an escaped prisoner, to aid in
a search and rescue mission, or to prevent imminent harm to a person or the
imminent destruction of evidence. Under the bill, evidence obtained by a drone in
violation of the law is not admissible in a criminal proceeding.
guilty of a Class H felony, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to six
years, or both. The bill prohibits a person, except a law enforcement officer who has
a search warrant or is acting for a permissible emergency purpose, from using a
drone that is equipped with video or audio recording equipment to photograph,
record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place where the individual has
a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone who does so is guilty of a Class A
misdemeanor, and may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to nine months, or
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to
result if the bill is enacted.
enact as follows:
3except as provided in s. 942.10, flight of or in aircraft or spacecraft over the lands and
4waters of this state is lawful, unless at such a low altitude as to interfere with the
5then existing use to which the land or water, or the space over the land or water, is
6put by the owner, or unless so conducted as to be imminently dangerous or damaging
7to persons or property lawfully on the land or water beneath. The landing of an
8aircraft or spacecraft on the lands or waters of another, without the person’s consent,
9is unlawful, except in the case of a forced landing. For damages caused by a forced
10landing, however, the owner or lessee of the aircraft or spacecraft or the aeronaut or
11astronaut shall be liable, as provided in s. 114.05.
15recording device, as defined in s. 943.49 (1) (c), that does not carry a human operator,
16uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be
17piloted remotely. A drone may be expendable or recoverable.
19(c) and includes the department of justice and a tribal law enforcement agency.
1(2) No Wisconsin law enforcement agency may use a drone to gather evidence
2or other information in a criminal investigation without first obtaining a search
3warrant under s. 968.12. This subsection does not apply to the use of a drone to assist
4in an active search and rescue operation, to locate an escaped prisoner, or if a law
5enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the use of a drone is
6necessary to prevent imminent danger to an individual or to prevent imminent
7destruction of evidence.
10means a powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses
11aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, and can fly autonomously or be piloted
12remotely. A drone may be expendable or recoverable.
14weaponized drone is guilty of a Class H felony.
17to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place where the
18individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy is guilty of Class A misdemeanor.
19This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer authorized to use a drone
20pursuant to s. 175.55 (2).
23or collected in violation of s. 175.55 is not admissible in evidence in any criminal