For the first time in Miami Dade history, the use drone footage was approved by a judge as viable evidence in a case involving a drug dealer. The narcotics detectives in Miami-Dade needed a way to look into the operation of a suspected armed drug dealer. After getting pre-approval from the judge, they used a drone to capture the footage leading to the arrest of Andre “Dread” Scott who was selling cocaine to an undercover informant in his yard.
Florida’s Drone Laws for Law Enforcement
Situations like this one are the reason lawmakers in Florida are reassessing the use of drones as evidence in their cases. Drones are being purchased more and more by law enforcement departments around the country. “In 2018, over 900 agencies in the United States, mostly law enforcement, had bought the small aerial vehicles, according to The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College,” says an article in the Miami Herald.
Currently when it comes to drones, Florida Law states that police drones can only be used to “prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property,” search for a missing person, prevent a terrorist attack or stop the “the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence.”
The Future of Law Enforcement Drones
As of this moment, the Miami-Dade police department has eight drones that are used to observe crime scenes without tampering evidence. A bill that would allow them to be used to investigate deeper into cases like Scott’s drug dealing is on the table. If this bill is passed, then it means that law enforcement would be able to use drones to record outdoor crime and traffic scenes, as well as assist in monitoring crowds of 50 people or more, without a warrant – as this is said to be similar to having a police guard stationed to watch over the area.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges due to evidence that was collected using a drone or any other kind of law enforcement stake out, getting the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital for your case. Consider giving Russell Spatz a call today at 305-442-0200 to see how he can help to represent you.
Ovalle, David. “From above, Miami-Dade Police Drone Recorded Crack Cocaine Sale Live. It’s a First, Cops Say.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald, 16 Jan. 2020, www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article239246988.html.