A-- Hat drone owner/pilot

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Pilot-34

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Because the potential consequences of the drone operator’s behavior stupidly interfered with law enforcement, put peoples’ lives at risk and did damage to two vehicles. Fines are not issued relative to an offender’s income or wealth, but to the offense.
Not always true.



Do you support fining DUI drivers based on their income?
BJC
Of course I do it’s just simply not logical to do it any other way.
 

Pilot-34

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See post 76. Full restitution to all parties harmed by his recklessness, probation terms to prohibit further drone ops for an extended period (likely would be statutorily limited to the max jail term he faced: 1 year).
Your answer is non-responsive to my question.
Let me repeat my question again ; ; how big a FINE do you think is appropriate?
 

Vigilant1

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Your answer is non-responsive to my question.
Let me repeat my question again ; ; how big a FINE do you think is appropriate?
IMO, your original question was gratuitously rude and intrusive. I'll continue to ignore those parts

To start, I think the defendant wasn't charged appropriately. According to the cognizant US attorney's office, the offender was only charged with "one count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft." This is well short of the offense. "Unsafe" only requires that the operation was negligent. If press reports are accurate, the defendant's drone operations clearly go beyond "negligent' and were reckless. He deliberately flew the drone to where he heard and saw the helicopter. In addition to his reckless operation of the drone, he could/should have been charged with interference in the ongoing public safety activity, just as if he'd driven his car over to that pharmacy parking lot (hampering police access) and then went up to the door to "see what the commotion was about".
I'd have preferred he spend 30 days in the county lockup, pay full restitution for the damaged public and private property, and face a 5 year prohibition from operations of drone or model aircraft (control line models excepted). I fully appreciate that this is inconsistent with general sentencing trends.
 
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Rhino

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Of course I do it’s just simply not logical to do it any other way.
Actually it's pretty much impossible to do it by income. Legal statutes specify the crimes, their varying severities, and the appropriate punishments relative to their severities. Introducing income into the mix would make it nearly impossible to specify particular punishments in the statutes themselves, and subject the court system to an almost endless parade of defense lawyers trying to argue "need" or "damage" for their client. The court system would start running in almost endless circles like they do with inmates on death row. It takes many, many years to actually execute someone sentenced to the death penalty, almost entirely because you have lawyers endlessly arguing these very things, that the punishment and/or hardship is too severe, and income is most definitely one of those factors. You can't simply punish people according to their income though. There would no longer be equal justice under the law, and you would incentivize crimes by people in lower income classes.

Keep in mind though, that criminal statutes almost always specify a range of punishments, along with minimums, or maximums. Usually we see that written as 'up to x years in prison' and 'up to $xx in fines'. That gives the court the leeway to choose the most appropriate punishments according to the severity of the crime and the impact of the punishment. And they do in fact sometimes limit fines due to monetary hardship, but rarely on the part of the criminal. It's usually only if the hardship would cause tangible and articulable harm to their relatives, etc., but it's not commonly done because people are supposed to pay their own fines, which is as it should be.

I see what you're getting at, and it's a noble gesture. A $500 fine isn't anywhere near of a deterrent to a millionaire as it is to someone making minimum wage. It's the old, 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their need' principle. But circumstances like that are exactly why judges are given the leeway to specify punishments at different points within the allowed range, and that's what they usually do. Keep in mind that prosecutors also have leeway in these circumstances. The FAA crime is federal, but you have to remember that the federal charge we're discussing here is only for the illegal operation of the drone. You can be sure the local DA will step in with other charges in appropriate circumstances. A charge of reckless endangerment, or other more serious offenses could be on the plate. If the drone operator damages property or injures people, or even operates in a manner that could potentially cause those things, you can be sure the local authorities will charge him with heftier crimes that carry heftier punishments.

Oh, and that noble principle of "from each according to his ability.." didn't work out so well for the Soviet Union, North Korea or any of the other countries who adopted the communist principles of Karl Marx, who is the one who actually coined that phrase.

But I'll tell you what. One of my cousins was killed by a drunk driver when she was 17. I'd have been happy to set up an appointment for you with my aunt, were she still alive, to explain why you feel the drunk driver deserved less punishment because he was poor. I'd have wanted to document that event on video. It would have been great entertainment.
 
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Pilot-34

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You guys are funny people you don’t want to address the question I had and seem to think my question was the answer to some other question.
So to answer your unasked question of course I think People and corporations should pay full restitution for their actions. Right up to the point where it kills them.
As far as fines I think they need to be about equal pain and deterance.

Bill gates can park anywhere he wants and buy a new car if his is towed.
I know other people that if the meter expires the $5 fine will cause real hardship.

Ask everyone how big do you think the fine should be? And what percentage of your income is that?
 

Pilot-34

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We are discussing a specific case.
We fundamentally disagree.


BJC
Do you suppose that’s because you are a wealthy man and enjoy the benefits that accrue from the fact that most crimes fines and punishments were designed to deter poor people?

For instance how would you feel if the fine had been three times your yearly disposable income?
 

Appowner

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Lew

Why do you say that ? Do you know the guy are you familiar with his situation?
How big a fine would you say is appropriate and so we can relate what is your yearly income?
The FAA is capable of levying a fine up to $27,000 for sUAS violations. A civil or criminal court can no doubt levy more if warranted. If the circumstance is shown to be accidental I would support a minimum fine. But if it was through stupidity I say throw the book at them. Regardless what it does to them financially. There is no room for stupidity when lives hang in the balance.
 
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