Drone Footage Used in Prostitution Case

prostitution, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyOklahoma City prosecutors recently charged two people with prostitution-related crimes—all thanks to witness-collected drone footage. The precedent setting incident, which occurred in November, is one of the first times in history that authorities have used drone collected footage to prosecute on prostitution-related charges.

Using his drone, a concerned Oklahoma City resident and self proclaimed ‘anti-prostitution activist’ captured footage of a sexual encounter between a local prostitute and a john, and he then turned the footage over to local authorities. County officials were able to use the footage to press charges against both people involved.

Law enforcement officials across the country do not typically employ drones, as laws surrounding the use of drones are still emerging. In most situations, authorities would need a warrant before using a drone to collect footage to be used in a case. However, civilians are able to use drones much more freely. Since it was a citizen that collected and submitted the footage to local officials, charges were able to be pressed against both parties.

Drone footage being used as evidence is a new frontier for law enforcement officials, and laws on the high tech devices are still being formed across the country. Proposed bills in many states have called for tighter restrictions on drone usage, and six states have already passed some type of drone restricting legislation.

Just last spring, Illinois State Police received permission from the FAA (The Federal Aviation Administration) to use unmanned aircrafts to collect footage on car crashes and crime scenes. State officials say the program was not implemented to perform surveillance, but rather to save time on traffic related investigations.

State police worked with lawmakers in Illinois, as well as civil rights groups, to ensure that Illinois’ citizens privacy will not be infringed upon by the new program. In fact, due to the negative connotation surrounding the word ‘drone,’ state authorities are choosing to call their new tactic the Unmanned Aircraft System Program.

Rather than using the drones for crime-related purposes, state officials say the drones will save serious time during car crash investigations: “The ability to obtain accurate measurements and clear images from aerial photographs will significantly reduce the amount of time highways are closed during the initial investigation of major traffic crashes.” While it is unlikely that drone footage will be used anytime soon for prostitution-related purposes in Illinois, the future of drone footage used in relation to criminal activity is still relatively unknown.

Even without drone footage, Illinois officials take prostitution very seriously. Anyone charged with soliciting or engaging in prostitution will likely face very serious consequences. Both parties involved may face felony charges, prison sentences, community service, and serious fines. On top of the legal consequences, prostitution charges can ruin a person’s reputation, and put both his or her personal and professional life at risk.

Prostitution and solicitation charges can ruin lives; however, the qualified team at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney is available to assist you with reducing the consequences. We are skilled at handling a variety of criminal cases. Contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney immediately to learn more about the legal options available to you. Call 312-270-0999 to speak with an attorney today.

Sources:

http://newsok.com/article/5443339

http://www.newson6.com/story/30633708/anti-prostitution-activist-uses-drone-to-catch-people-in-the-act

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/9/illinois-state-police-gets-faa-approval-to-use-dro/

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