Today’s investigations have changed thanks to drones. The days of capturing an image from Google Maps are a thing of the past! We use drones when standard surveillance won’t cut it as the drone offers a perspective you would not get with a normal camera. My investigation firm favors the “DJI” drone because it is affordable and easy to fly. I personally buy a few “DJI” drones a year. I buy them used, as I’m not the most adept at flying them (so if I break it, it’s not a big deal), and they produce high quality images.
Criminal Investigations and Drones:
Recently, I used a drone for a criminal investigation to prove my client’s innocence. In this case, my client had a verbal confrontation with a pedestrian at an intersection near McDonald’s. My client drove away and went to the McDonald’s. While my client was in the drive-thru line at the McDonald’s, the pedestrian reappeared and the two had a second verbal confrontation. The pedestrian claimed my client was the aggressor and accused my client of driving after him to harass him, but my drone images proved that the pedestrian went out of his way to follow my client.
I flew the drone 400 feet over the intersection and captured a high-quality image. Then, I mapped out the path the pedestrian walked to get to my client’s car in the McDonald’s drive-thru. With this image, I was able to demonstrate to the district attorney that the pedestrian had to walk 300 feet to reach my client, making it clear that the pedestrian was the aggressor.