New Jersey Drone Laws (2018)


NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

2C:40-27  Definitions relative to operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

  1. a. As used in this act:

“Operate” means to fly, control, direct, or program the flight of an unmanned aircraft system.

“Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft .

“Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft , that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently.

  1. Except as otherwise prohibited by P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27 et al.), a person who is authorized by federal law to operate an unmanned aircraft system may operate an unmanned aircraft system in this State for any purpose, provided that the person operates the unmanned aircraft system in a manner consistent with applicable federal law and regulations.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect federal preemption of State law regarding aviation.

For purposes of this subsection, “person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental entity, or other legal or commercial entity.

  1. An owner or operator of a critical infrastructure, including a political subdivision, may apply to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, pursuant to section 2209 of the “FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016,” Pub.L.114-190, in order to prohibit or restrict the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in close proximity to the critical infrastructure.

Prior to applying to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to prohibit or restrict the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in close proximity to a critical infrastructure, a political subdivision shall hold a minimum of one public hearing, with adequate notice to the public, concerning the proposed application.

L.2017, c.315, s.1.

2C:40-28  Violations, degree of offense, crime.

  1. a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly or intentionally operates as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27) an unmanned aircraft system as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27) in a manner that endangers the life or property of another. In making this determination, the court shall consider the standards for safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems prescribed by federal law or regulation.

b.(1) A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly or intentionally creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or security of a correctional facility by operating an unmanned aircraft system on the premises of or in close proximity to that facility without license or privilege to do so.

(2)   A person commits a crime of the third degree if he knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, or gather information about, a correctional facility without license or privilege to do so.

For purposes of this subsection, “correctional facility” means a jail, prison, lockup, penitentiary, reformatory, training school, or other similar facility within the State of New Jersey.

  1. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly or intentionally operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that interferes with a first responder who is actively engaged in response or actively engaged in air, water, vehicular, ground, or specialized transport.

For purposes of this subsection “first responder” means a law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer firefighter, paid or volunteer member of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance, or rescue squad association, or any other individual who, in the course of his employment, is dispatched to the scene of a motor vehicle accident or other emergency situation for the purpose of providing medical care or other assistance.

  1. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system or uses an unmanned aircraft system to take or assist in the taking of wildlife.
  2. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he operates an unmanned aircraft system while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood.
  3. It shall be a violation of any restraining order issued by the court pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47 (C.2C:12-10.2), section 3 or 4 of P.L.2015, c.147 (C.2C:14-15 or C.2C:14-16), section 12 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28), section 4 of P.L.1999, c.334 (C.2C:35-5.7), or any other court order restraining contact with a person or location, for a person subject to that order to knowingly operate an unmanned aircraft system to fly within a distance of a person or location that would violate that restraining order.
  4. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other law to the contrary, a conviction under this section shall not merge with a conviction of harassment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:33-4, stalking pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10), invasion of privacy pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2003, c.206 (C.2C:14-9), obstructing administration of law or other governmental function pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-1, introducing contraband pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-6, contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 which constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense, or any other criminal offense, even if any other conviction involves the use of an unmanned aircraft system, nor shall the other conviction merge with a conviction under this section.

L.2017, c.315, s.2.

2C:40-29  Provisions preempt existing laws.

  1. The provisions of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27 et al.) shall preempt any law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation adopted by the governing body of a county or municipality concerning the private use of an unmanned aircraft system that is inconsistent with the provisions of this act.

L.2017, c.315, s.5.

2C:40-30  Authorized use permitted.

  1. Nothing in P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27 et al.) shall prohibit the authorized use, in compliance with applicable federal rules and regulations, of an unmanned aircraft system by a public employee or a public entity, or by a first responder in the performance of official duties.

For purposes of this section “first responder” means a law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer firefighter, paid or volunteer member of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance, or rescue squad association, or any other individual who, in the course of his employment, is dispatched to the scene of a motor vehicle accident or other emergency situation for the purpose of providing medical care or other assistance.

L.2017, c.315, s.6.

2C:43-6.4  Special sentence of parole supervision for life.

2.

………..

  1. The special sentence of parole supervision for life required by this section may include reasonable conditions prohibiting or restricting the person’s operation of an unmanned aircraft system in order to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of criminal or delinquent behavior.

 

L.1994, c.130, s.2; amended 2003, c.267, s.1; 2007, c.219, s.3; 2013, c.136, s.2; 2013, c.214, s.4; 2017, c.141, s.5; 2017, c.315, s.3.

23:7A-2  Prevention of lawful taking of wildlife prohibited.

  1. No person may, for the purpose of hindering or preventing the lawful taking of wildlife:
  2. block, obstruct, or impede, or attempt to block, obstruct, or impede, a person lawfully taking wildlife;

b    erect a barrier with the intent to deny ingress to or egress from areas where wildlife may be lawfully taken;

  1. make, or attempt to make, unauthorized physical contact with a person lawfully taking wildlife;
  2. engage in, or attempt to engage in, theft, vandalism, or destruction of personal or real property;
  3. disturb or alter, or attempt to disturb or alter, the condition or authorized placement of personal or real property intended for use in the lawful taking of wildlife;
  4. enter or remain upon public lands or waters, or upon private lands or waters without permission of the owner thereof or an agent of that landowner, where wildlife may be lawfully taken;
  5. make or attempt to make loud noises or gestures, set out or attempt to set out animal baits, scents, or lures or human scent, use any other natural or artificial visual, aural, olfactory, or physical stimuli, or engage in or attempt to engage in any other similar action or activity, in order to disturb, alarm, drive, attract, or affect the behavior of wildlife or disturb, alarm, disrupt, or annoy a person lawfully taking wildlife;
  6. interject himself into the line of fire of a person lawfully taking wildlife; or
  7. operate as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27) an unmanned aircraft system as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27).

Subsections a., b., e., f., g., and i. of this section shall not apply to a law enforcement officer or conservation officer enforcing the laws of this State or any local ordinance, or a private landowner or agent thereof on land or waters owned by that private landowner

L.1993, c.11, s.2; amended 2017, c.315, s.4.

 

New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry issued a policy back in July 8, 2015. I have transcribed it below for the benefit of the readers. The focus of this article is state level laws, not local laws. There could be local laws that additionally apply to drones.

Policy 2.38

SUBJECT:   Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this policy is to ensure that the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle is addressed in a consistent manner on all lands and water administered by the Divisions of Park and Forestry, State park Service.

For the purpose of this policy, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a “drone” or referred to as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft ( RPA), is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as “an aircraft without a human pilot aboard” and is hereinafter reference as UAV.

BACKGROUND: There has been a dramatic increase in the number and use of UAVs in recent years. The increase in the use of these devices has the potential to cause unacceptable impacts such as harming visitors, interfering with emergency operations, causing excessive noise, impacting view sheds, damaging historic resources and critical infrastructure, posing security risks and distributing wildlife.

The policy is necessary to maintain public health and safety within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service and to protect park resources and visitors.

Except for the limited permitted use of fixed-wing model aircraft in several park areas, no other use of aircraft is permitted in NJ State Parks. The use of UAVs on lands and waters administered by the State Park Service is a new use and is not defined in N.J.A.C 7:2-2.22(a)(7) as a “remote controlled model plane or other mechanical device.”

APPLICABILITY: This policy applies to all State Park Service owned or managed properties.

POLICY: The operation of a UAV is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service. Accredited Universities may also request permission for the scheduled operation of a UAV for scientific research projects with a letter signed by the course instructor on official college letterhead. Requests must be made ninety (90) days prior to the intended date of use through a Special Use Permit (SUP), which can be coordinated through the park office. The Superintendent shall outline the safety zone within which only the persons associated with the UAV may be permitted.

Use of a UAV for public emergency operations by the aforementioned agencies, on lands, or waters administered by the State Park Service, will be immediately approved with notification provided to the State park Service, State Park Police, or NJDEP Trenton Dispatch at 1-877-WARNDEP.

State Park Service, State Park Police, State Forestry Services, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife staff will be approved to utilize a UAV for appropriate official use, through the Office of Assistant Director.

All requests to launch, land, or operate a UAV on lands or waters administered by the State Park Service will be adequately evaluated as to the appropriateness of the requested activities and whether the use of a UAV will result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and visitors.

The following will also be considered:

  • Applicability of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NJ Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics and any other applicable regulations for commercial use of a UAV.
  • Potential for injury or damage to park resources or use that would be contrary to the purposes for which the park was established, use that would cause unacceptable impact to the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in wilderness, natural or historic locations within the park.
  • Potential for impact to program actives, visitors services. Or the operation of public facilities or services provided by State Park Service concessionaries or lessees, or present a clear and present danger to public health and safety.
  • Potential to result in significant conflict with other existing uses.

If it is determined that the requested activity is appropriated and compatible with the values and resources of the park, a SUP for launching, land and operating a UAV may be granted. The permit will clearly identify the designated areas(s) where the UAV may be operated within the park. The SUP will also contain appropriate terms and conditions to ensure safe operation of a UAV and mitigate an unacceptable impact o the resources.

In addition to the standard SUP conditions included on all permits, the conditions listed on Exhibit A (attached) will also be required.

This policy is effective immediately

Mark Texel, Director

State Park Service.

Exhibit A.

  • UAV may not disturb or harass wildlife.
  • UAV may not interfere with official law enforcement, fire or medical services, o other emergency operations.
  • UAV will not be flown in a reckless manner or outside the designated area(s).
  • Inexperienced UAV operators must be accompanied and assisted by an experienced operator. Operators must avoid flying directly over people, vessels, vehicles, or structure and must avoid endangering the life and property of others.
  • UAV must be within visual sight to the operator, with no visual aids authorized, at all times during flight.
  • Operator must report all accidents immediately. This includes an accident that may have resulted in injury to any person or thing even if only a minor injury.
  • UAV flights will be restricted to posted park hours of operation.
  • The use of flammable liquids for fueling a UAV is prohibited.

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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.