Drone Laws in New Jersey Explained (2023 Regulations)


Navigating the intricate world of drone laws in New Jersey requires a thorough understanding of the evolving regulations established by federal, state, and local authorities. Both commercial and hobbyist drone operators in the state must familiarize themselves with the legal framework that governs their aerial activities. 

By staying informed and adhering to the applicable guidelines, drone enthusiasts can responsibly enjoy the exciting possibilities offered by unmanned aircraft systems in the Garden State.

Can You Fly a Drone in New Jersey?

Yes, you can fly a drone in New Jersey, but you must comply with federal guidelines from the FAA as well as state and local drone laws. 

Federal Drone Laws in New Jersey

Federal Drone Laws in New Jersey

All drone pilots in New Jersey must adhere to federal drone laws outlined by the FAA. Here’s a breakdown of the federal drone rules:

Commercial Drone Use

Commercial drone operation includes any UAS use for the purpose of making a profit. To fly a drone for commercial purposes in NJ, you must:

Recreational Drone Operation

Recreational drone flyers in New Jersey must:

Government Employee Drone Operation

All government employees in New Jersey, including fire department personnel and police officers, must adhere to the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA) to operate drones for official purposes.

Note: Drone regulations can change over time, and it is important to stay updated with the latest guidelines and laws. This article provides general information and should not replace legal counsel or official sources of information. For specific inquiries or detailed guidance, consult the FAA, state authorities, or legal professionals knowledgeable in drone laws.

State Drone Laws in New Jersey

State Drone Laws in New Jersey

The New Jersey Legislature created state-wide laws for drone operations. Important laws to note include:

  • SB 3370 // 2017
    • Dictates drone use should adhere to federal laws
    • Bans on using drones to endanger life or property 
    • Makes it a crime to interfere with a first responder using a drone. 
    • Defines drone operation under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a disorderly person offense. 
    • Makes it a fourth-degree crime to intentionally use a drone to endanger safety or security at a correctional facility. 
    • Establishes that local governments cannot interfere with this law
  • New Jersey State Park Service Policy // 2015
    • Drone use in New Jersey State Park lands is banned, unless the operator gets prior approval. 

Local Drone Laws in New Jersey

Local Drone Laws in New Jersey

Specific areas in New Jersey also have local ordinances regulating drone operations. A few notable local drone laws include:

Ramapo Indian Hills—Municipal Law // 2016Drones are banned on or above school grounds in this municipality. 
Bernards Township—Municipal Law // 2015Drones cannot be operated over any city park or recreation facility. 
Chatham Township—Municipal Ordinance // 2015Drone operation is banned in public airspace below 400 feet. 
City of Ventnor—Municipal Ordinance // 2016You cannot launch or land a drone on government buildings, public parks, or city property. 
East Bay Regional Parks—Municipal Ordinance // 2016You cannot operate a drone within 500 feet of any East Bay District Park. 
Borough of Franklin Lakes—Municipal Ordinance // 2016Drone operation is banned in any airspace below 400 feet, and drone flying over private property requires prior approval. 
Passaic County—County Ordinance // 2019To fly a drone on park property, you need a permit from the Passaic County Parks Department. 
Middlesex County—County OrdinanceDrone operation is banned in Middlesex County parks aside from the designated areas. 
Wayne Township—Township Code // 1989Drone operation is not permitted within 400 feet of the township structures or public grounds. 
Long Beach Township—Township Code // 2015Drones cannot operate in any airspace under 400 feet from the ground and township structures. 
Palisades Interstate Park Commission—Park Ordinance // 2019 You cannot operate a drone on any property owned by the commission. 
Essex County—Park Ordinance // 2020Drone operation is prohibited in any county-owned property. 

Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey Drone Law Penalties

Violating a drone law in New Jersey can lead to civil and/or criminal penalties. The exact penalty depends on the particular law and level of offense. A few examples of penalties you can face for violating a drone law in New Jersey includes:

Disorderly person offense- up to $1000 fine and 6 months in jail 

  • Using a drone to endanger life or property 
  • Operating a drone with a BAC over .08% or under the influence of drugs 

Fourth-degree crime- Up to $10,000 fine and 18 months in jail 

  • Intentionally endangering the security or safety at a correctional facility with drone operation 

FAQ for Drone Laws in New Jersey

Can I fly a drone at a state park in New Jersey?

No, you cannot fly a drone in a New Jersey state park unless you get prior approval. 

Can I fly a drone over private property in New Jersey?

Yes, you can fly a drone over private property in New Jersey if you adhere to all drone laws and respect the privacy of the property owner. Note that certain local jurisdictions may restrict drone use over private property. 

Are there any no-fly zones in New Jersey?

 Yes, there are no-fly zones in New Jersey, including airports, correctional facilities, state parks, and more. Always check your area before flying. 

Do I need insurance to fly a drone in New Jersey?

Yes, you need insurance to fly a drone in New Jersey if you are a filmmaker. However, you do not need insurance to fly a drone for recreational purposes.

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