New Jersey’s New Drone Legislation
Do you own a drone? Enjoy flying your remote aircraft in your free time? Then you need to understand the Garden State’s new drone flying regulations. In January 2018, before leaving office, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that criminalizes the misuse of drones. The bill – S3370 – addresses operating a drone under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as operating a drone near a prison.
Drones use sees rapid growth
The popularity of flying drones – unmanned aircraft devices – has grown rapidly nationwide, and has become an increasingly common hobby. Used for recreation, aerial photography, business use, package delivery, and monitoring crop health, drones now outnumber piloted planes in New Jersey. Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required individuals to register drones, more than 770,000 drone registrations have been filed in the United States. The FAA estimates that by 2021, the number of small hobbyist drones in the United States will reach 3.55 million. In addition, the number of commercial drone pilots has also surged: the FAA reports that more than 59,000 certificates have been granted in the United States for flying drones commercially.
New Jersey’s new drone bill
Under the bill signed by former Governor Christie, an individual found operating a drone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face up to six months in prison in addition to a fine of $1,000. Using a drone to hunt wildlife, or endanger a person or property brings the same penalties. In addition, it is illegal to operate a drone in or near prisons or jails, or in such a way that interferes with first responders.
Blood alcohol concentration
The legal standard for being considered “under the influence” of alcohol is the same as New Jersey’s threshold for driving under the influence (DUI): a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Flying drones while under the influence of “a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug” is also banned.
Have questions about the new drone bill? We can help
Flying drones is a great source of fun for hobbyists. In some cases, flying an unmanned aircraft can put others at risk and violate laws. If you are a drone enthusiast who has found yourself facing charges or if you have questions regarding New Jersey’s new drone legislation, give us a call. At Lomurro Law, our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in all aspects of New Jersey criminal law, at both the state and federal levels. Our team includes two retired Superior Court Judges and one former Monmouth County Prosecutor, and we help New Jersey families facing all kinds of charges, including violating drone flying laws. Contact a member of our team today at 732-482-9285 or online to schedule a consultation; we are happy to answer your questions. Lomurro Law has convenient office locations in Freehold and East Brunswick.