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Drone Laws in New Jersey (Everything You Need To Know in 2023)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Drone Laws in New Jersey
height flight limit 1

400ft Max Height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Under 100 MPH

plane icon white 1 1

Avoid airports

line of sight law 1

Only line of sight

In order to safely and legally fly your drone in New Jersey, there are several laws and regulations you must be aware of before setting off with your drone. 

Drone operation in New Jersey is broadly governed by the FAA, in this article we’ll look into the different laws regarding drone use.

Can I Fly a Drone in New Jersey?

You may be wondering if you can fly your drone in NJ in the first place, since there are some places in the US that completely ban drones. Drones are allowed in New Jersey for recreational and commercial uses!

They’re however regulated by a myriad of laws and regulations. There are three types of drone laws in New Jersey which we’ll go over in this article.

Starting with the first and general type of laws; federal drone laws.

Federal Drone Laws in New Jersey

Federal laws are laws that apply to every state in the United States, including New Jersey, and were created by the federal government.

I have covered them in-depth in my previous drone laws article, but I’ll briefly go over them here.

There are two types of drone flying: Recreational flying, which means flying for fun, as a hobby. And commercial flying, which according to the FAA is any flying that you’re compensated for (even shooting and selling stock images).

Recreational Flying

In order to fly recreationally, you’ll need to pass a simple online test called the TRUST. Beware of anyone who tries to charge you for it as the FAA requires the test to be free.

If you want to pass the test, my personal recommendation are Uavcoach, they’re an FAA approved test administrator.

You’ll also need to register your drone, which will only cost you $5. Note that once you receive your registration number you have to write it on your drone.

Commercial Flying

In order to fly commercially, i.e receive money from your drone flights, you’ll have to study for and pass the 107 test. I have done a complete guide on that test here.

There are also other conditions that you must fulfill in order to be eligible to fly your drone commercially in New Jersey. You can check them in-depth in my US drone laws article.

The General Federal Laws in New Jersey

Below are the federal drone laws in New Jersey that you’ll have to keep in mind:

  • Do not fly higher than 400ft
  • Do not fly in uncontrolled airspace without a permit (read up more on that here)
  • Always maintain visual line of sight
  • Never interfere with manned aircrafts
  • Do not fly over crowds of people
  • Your drone must be registered with the FAA on the FAADroneZone website.
  • Your maximum drone speed must not exceed 100 mph
  • Your maximum drone weight must be lower than 55 lbs, at takeoff.
  • You cannot fly from a moving vehicle.

This was a general view on the federal drone laws in New Jersey. To fly safely, you’ll need more information and an in-depth view of the current drone laws landscape, check out my previous detailed article about the subject.

State Drone Laws in New Jersey

In addition to federal drone laws, there are state laws that apply only to the state of New Jersey, and were created by its legislature.

There is only one major state law in NJ regarding drone use. Here is the gist of it, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

You can read further on it in this official source but basically, in New Jersey:

  • Owners of critical infrastructures can obtain special permission from the FAA to ban drone flight not only above the property, but also near it.
  • It’s actually a fourth-degree crime to knowingly and intentionally fly your drone close to a correctional facility. The exact distance of proximity is not disclosed, but better to steer clear of them as much as you can.
  • It’s a criminal offense to interfere with a first responder with your drone.
  • Flying your drone in a manner that endangers a person is a criminal offense.
  • And lastly, you’re prohibited from flying your drone while using drugs.

There is also a law that prohibits local governments from over-ruling the laws above, we’ll get into the local laws in the next section.

Local Drone Laws in New Jersey

These local drone laws are laws that only apply to certain cities or regions within the state of New Jersey. They’re created and enforced by the local authorities.

I’ve found quite a few cities and towns in New Jersey that have extra drone laws, let’s go over them one by one.

Essex County

You may not fly your drone within any property owned or managed by the county. According to this ordinance.

Long Beach Town

This township ordinance dictates that you may not fly your drone within any airspace below 400 feet off the ground and structures within the township.

Wayne Town

According to this law, you may not fly your drone within any park area in the town unless it is explicitly stated that drone flight is allowed in certain parks.

Middlesex County

You may not fly your drone in any park area unless it is clearly stated by the director of the County Parks and Recreation that a certain area is open for drone use.

Passaic County

This county’s ordinance prohibits flying within or over parks unless you’ve received permission.

Borough of Franklin Lakes

This city’s ordinance is a little more detailed than the others. Here, you may not fly in any airspace below 400 ft:

  • Over private property, without prior permission from the owner.
  • Over streets.
  • Between dusk and dawn.
  • Over any individual not aware of the flight and not having given their consent.

You can read up more on that here.

East Bay City

Flying within 500 ft of any park here is prohibited.

Ventnor City

Taking off from or landing on any public or government buildings here is prohibited. You should steer clear of those by at least 400 ft.

Chatham Township

This city’s ordinance prohibits using your drone in public airspace below 400 ft. And seeing as you need to get permission from the FAA to fly over 400 ft, it’s a little complicated.

Bernard Town

You may not fly your drone above or close to public parks here.

Ramapo Hills

The laws here are simple, you just have to not use your drone on or above school grounds.

What Happens if You Break the Drone Laws in New Jersey?

Fines are up to the enforcement division, the FAA however will rarely go for the maximum. 

In the case of an accidental first-offense, the FAA will probably just require a temporary suspension of your UAS Airman certificate and remedial training. 

For the more egregious offenses, such as flying in an airport vicinity, expect slightly more serious repercussions.

In conclusion, just make sure you keep the federal laws in mind as they are the most important, and keep in mind to always ask for permission before flying in public parks.

Have fun and fly safely, most of these laws are just common sense.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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