Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS
Presentation to LE in NC
This is for NC LE webinar August 2021
US NC LE .pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [37.1 MB]


§ 15A-300.3. Use of a UAS near a confinement or correctional facility prohibited.



Town of Nag's Head -  Ordinance


Chapel Hill - Ordinance


Raleigh Parks and Rec rules


Gaston County Parks and Rec rules


Kannapolis City Code Section 12-31


North Carolina Department of Transportation - Permit for UAS


Drones in the news

Sept 2020 - Walmart begins testing drone deliveries for household goods and groceries




Bill History


Where just the name of the bill or resolution is hyperlinked in black that means that it is not yet law!

Note that bills that are now law are changed to blue font


House Bill (HB) 128 chaptered on July 25, 2017 - prohibits drone use near prisons. Near is defined as a horizontal distance of 500 feet or a vertical distance of 250 feet. NCDOT will place signs marking these boundaries. The law goes into effect Dec. 1.


House Bill (HB) 337 revises existing state drone laws. The language of the law has been changed to clarify that UAS laws will now apply to model aircraft as well. This part of the law also goes into effect on Dec. 1. Model aircraft users are still exempt from the state’s permitting requirements. Other changes in the law serve to streamline North Carolina regulations with federal regulations. The minimum age for getting a commercial permit to operate UAS will now be the age federal law stipulates, which is currently 16. Additionally, people wishing to obtain a commercial permit can use any government-issued form of photo identification allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration. This section of the law became effective immediately. The revisions also loosen restrictions on the use of UAS in emergency management. The law permits emergency management agencies to use drones for all activities related to emergency management and removes the restriction on the use of special imaging technology. The use of technologies such as thermal and infrared was previously only permitted for scientific purposes. The removal of the restriction allows private and commercial operators to assist law enforcement with emergency management efforts such as search and rescue operations.


HB 4

HB 782

SB 622



Senate Bill (SB) 402 (download below) was added to Chapter SL 2013-360 on July 26, 2013.

SB 402 places a moratorium on UAS use by state and local personnel unless the use is approved by the Chief Information Officer for the Department of Transportation (CIO). Any CIO granted exception has to be reported immediately to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology and the Fiscal Research Division. The CIO may determine that there is a need to develop a UAS program within the State of North Carolina. This effort must include the CIO and the Department of Transportation Aviation Division Director.


Adobe Acrobat document [2.3 MB]
Adobe Acrobat document [49.6 KB]

House Bill (HB) 959 in 2015

PART V. UAS TECHNICAL CHANGE SECTION 14.5. G.S. 63-96 reads as rewritten:

"§ 63-96. Permit required for commercial operation of UAS.
(a) No person shall operate a UAS, as defined in G.S. 15A-300.1, in this State for commercial purposes unless the person is in possession of a permit issued by the Division valid for the UAS being operated. Application for the permit shall be made in the manner provided by the Division. Unless suspended or revoked, the permit shall be effective for a period to be established by the Division not exceeding eight years.

(b) No person shall be issued a permit under this section unless all of the following

(1) The person is at least 17 16 years of age. 

(2)  The person possesses a valid drivers license issued by any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.

(3)  The person has passed the knowledge test for operating a UAS as prescribed in G.S. 63-95(b).

(4)  The person has satisfied all other applicable requirements of this Article or federal regulation.



Senate Bill SB 744 (download below) was added to Chapter SL 2013-360 on May 15, 2014.

SB 744 created regulations for the public, private and commercial use of UAS. The new law prohibits any entity from conducting UAS surveillance of a person or private property and also prohibits taking a photo of a person without their consent for the purpose of distributing it. The law creates a civil cause of action for those whose privacy is violated. In addition, the law authorizes different types of infrared and thermal imaging technology for certain commercial and private purposes including the evaluation of crops, mapping, scientific research and forest management. Under the law, the state Division of Aviation is required to create a knowledge and skills test for operating UA.  All agents of the state who operate UAS must pass the Division’s knowledge and skills test. The law enables law enforcement to use UAS pursuant to a warrant, to counter an act of terrorism, to oversee public gatherings, or gather information in a public space. The bill creates several new crimes: using UAS to interfere with manned aircraft, a class H felony; possessing a UA with an attached weapon, a class E felony; the unlawful fishing or hunting with UAS, a class 1 misdemeanor; harassing hunters or fisherman with a UAS, a class 1 misdemeanor; unlawful distribution of images obtained with a UAS, a class 1 misdemeanor for; and operating a UAS commercially without a license, a class 1 misdemeanor.  The law addresses launch and recovery sites of UAS, prohibiting their launch or recovery from any State or private property without consent. In addition the law extends the state’s current regulatory framework, administered by the chief information officer, for state use of UAS from July to December 31, 2015.


On August 25, 2015, the Governor of North Carolina signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 446, that expands the authority of the state's Chief Information Officer to approve the purchase and operation of UAS by the state and modifies the state regulation of UAS to conform to FAA guidelines.

Adobe Acrobat document [1.8 MB]

A Memo from the Director of Aviation in North Carolina

The following document is a summary of the North Carolina regulations concerning UAS, also called drones. These regulations clarify that UAS/Drones are subject to North Carolina law and do not duplicate or interfere with FAA regulations.

Adobe Acrobat document [264.6 KB]
AI TTX Best Practices.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [369.6 KB]
Draft UAS report complete.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [437.4 KB]

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