North Dakota UAS Laws
Note on Federal vs State Laws:
Federal airspace laws take precedence over state drone laws. If a state or local law directly conflicts with FAA regulations, the state or local law is likely to be invalidated.
“Unmanned aerial vehicle” means any aerial vehicle that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention within or on the aerial vehicle. The term does not include satellites.
“Unmanned aerial vehicle system” means an unmanned aerial vehicle and associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aerial vehicle, which are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in state airspace.
“Flight data” means imaging or other observation recording.
“Flight information” means flight duration, flight path, and mission objective.
29-29.4-02. Limitations on use of unmanned aerial vehicle system.
Information obtained from an unmanned aerial vehicle is not admissible in a prosecution or proceeding within the state unless the information was obtained:
- Pursuant to the authority of a search warrant; or
- In accordance with exceptions to the warrant requirement.
29-29.4-03. Warrant requirements.
A warrant for the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle must satisfy the requirements of the Constitution of North Dakota. In addition, the warrant must contain a data collection statement that includes:
- The persons that will have the power to authorize the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle;
- The locations in which the unmanned aerial vehicle system will operate;
- The maximum period for which the unmanned aerial vehicle system will operate in each flight; and
- Whether the unmanned aerial vehicle system will collect information or data about individuals or groups of individuals
Does not prohibit any use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance during the course of:
- Patrol of national borders.
- Exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances exist when a law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that absent swift preventative action, there is an imminent danger to life or bodily harm.
- An environmental or weather-related catastrophe.
- Research, education, training, testing, or development efforts undertaken by or in conjunction with a school or institution of higher education within the state and its political subdivisions, nor to public and private collaborators engaged in mutually supported efforts involving research, education, training, testing, or development related to unmanned aerial vehicle systems or unmanned aerial vehicle system technologies and potential applications.
29-29.4-05. Prohibited use.
- A law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with any lethal weapons.
- This chapter prohibits any use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for:
- Domestic use in private surveillance. A law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an unmanned aerial vehicle to permit any private person to conduct surveillance on any other private person without the express, informed consent of that other person or the owner of any real property on which that other private person is present.
- Surveillance of the lawful exercise of constitutional rights, unless the surveillance is otherwise allowed under this chapter.
29-29.4-06. Documentation of unmanned aerial vehicle use.
The person authorized to conduct the surveillance must document all use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance. The person shall document all surveillance flights as to duration, flight path, and mission objectives.