As of December 1, 2017, it is illegal to fly a drone near a prison in state of North Carolina. "Near" meaning within 250 feet above and 500 feet around a prison. Violators could face a Class 1 misdemeanor and a $500 fine. A drone pilot who attempts to deliver contraband – drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and phones – into such a facility will face a Class 1 felony and a $1,000 fine. For either violation, the state may confiscate the offending drone.
“As drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), become more common, North Carolina’s laws are changing to stay up-to-date with this fast-growing industry,” a spokesperson from the North Carolina Department of Transportation said.
This bill comes as a result of drones delivering contraband into prisons. This scenario is becoming more common and states are looking to do anything to help combat the continuing problem. Drones are a real security challenge for prisons especially when they smuggle weapons, drugs, cell phones, or other contraband into prisons.