California Drone Laws (2020)

These laws are in addition to FAA Laws and Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Rules

This is for information purposes only please consult all federal and local laws before flying. Below is a list of California drone laws to follow while flying in California State. Please also check county and city laws in addition to these to ensure compliance with all laws. We have included major California county drone laws below. If planning to fly your drone at a park or beach please know whether it is county or city owned to follow the correct regulation.

SB-1355 Unmanned aircraft systems: correctional facilities

4577. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), a person who knowingly and intentionally operates an unmanned aircraft system on or above the grounds of a state prison, a jail, or a juvenile hall, camp, or ranch is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500).

AB-1680 Crimes: emergency personnel

SECTION 1. Section 402 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

  1. 402. (a) (1) Every person who goes to the scene of an emergency, or stops at the scene of an emergency, for the purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel, or military personnel coping with the emergency in the course of their duties during the time it is necessary for emergency vehicles or those personnel to be at the scene of the emergency or to be moving to or from the scene of the emergency for the purpose of protecting lives or property, unless it is part of the duties of that person’s employment to view that scene or those activities, and thereby impedes police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel or military personnel, in the performance of their duties in coping with the emergency, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, a person shall include a person, regardless of his or her location, who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone that is at the scene of an emergency.

 
A person shall not operate model airplanes, boats or crafts except in areas designated for such use, and subject to all rules and regulations contained in such written permission.
 

No person shall operate any model airplane, boat, helicopter, or similar craft in, on, or over any beach or the Pacific Ocean except in an area that may be established and/or designated for such use by the Director, and subject to all rules and regulations pertaining to such area.

No person shall possess or operate any radio-controlled or other remotely operated model, toy or similar device, including but not limited to cars, boats, rockets, airplanes or gliders, in any park, beach or recreational area except in areas designated and under conditions established by the Director. Any person convicted of violating this subsection shall be guilty of an infraction.

No person shall possess or operate any radio-controlled or other remotely operated model, toy or similar device, including but not limited to cars, boats, rockets, airplanes or gliders, in any designated park, except in areas and under conditions designated and posted by a consenting owner or operator. A consenting owner or operator may cause signs pursuant to this section to be erected and maintained at appropriate locations. All such signs shall include a reference to this section as follows: “OCCO Sec. 2-5-242.”

Any person convicted of violating this subsection shall be guilty of an infraction.

12.28.010 – Prohibitions (County Parks)

19. To discharge a firearm, or play or engage in model airplane flying, driving of golf balls, archery, or any game of a hazardous nature, except at such location as shall be specifically set apart and authorized by the county or district for such purpose;

 
(b) Except as expressly and directly authorized by applicable law, without a Valid Permit issued by the Director authorizing such use, no person shall launch or land a Drone, aircraft, or personal air vehicle within any Park Area or on any structure, facility, or equipment located within any
 

(a) No person shall engage in any activity, or operate any device, Drone, Motorized Device, Motor Vehicle, Vessel, Model Craft, Electric Bicycle, bicycle or cycle of any type or design in such a manner, that endangers any person, wildlife, or property or that is negligent, reckless, or with willful or intentional disregard for the environment or the health, safety, or welfare of any person or property.

(b) A person who violates or fails to comply with any part of this section or subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(a) No person shall drive, operate, or propel any device, Drone, Motorized Device, Motor Vehicle, Vessel, or Model Craft of any type or design:

(1) On any trail or in any Park Area unless designated for such use by the Director, or by Valid Permit issued by the Director; or

(2) With respect to any Motor Vehicle, Vessel, or Motorized Devices, on any Park road where Motor Vehicles, Vessels, or other Motorized Devices are prohibited, with the exception of authorized vehicles or Valid Permit issued by the Director.

(a) No unauthorized device, Drone, Motorized Device, Motor Vehicle, Vessel, Model Craft, bicycle, Electric Bicycle, Motorized Bicycle, or cycle of any type or design shall be left standing, whether attended or unattended, in the following areas:

(1) In any Park Area after posted park hours.

(2) At any time on any trail or in any area not expressly designated for such use.

(3) At any time in front of a public or private road or driveway entrance.

(4) In any limited parking area for a period of time longer than the posted limit.

(5) At any time in any passenger or commercial loading zone.

8.80.200 – Noise disturbances—Acts specified

I. Powered model vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of powered model vehicles:

1. Between the hours of seven p.m. and seven a.m. the following day so as to create a noise disturbance across a residential or commercial real property line or at any time to violate the provisions of Sections 8.80.150 or 8.80.170,

2. In such a manner as to exceed the levels set forth in Table A in Section 8.80.160 measured at a distance not less than one hundred feet (100′) (thirty (30) meters) from any point on the path of a vehicle operating on public space or public right-of-way;

No person shall operate in any park, any model airplane, boat, car, rocket or other device that is powered by a rocket motor, an internal combustion engine, or other power source, except in an area and at such times as are designated for such use by the director of the department of recreation, parks and community services.

SEC. 5-502. – PROHIBITED ACTS IN PARKS

(l) Play or practice golf or archery, or fly motor driven model aircraft in any park except in areas specifically designated and posted for such purpose.

A. Unless specifically authorized, no person shall drive or propel any automobile, truck, dune buggy, motorcycle, motor scooter, or any other motor powered vehicle, within any park, except upon the roads, driveways, pathways and/or parking lots, provided and designated by the Community Services Department for such use. Persons shall not ride or drive any horse or other animal within park areas unless authorized to do so by the Director of Community Services or as otherwise provided by this chapter.

Many County and cities have their municipal codes here. Make sure to search for model aircraft, model airplane and drone to encompass all terms used in local regulations.