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NY Penal Law § 405.14: Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics in the First Degree

July 2, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Eye catching, loud, flashy pyrotechnic displays have become commonplace for a multitude of performances by musicians, dancers, illusionists and other types of entertainers. That said, there have been numerous tragedies where multiple people have been killed or seriously injured because of faulty pyrotechnic materials  or the misuse of pyrotechnics. According to New York Penal Law § 405.10(1)(r), the term “pyrotechnic device” is defined as any device or material that contains a chemical mixture used in the entertainment industry to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration, or detonation. Customarily, the chemical mixture includes solids capable of producing a controlled, self-contained and self-sustained chemical reaction that results in gas, heat, sound, and light. Due to the known dangers connected with the use of pyrotechnics, before you are legally allowed to use pyrotechnics in New York, you must obtain a permit. If you fail to get the appropriate permit for their use and you use them nonetheless, you could be charged with a crime. Under New York Penal Law § 405.14 you could face prosecution for unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree if you commit the offense of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree as defined in New York Penal Law § 405.12 and, in the previous 5 years, you have already been convicted of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first or second degree.

For Example

Franco hired a new age rock group to do a show in his nightclub. He did not bother getting a permit that would allow the group to use indoor pyrotechnics, even though a few years before that, he did the same thing and got caught and prosecuted for unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree. If Franco is caught allowing indoor pyrotechnics to be used in his nightclub without a permit again, he could get prosecuted for the crime of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree. The members and managers of the rock group could also face charges for this crime if they have a prior conviction.

Offenses that are Related

Unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 405.12

Possible Defenses

In order to successfully convict you of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree, the prosecutor needs to demonstrate both that you did not have the requisite permit to use them and that you intentionally set off the pyrotechnics. If the prosecutor is not successful in proving intent, or if you did indeed have the proper permit, you cannot be successfully prosecuted for this crime.

The Sentence

Unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree is categorized as a class E felony. If you are convicted of this offense, your sentence could include up to 4 years in prison, 5 years of probation and the payment of a substantial fine.

NY Penal Law § 405.12: Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics in the Second Degree

Pursuant to New York Penal Law § 405.10(1)(r), the term “pyrotechnic device” is defined as any device that contains a chemical mixture used in the entertainment industry to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration, or detonation. Since pyrotechnics are extremely dangerous explosives, requiring training for safe use, New York has regulations in place to govern the use of indoor pyrotechnics. Among these the rules is the requirement that you must have a permit to use any pyrotechnics indoors. If you fail to obtain a permit for use of indoor pyrotechnics, and you use the pyrotechnics anyway, you will be charged with a crime. Under New York Penal Law § 405.12, you could face prosecution for unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree if you use indoor pyrotechnics in the absence of a valid permit, or if you use them without adhering to the requirements of the permit.

An Example

George was the owner of a popular nightclub. In honor of a special celebration on one occasion, he got himself a permit to use pyrotechnics.  His idea was to set off a display during the time that a band would be performing on stage at his club on the upcoming Saturday night. Overly eager to try the fireworks out, George made the decision to begin the celebration early and used some of the pyrotechnics on Friday night as well as on Saturday night. George could be charged with the crime of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree for the use of the pyrotechnics on Friday night.  This is because his permit only authorized the use of the pyrotechnics on Saturday night.

Offenses that are Related

Unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 405.14

Possible Defenses

In order to convict you of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree, the prosecutor needs to demonstrate that you detonated the pyrotechnics intentionally. If you detonated the pyrotechnics was an accident and you can prove this, you cannot be successfully prosecuted for this offense.

The Sentence

Unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree is categorized as a class A misdemeanor. If you get convicted of this crime, your sentence may consist of up to 1 year in jail, 3 years of probation and you may be ordered to pay a fine.

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