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NY Penal Law § 405.16: Aggravated Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics in the Second Degree

July 2, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

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 they are not used properly and safely, pyrotechnics can cause serious damage to property as well as cause people injury or death. One of the requirements is that you need to obtain a permit to use any pyrotechnics indoors. If you fail to get the appropriate permit for their use and you use them nonetheless, you could be charged with a crime.  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.  You could be prosecuted under New York Penal Law § 405.16 for aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree if 

  1. you use indoor pyrotechnics without having a permit, or 
  2. if you use them without following the requirements of the permit, 

And

  1. someone sustains physically injuries or 
  2. A minimum of $250 in property is damaged.

For Example

Dino 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. Over eager to try the fireworks out, Dino made the decision to begin the celebration early and used some of the pyrotechnics on Friday night as well as on Saturday night. Regrettably, there was a malfunction with one of the pyrotechnics and two of his customers got burned as a result.  Dino 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. The charge would be upgraded to aggravated unpermitted use of a pyrotechnic because someone was physically injured.

Offenses that are Related

Aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree: NY Penal Law § 405.18

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

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

Possible Defenses

In order to successfully convict you of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree on the basis of someone sustaining an injury, the prosecutor needs to demonstrate that the injury the person suffered was a “physical injury” as defined by the statute. If the injury was so minor that it did not even require a visit to the hospital, or if the injury resulted in minor bruising that disappeared a few days later, then you may have a strong argument that the victim did not sustain a physical injury.

The Sentence

The crime of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree is a class E felony. If you are convicted of this crime, your sentence could include as much as 4 years in prison, 5 years of probation and you may need to pay a fine. Additionally, you may be required to pay restitution to any victims.

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