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NY Penal Law § 405.18: Aggravated Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics in the First Degree

July 2, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

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.Eye catching, loud, flashy pyrotechnic displays have become an exciting component of live performances for multitude of performances by musicians, dancers, illusionists and other types of entertainers. That said, pyrotechnics are also extremely dangerous. If they are not used properly, pyrotechnics can bring about serious injury or death. In order to mitigate the dangers of using indoor pyrotechnics, New York has regulations requiring that a permit must first be issued to the user. If you fail to get the appropriate permit for their use and you use them nonetheless, you could be charged with a crime.  The specific charge that you will face is dependent upon whether

  1.  it is your first offense or you have been convicted of a pyrotechnics crime before, 
  2. whether property is damaged as a result of improper use and 
  3. whether someone sustains injuries as a result of improper use. 

You could be prosecuted under New York Penal Law § 405.18 for aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree if you use indoor pyrotechnics without obtaining the proper permit, or if you use them without following the regulations of the permit and a person is seriously physically injured or someone dies.

For Example

Bilal hired a new age rock band to do a live show in his nightclub. The manager of the group informed Bilal that they were going to use pyrotechnics in the show and that they had already obtained the necessary permit for the night of the performance. The night before the group was scheduled to perform, they conducted a test run of the pyrotechnics. Sadly, there was a misfire and one of Bilal’s employees in the club was burned severely. Both Bilal and the members of the group could face prosecution for aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree.  This charge is valid because they used indoor pyrotechnics outside the time allowed by the permit and someone was seriously injured.

Offenses that are Related

Aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree: NY Penal Law § 405.16

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 first degree, the prosecutor has to demonstrate that the victim in the occurrence was severely injured or died as a result of the improper use of pyrotechnics. If the victim sustained some injuries, but the injuries were not “serious” as defined by the criminal code, then the charge of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics would not hold up.

The Sentence

Unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree is categorized as a class D felony. If you are convicted of this crime, your sentence could include as much as 7 years in prison, 5 years of probation and the payment of a substantial fine. The judge could also order you to pay restitution to the victim.



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