Many New York laws help keep people safe. They’re intended to stop people from doing dangerous things. If lawmakers believe that activities pose an unreasonable risk of harm to society, they can prohibit the activity.
One of the things that New York regulates with criminal laws is indoor pyrotechnics. There are several different crimes that relate to the unlawful use of indoor fireworks. Aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree requires the actor to commit all of the elements of unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree.
First, the person must be the one responsible to get a permit. They must not have gotten the permit. They must knowingly detonate the fireworks themselves or allow someone else to detonate the fireworks in a building.
To make the charges aggravated use of pyrotechnics in the first degree, the person’s actions must recklessly cause the death or severe injury of another person. Aggravated use of pyrotechnics in the first degree is a violation of New York penal law 405.18.
First-degree aggravated umpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics is the most severe of the indoor pyrotechnics charges. Second-degree aggravated use is less severe. A second-degree offense is still a felony, but it is a class E felony instead of a class D felony.
To make the charge an aggravated charge in the second degree instead of in the first degree, the actor must either physically injure another person or cause property damage of more than $250. The property damaged must be someone else’s property. There can be no serious physical injury or death.
Defenses and examples
If you’re facing pyrotechnics charges, the NYC criminal attorneys at Spodek Law Group can help you evaluate your case and see what defenses might apply. A common defense to this charge is that the person did not actually detonate the fireworks or give anyone else permission to detonate the fireworks. For example, Carlos obtains fireworks for an upcoming band performance in a nightclub. He plans to secure the necessary permit before he uses the fireworks in a show.
Before Carlos gets the chance, Carlos’ brother finds the fireworks. The brother and his friends set off the fireworks in a building. One of the friends loses his hand and suffers from severe burns.
The law requires Carlos to act knowingly. In this scenario, Carlos didn’t knowingly allow anyone else to set off the fireworks. If Carlos’ brother took the fireworks without Carlos’ permission, Carlos might have a complete defense to the charge.
You might also defend the charges on the grounds that the person hurt didn’t suffer severe injuries. In the previous example, the friend might have suffered only burns. In that case, in addition to other defenses, Carlos might argue that the injured man didn’t suffer from anything more than minor injuries.
Aggravated use of indoor pyrotechnics in the first degree is a class D felony. You can spend up to seven years in prison if you’re convicted of this offense. In addition to jail, a violation of New York penal law 405.18 can also bring you five years of probation, a fine and restitution. If you commit a pyrotechnic-related offense and you have a prior conviction, you can face more serious charges.
If you use fireworks unlawfully, law enforcement can take the remaining fireworks from you. If the courts find that you have the fireworks unlawfully, they can order law enforcement to destroy them. They can also preserve the fireworks to use as evidence at a trial.
Pyrotechnics are chemicals designed to put on brilliant visible and audible displays. Commonly used in the entertainment industry, these chemicals are put in a pyrotechnic device and can be very dangerous if safety precautions are not followed properly. To minimize serious damage to people and property, New York has rules that govern how pyrotechnics should be used indoors. One rule is you must acquire a permit before using pyrotechnics indoors. Failing to get a permit can result in criminal charges.
Penal Code 405.16
According to New York penal law § 405.16, you could be charged and prosecuted for aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree for using indoor pyrotechnics without obtaining a permit. You may also be charged even if you get the permit but someone is injured because you failed to follow the requirements of the permit. At the very least, you could be fined $250 in fines if property is damaged.
An Example of Aggravated Unpermitted Use of Indoor Pyrotechnics in the Second Degree
Brian is the owner of a nightclub that hosted a special celebration. He gets a permit to use pyrotechnics during the Saturday night event. However, Brian decides to start the celebration one day sooner than the original permit allowed and a malfunction occurred. Two people were burned during the fiasco and Brian faces the possibility of being charged with aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree. His permit only authorized use of the chemicals on Saturday night, not Friday night.
Legal Defenses Related to This Charge
If the two people injured in our example above only have minor bruising that went away within a few days after the event, Brian might have a strong argument that neither victim suffered a physical injury. Their injuries did not require a trip to the hospital or long-term treatment.
However, if the prosecutor can prove that the injuries of one or both victims were a “physical injury,” it is possible that Brian could be convicted of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree.
Sentencing if Convicted of Violating Penal Code 405.16
Being found guilty of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree is a class E felony and carries a prison sentence of up to four years. Five years of probation and a fine are additional punishments for a conviction. Additionally, you might be ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Conviction comes as a result of the prosecution proves that because you ignited or detonated indoor pyrotechnics, you acted recklessly if it causes:
• physical injury to a person
• damages property belonging to another person and the value of that property is more than $250
Get Help from Spodek Law Group
To some people, four years is not a long time. It is, however, if you are living those years in prison after a conviction of aggravated unpermitted use of indoor pyrotechnics in the second degree. While the law is clear on what can lead to this type of charge, this does not mean you have to be convicted. Receiving the best defense from a NYC criminal lawyer increases the odds that you will not face prison time.
The Spodek Law Group has many years of experience defending clients with successful defenses against this and other criminal charges. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation review of your case.
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