Fireworks Laws in New York

As the Fourth of July draws closer some may be wondering the legal status of fireworks here in New York.

For private fireworks shows, New York law imposes firm restrictions. In 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill allowing the use and sale of "sparkling" fireworks only during specific time periods, namely from June 1 to July 5 for Fourth of July celebrations and December 26 to January 2 for New Year's Eve celebrations. However, sparkling fireworks are only legal in counties where local laws permit them.

By definition, "sparkling" fireworks are those that "produce a shower of sparks as their primary pyrotechnic effect and do not explode, fire projectiles or inserts or rise into the sky." It is legal for adults to purchase, possess and use them- but it is a crime to provide one to a minor. (Theoretically a parent could be arrested for handing a sparkler to their child.)

Offenses involving fireworks in New York:

New York law distinguishes between "fireworks" and "dangerous fireworks."

- "Fireworks" includes sparklers, firecrackers, and related items.

- "Dangerous fireworks" describes fireworks capable of causing significant physical injury and includes skyrockets, torpedoes, roman candles, and firecrackers that contain more than 50 mgs of any explosive substance.

Crimes associated with fireworks include:

Simple possession of fireworks: If an individual possess less than $50.00 worth of any type of firework, then he/she can be charged with a violation and be required to pay a fine or spend up to 15 days in jail (or both). This also applies to sparklers in counties that do not permit them or if the possession was outside of the legally approved time frames.

Offering for sale or furnishing: If an individual sells or even provides fireworks to others, then he/she may be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries with it a possible jail sentence of up to 90 days and/or result in a fine. The presumption is that if an individual possess more than $50.00 worth of either fireworks or dangerous fireworks, then his/her intention is to sell them.

Offering for sale or furnishing dangerous fireworks to a minor: If an individual sells or gives dangerous fireworks to a minor, it is a class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. New York Penal Law Section 270 covers fireworks offenses and indicates that if an individual is arrested for either of the "offering" offenses listed above and it is his/her second arrest for the same crime within five years, then it can be charged as a class E Felony.