Despite knowing the New Jersey law, year after year, residents often buy fireworks in Pennsylvania and bring them back home. Most garden state residents know that buying, selling or distributing fireworks in NJ is illegal, but there are those who may have just moved to the state or perhaps visiting from out-of-state, who don't know that it is, indeed a fourth degree crime. One that could land you in jail for up to 18 months plus up to a $10,000 fine.
Know the Law: Explosives and Fireworks Act (N.J.S.A. 21:3-2)
The sale, exposure for sale, use, distribution or possession of any fireworks or pyrotechnics in the state of New Jersey is declared by the legislature to be against the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of New Jersey. Other states who ban all fireworks include Delaware, Massachusetts and New York.
Any person who sells, offers or exposes for sale, or possesses with intent to sell any fireworks is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. Any person who purchases, uses, discharges, causes to be discharged, ignites, fires, or otherwise sets in action, or possesses any fireworks is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense.
Selling fireworks (or possessing with the intent to sell) is a fourth degree crime which could result in 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mere possession of fireworks is considered a petty disorderly persons offense which could result in 30 days of jail time and a $500 fine.
What is Considered a “Firework” or “Explosive”?
Pretty much everything is banned in New Jersey. Consumer fireworks (formerly known as class C fireworks) includes: sparklers, bottle rockets, snakes, smoke balls, bang snaps, roman candles, ground spinners, aerial display tubes. These are all illegal in New Jersey.
Exceptions include devices in which paper or plastic caps contain 0.25 grain or less of explosive compound per cap (in a way that prevents a hand from coming in contact with the cap) such as a toy pistol.
Only those with a permit are allowed to use fireworks legally in New Jersey and usually only include public displays put on by certain organizations or amusement parks.
Besides being against the law, fireworks are extremely dangerous. They are responsible for over 9,000 injuries every year (most of which occur during July). According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause an average of almost 20,000 reported fires per year. Sparklers are extremely hot, reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees. To put that in perspective, glass melts at 900 degrees, wood burns at 575 degrees, water boils at 212 degrees. In 2013, sparklers caused 41% of firework injuries. The risk of those injuries was highest for young children ages 0-4, followed by those 10-14 years old.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with violating the New Jersey's fireworks statute, contact the Criminal Defense attorneys at Villani & DeLuca P.C. at 732-709-7757 to review your case today. One of our knowledgeable criminal law attorneys will review your charges in detail with you and answer any questions you may have. We represent clients throughout Ocean and Monmouth County New Jersey.