What fireworks are illegal in New Jersey & Pennsylvania? How serious of a crime is illegal sale or possession of them?
National Holidays like the 4th of July would not be complete without fireworks! Many of our clients, friends, and my family, especially pet owners, have asked about New Jersey and Pennsylvania laws on fireworks. While these are not common offenses and crimes that our law firm defends, we nevertheless want to be a source of information for clients and their families.
When did fireworks become legal in Pennsylvania and New Jersey?
Most of us remember a time when fireworks were strictly forbidden (unless you “knew a guy”.) so this area of the law is confusing. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there are two types of fireworks, Display and Consumer and both remain illegal.
Display fireworks are those that you see during large shows. They are not available to the general public. Consumer fireworks are available to the public in many states but they are illegal to use or possess in Pennsylvania unless you are a dealer. In the family of Consumer fireworks are other items that are considered sparkling devices, novelties and caps. The packaging of these items may say “fireworks” to entice consumers to buy them but they are not considered “Consumer Fireworks” under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law.
Fireworks in Pennsylvania
Consumer Fireworks in Pennsylvania include firecrackers, bottle rockets, skyrockets, and Roman candles among others. Again, these items remain illegal. Use or possession of these items is a misdemeanor summary offense.
What is the penalty for selling or using fireworks in Pennsylvania?
Any person found guilty of selling these items commits a second degree misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania. A person found using consumer fireworks illegally for the first time may receive a summary offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenses within three years of a prior conviction could prompt another summary offense, this time punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
The following items are legal in Pennsylvania.
Ground and hand-held sparkling devices produce a shower of sparks or a cloud of smoke, do not rise into the air or shoot projectiles into the air, and do not explode. They include: cylindrical fountain, cone fountain, illuminating torch, wheel, ground spinner, flitter sparkler, toy smoke device and wire sparkler.
Novelties include small items such as party popper, snapper, toy smoke devices snakes / glow worms and wire sparklers.
Fireworks in New Jersey
Similar to Pennsylvania, New Jersey has lifted the complete ban on the sale and possession of fireworks. The law created an exemption for certain devices while keeping all other fireworks illegal in the state.
New Jersey permits devices such as hand-held sparklers and ground-based sparklers, and novelty items, including party poppers and snappers.
All other fireworks remain illegal, including all explosive and aerial fireworks such as firecrackers, sky-rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles and similar devices. New Jersey also restricts the sale of sparklers to only those who are 16 and over.
What is the penalty for illegal possession or sale of fireworks in New Jersey?
In New Jersey a person is guilty of a fourth-degree crime if he sells, offers or exposes for sale, or possesses with intent to sell, any fireworks, other than sparkling devices and novelties to persons 16 years of age or older stated above.
A person is guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense if he purchases, uses, discharges, causes to be discharged, ignites, fires or otherwise sets in action, or possesses fireworks without having the required permit.
Our law firm wishes you and your family a safe and Happy 4th of July!
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