Is your neighbor still lighting fireworks at night? What are the Indiana laws for lighting fireworks?

Mario Massillamany- founding partner at Massillamany & Jeter LLP

Mario Massillamany- founding partner at Massillamany & Jeter LLP

Mario Massillamany, founding partner at Massillamany & Jeter LLP, is an attorney that specializes in criminal, family law, and personal injury.  He has handled some of the most high profile cases in the State of Indiana over the last 10 years.

As July 4th was last weekend, many people are still lighting their fireworks at all hours of the night. Therefore, it would be useful to know the laws in Indiana concerning fireworks and their use. The first thing you should know about fireworks is that they cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Another piece of Indiana’s laws on fireworks is that the municipalities and counties can pass their own ordinances or rules regulating the use of fireworks within their boundaries. Therefore, before using fireworks this summer be sure to know what your local rules are concerning the use of fireworks.

However, there are limitations on what local governments can do. For example, the rules adopted by the municipalities and counties cannot be more lenient than the laws passed by a state agency. On the other hand, municipalities are prevented from making them more stringent in a few circumstances. Between June 29 and July 9, they are not allowed to limit the use of consumer fireworks after 5 p.m. up to 2 hours after sunset. Also they are not allowed to limit the use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and midnight on July 4th. Finally, although this does not pertain to the 4th of July celebrations, the municipalities and counties are not allowed to limit the use of fireworks between 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

There is also a chance that these limitations may be changing in the near future as the Indiana Senate introduced a bill in the 2015 session to change the limitations on municipalities and counties. The changes would have allowed them to prohibit fireworks within their boundaries as well as allow them to make their firework rules more lenient than the state laws. The new law would have also changed the dates during which the municipalities and counties could not limit the use of fireworks between certain hours. It would have allowed them to limit the use of consumer fireworks between June 29 and July 2 and July 6 and July 9. Municipalities and counties would still have been prohibited from limiting the use of fireworks on July 3 and 5 between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and two hours after sunset. The new law would allow the same limitations and protections to be put on the items in the list seen below concerning exceptions to the law. Basically, it would have included them in the law as fireworks. However, this law was never passed, but it is important to know about potential law changes because it can always be reintroduced into the legislature and eventually become law.

In Hamilton County, there are four separate cities, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, and Noblesville, each with their own rules regarding the use of fireworks. The rules in Carmel allow the use of fireworks only during the times that their use cannot be restricted by Indiana law. Therefore, fireworks are allowed in Carmel only between 5:00 p.m. and two hours after sunset from June 29 to July 9, between 10:00 a.m. and midnight on July 4th, and between 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1. Fishers, Westfield, and Noblesville all follow the same rule as Carmel regarding the use of consumer fireworks.

There are some exceptions that allow the use of items that might generally be considered fireworks. These include dipped sticks or wire sparklers, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, snakes or glow worms, and smoke devices. Trick noisemakers are allowed also, which include: party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches, cigarette loads, and auto burglar alarms. All of the above items are not considered by law to be fireworks and so the above local city ordinances do not apply to these items.

Mario Massillamany is a founding partner of Massillamany & Jeter LLP, a full-service law firm serving central Indiana.  For more information on this topic, please contact Mr. Massillamany at (317) 432-3443 or by e-mail at: mario@mjattorneys.com.

This article is not intended to serve as legal advice.  Should you have questions about this topic, you should consult with a licensed lawyer.

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