The 4th of July is coming up soon and that means getting outside for cookouts with friends and family and celebrating our great nation with explosives when the sun goes down because, America. Chances are some of your neighbors or maybe you yourself won't be waiting until the night of the 4th to get the celebration underway and will instead light a few, or several, fireworks in the nights leading up to Independence Day. But before you light that first fuse, you'll want to make sure doing so won't land you in trouble with the law.

There's no doubt that fireworks are fun and there is something captivating about the colorful explosions as they light up the night sky. But as entertaining as they are, it's important to remember that fireworks are basically explosives that burn at extremely high heat and can cause serious damage to property and people if not handled properly. While it's completely understandable that you want to have fun and celebrate our nation's independence, you also want to make sure you still have all your appendages when the show is over.

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Like all states, Indiana has ordinances in place that spell out the time frame residents are allowed to shoot off their fireworks, as well as restrictions on where those fireworks can be used. Here's everything you need to know.

Indiana Firework Usage Laws

The state's fireworks laws are regulated by the state Fire Marshall. And while they set the standard for shooting off fireworks, it's important to check your local city or county ordinances as they may have additional rules in place.

According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, "fireworks use is limited to personal property, the property of someone who has approved the use of fireworks or a location designated specifically for the use of consumer fireworks" and can be set off between 9:00 AM and 11:00 PM most days of the year.

Again, where you live may have a different ordinance in place. For example, in Evansville, where I live, you can only set off fireworks "between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and two hours after sunset not to exceed 10:30 p.m. on June 29th, June 30th, July 1st, July 2nd, July 3rd, July 5th, July 6th, July 7th, July 8th, and July 9th," according to Municipal Code 9.10.020.


Reenactment of what could happen before June 29th and after July 9th

There are some minor exceptions to the time frame of the state ordinance, all of which revolve around holidays. On state holidays, the time frame is extended one hour to midnight, while on the 4th of July itself, the time shifts an hour on either side (10:00 AM to midnight, instead of 9:00 AM until 11:00 PM). Fireworks are also allowed on New Year's Eve from 10:00 AM until 1:00 AM on New Year's Day.

What Could Happen if You Violate Indiana Fireworks Laws

According to the Indiana State Police, violating the state's fireworks laws "can be charged with a class “C” infraction"  which can carry up to a $500 fine. However, if you "recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally" use fireworks and cause property damage, you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor which can carry a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If there is bodily injury, it is enhanced to a Level 6 felony which can have a penalty of between six months and 2-1/2 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. If the violation results in someone's death, it gets kicked up to a Level 5 felony which could land you in jail for one to six years and cost you a $10,000 fine.

If you know someone clearly violating the law, contact your local law enforcement to report it, and learn more about the state's fireworks laws by visiting the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website.

[Sources: Indiana Department of Homeland Security / Code Publishing / Indiana State Police / Find LawCriminal Defense Lawyer / Keffer-Hirschauer LLC]

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