Fireworks could lead to jail time for residents

When not looking for fireworks, deputies will also offer free rides to alcohol consumers

They may look pretty when they explode into the night sky, but the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office wants to make sure that local residents think about the consequences before lighting up that big box of fireworks.

Under parish ordinance 92-10-23, possessing or discharging fireworks in St. Charles Parish without a permit is illegal. Under that ordinance, anyone found using fireworks inside of the parish is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $100 or imprisoned for 30 days in jail. Fireworks found by deputies will also be seized because possession of the New Year’s staple is also illegal. The only way to legally shoot fireworks is to obtain a permit, which is such a lengthy and trying process that it is hard for any regular citizen to complete.

“So many times we hear on the local news of unfortunate fireworks related incidents that have taken someone’s health, life or property,” Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said. “Fireworks are dangerous and can quickly turn a joyful occasion into a tragic one.”

Sheriff’s spokesman Patrick Yoes says that fireworks have been a big problem in the parish over the years because neighboring parishes sell the merchandise. That forces his department to work hard to alleviate the problem.

“It has been a problem in the past because people just aren’t respectful of their neighbors,” Yoes said. “Our officers will be on patrol throughout the parish, and if they see anyone shooting fireworks, they will be cited.”

Even if a person is not seen discharging fireworks by deputies, a citation can still be issued if a citizen is willing to sign a complaint as a witness to the discharge and can positively identify the person responsible. Callers should indicate to the 911 operator if they are willing to sign such a complaint at the time of the call.

While most deputies will be out on patrol searching for illegal fireworks, some will be busy transporting those residents who have had too much to drink.

During the holiday season, the sheriff’s department wants anyone that has consumed alcohol to call 985-783-6807 for a free ride home.

“We know this time of the year is filled with holiday parties and we don’t want anyone to drink and drive,” Yoes said. “We have offered this program before and it’s rare that someone takes us up on it. However, even if only one person does take us up on it, that’s one less impaired driver on the roads.”

The department will pick up anyone who calls in the parish, but will not transport them to another parish.


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