SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — While you’re planning your New Year’s celebration, here’s a cautionary tale reminding people of the consequences of shooting guns in the air when the clock strikes midnight.

Sure, there are legal consequences, and the city of Stockton has ShotSpotter ready to locate where shots are fired, but it’s important to remember what goes up must come down.

It was one year ago on Thursday that Stephen Lucas was ready to celebrate a new year with his girlfriend Kayley Leavitt. When New Year’s Day came, he fired a celebratory shot that somehow struck Leavitt. She died 20 hours into the new year, leaving the couple’s toddler without a mother and her father facing serious legal consequences.

Facing more than a decade behind bars, Lucas pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other weapons charges, but he didn’t step a foot in prison. A rare ruling inspired by pleas of mercy from the victim’s family gave Lucas only five years of probation.

“The court can’t image what kind of hell you’ve gone through everyday,” said Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman at the May 6 sentencing. “And there’s no punishment the court could impose that you haven’t imposed on yourself.”