Fourth of July Fireworks: An Overview of Laws and Common Legal Questions

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 29, 2018 | Last updated on January 10, 2022

July 4th is right around the corner, and cops are cracking down on fireworks, both legal and illegal. Undercover officers in California are targeting online fireworks sales, and resorts in Colorado are leaving their powder dry for fear of forest fires. So we thought it might be a good time for everyone to review their local fireworks laws to prepare for the holiday week.

Here's a roundup of what you need to know about fireworks regulations, from our archives:

4 Fireworks Laws to Know for July Fourth

Your first stop for fireworks laws are your local ordinances. Regulations can vary from state to state, and even county to county. Additionally, some cities ban the possession of fireworks, and there may be some homeowners' association prohibitions as well. Also, some laws can have age requirements, seasonal restrictions, and allow the possession and use of so-called "Safe and Sane" fireworks like fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke and snake items, strobes, ground spinners, novelty fireworks that do not travel, snappers, and caps.

Can You Get Arrested for Possessing, Setting Off Fireworks?

Yes! If you're violating one of the above-referenced fireworks regulations -- and especially if your igniting fireworks in an area that has banned them due to wildfire risk -- you can definitely get arrested.

What Are the Penalties for Illegal Fireworks?

As the fireworks laws and infractions of said laws vary, so do the penalties. If you're convicted of violating a fireworks ordinance, you could be fined up to $1,000 or face a year in jail, depending on where you live. And those are just the standard criminal penalties -- if your fireworks cause property damage, start a fire, or get someone injured or killed, you could be looking at a lot more legal trouble.

3 Criminal Laws That Cops Hate to Enforce

Most cops don't enjoy being killjoys, so don't make them be the fun police as well. Enjoy the Fourth of July by following your local fireworks laws, and everyone will have more fun.

And if you do get in trouble for your fireworks, an attorney is just a call or click away.

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