California Laws Against "Illegal Fireworks"
Health and Safety Code 12500-12728 HS

California's fireworks laws are numerous and complex.  In their simplest terms, they revolve around

  1. "dangerous" fireworks - that is, fireworks that are always illegal unless you hold a special display license, and
  2. "safe and sane" fireworks which may be sold, purchased, and used by the general public as long as this is done within very strict parameters.1
Examples
  • It is okay to purchase "safe and sane" fireworks from a licensed retailer from 12pm on June 28th until 12pm July 6th each year except where local ordinances are more restrictive.2
  • It is illegal to possess dangerous fireworks without a permit to do so.3 These permits are typically issued to pyrotechnic operators who use them in connection with the entertainment industry or large-scale fourth of July or other firework celebrations.
  • It is illegal to sell or give dangerous fireworks to anyone under 18.  It is also illegal to sell or give "safe and sane" fireworks to anyone under 16.4
Defenses

There are a number of legal defenses that are available to fight your illegal fireworks charges.  Some of these include

  • you are not the person who possessed or had control over the fireworks,
  • the police discovered and seized the fireworks in violation of California's search and seizure laws,
  • you hold a permit or license to engage in the prohibited activity, and/or
  • you reasonably believed that you were involved in a legal transaction with an adult, not a minor.
Penalties

Generally speaking, most violations of California's fireworks laws are
misdemeanors, subjecting you to a maximum $1,000 fine and up to one year in a county jail.  However, if you possess large quantities of dangerous fireworks, prosecutors could charge you with a felony, punishable by up to three years in the California state prison and fines as high as $50,000.

In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys5 explain California's fireworks laws by addressing the following:

1. The Difference between Illegal "Dangerous" Fireworks and Legal
"Safe and Sane" Fireworks

1.1. "Dangerous" and "exempt" fireworks

1.2. Safe and sane fireworks

1.3. An overview of California's fireworks laws

2. Possessing Illegal Fireworks
3. Selling or Manufacturing Illegal Fireworks

3.1. Regarding minors

4. Legal Defenses
5. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

5.1. Possessing a large quantity of dangerous fireworks

5.2 Commercial drivers

6. Related Offenses

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California Firearm Laws; Penal Code 16590 PC "Explosive Substances"; Penal Code 12303 PC "Destructive Devices or Explosives"; Penal Code 452 PC "Reckless Burning"; Penal Code 242 PC Battery; Wobblers; Misdemeanors; Felonies; California's Search and Seizure Laws; California Search Warrants; and California Legal Defenses.

1. The Difference between Illegal "Dangerous" Fireworks and Legal "Safe and Sane" Fireworks

California Health and Safety Code 12511 PC defines "fireworks" as "any device containing chemical elements and chemical compounds capable of burning independently of the oxygen of the atmosphere and producing audible, visual, mechanical, or thermal effects which are useful as pyrotechnic devices or for entertainment."6

Fireworks include (but are not limited to), devices designated by the manufacturer as

  • fireworks,
  • torpedoes,
  • skyrockets,
  • roman candles,
  • rockets,
  • daygo bombs,
  • sparklers,
  • party poppers,
  • paper caps,
  • chasers,
  • fountains,
  • smoke sparks,
  • aerial bombs, and
  • fireworks kits.7

The term 'fireworks kits' is defined under California Health and Safety Code 12512 and refers to "any assembly of materials or explosive substances which is designed and intended by the seller to be assembled by the person receiving such material or explosive substance and, when so assembled, would come within the definition of fireworks."8

1.1. "Dangerous" and "exempt" fireworks

California Health and Safety Code 12505 HS outlines a comprehensive list of "dangerous" fireworks.  Simply put, dangerous fireworks are always illegal, unless you hold a "special display license".9 Examples of "dangerous" fireworks include (but are not limited to):

  1. fireworks that contain arsenic sulfide or arsenites, most chlorates, magnesium, most phosphorous, zirconium, or many other chemicals,
  2. firecrackers, skyrockets, rockets, and sparklers larger than ten inches in length or one-quarter inch in diameter, and
  3. any other fireworks that the State Fire Marshall has declared "unsafe for use by any person not specifically qualified or trained in the use of fireworks".10

"Exempt" fireworks are fireworks that the State Fire Marshall has determined to be limited to

  1. industrial use,
  2. commercial use,
  3. agricultural use, or
  4. religious ceremonies.

This class of fireworks requires a special permit for possession or use.11

1.2. Safe and sane fireworks

California Health and Safety Code 12529 defines "safe and sane" fireworks as any fireworks that haven't been classified as "dangerous" or "exempt".12 These fireworks typically comply with California's fireworks laws.

However, California Health and Safety Code 12599 states that even "safe and sane" fireworks may only be sold by at a "fixed place of business"13 by persons holding retail sales licenses from 12pm on June 28th until 12pm July 6th each year except where local ordinances are more restrictive.14

The exceptions to this rule are "party poppers" and "snap caps", which are in a category of their own.  These items may be sold year round.

All "safe and sane" fireworks must display a "State of California, State Fire Marshall Registered Fireworks" seal.  If they do not, they are illegal fireworks.

And with respect to using "safe and sane" fireworks, the best advice is to contact your neighborhood fire department to inquire about any local restrictions.  When and where you can use legal fireworks is up to your local jurisdiction.

1.3. An overview of California's fireworks laws

There are a number of ways to violate California's fireworks laws.  Below is a list of these offenses, followed by Sections 2 and 3 which provide a comprehensive overview of the two most major violations - possessing and selling illegal fireworks.

  • California Health and Safety Code 12670 - Advertising that you are in the "fireworks business" without being licensed to do so15
  • California Health and Safety Code 12671 - Engaging in any activity with fireworks that have not been classified and registered by the State Fire Marshall16
  • California Health and Safety Code 12672 - Selling or offering to sell fireworks outside of the allowed timeframe (12pm on June 28th until 12pm July 6th)17
  • California Health and Safety Code 12673 - Illegally storing fireworks18
  • California Health and Safety Code 12674 - Storing fireworks once your license has expired or been revoked or surrendered19
  • California Health and Safety Code 12675 - Failing to record license number on fireworks sales or shipments20
  • California Health and Safety Code 12676 - Giving, delivering or selling dangerous fireworks to someone without a permit (discussed below in Section 3 - Selling or Manufacturing Illegal Fireworks)21
  • California Health and Safety Code 12677 - Possessing dangerous fireworks without a permit (discussed below in Section 2 - Possessing Illegal Fireworks)22
  • California Health and Safety Code 12678 - Discharging agricultural or wildlife fireworks without a permit23
  • California Health and Safety Code 12679 - Storing, selling or discharging fireworks too close to a gas station or other area where flammable liquids are stored or dispensed24
  • California Health and Safety Code 12680 - Discharging fireworks where they are likely to harm another person or where you intend to cause chaos, fear or panic25
  • California Health and Safety Code 12681 - Selling safe and sane fireworks anywhere other than a fixed, licensed place of business26
  • California Health and Safety Code 12682 - Allowing a "fire nuisance" (that is, any anything which causes or tends to cause an increase of fire danger) to exist in a place where fireworks are sold, manufactured, assembled, packaged, stored or distributed27
  • California Health and Safety Code 12683 - Selling, using or discharging an "emergency signaling device" (that is, a "flare") that has not been registered with the State Fire Marshall28
  • California Health and Safety Code 12684 - Using an emergency signaling device (a "flare") in an unintended manner29
  • California Health and Safety Code 12685 - Conducting a public display of fireworks without a permit30
  • California Health and Safety Code 12686 - Using special effects fireworks (that is, those that are manufactured, designed, assembled or used in connection with TV, movies or theater) without a pyrotechnic license31
  • California Health and Safety Code 12687 - Selling, giving, transferring or delivering special effects fireworks to anyone who doesn't hold a pyrotechnic license32
  • California Health and Safety Code 12688 - Advertising to sell or transfer fireworks without a license or permit to do so33
  • California Health and Safety Code 12689 - Selling or delivering fireworks to minors (discussed below in Section 3.1. Regarding minors)34
  • California Health and Safety Code 12690 - Operating with an expired license35
2. Possessing Illegal Fireworks

Simply put, it is illegal for anyone to possess dangerous fireworks who doesn't hold a valid permit to do so.36

California fireworks laws also prohibit willfully placing, discharging, or igniting dangerous fireworks at or near any person or group with the intent to create chaos, fear, or panic.37 But this law doesn't apply to

  1. people licensed to use (and who are using) "special effects" fireworks, or
  2. people who hold fireworks licenses (which usually applies to the entertainment industry, amusement parks, etc).38

Possessing (and using) "safe and sane" fireworks is typically okay.  However, if you cause damage or injury, prosecutors could charge you with violating other laws, such as Penal Code 242 PC California's battery law or Penal Code 452 PC California's reckless burning law.

3. Selling or Manufacturing Illegal Fireworks

Selling, transferring, or giving dangerous fireworks to anyone who doesn't hold a valid permit to receive, use, or transport them is illegal.39 Similarly, it is illegal to sell, transfer, or give any "special effects" fireworks to anyone who isn't a licensed pyrotechnic operator.40

California fireworks laws also ban advertisements to sell or transfer any kind of fireworks by anyone who does not hold a valid license or permit to do so.41 And importing, selling, or advertising any fireworks that haven't been approved by the California State Fire Marshall are also unlawful.42

3.1. Regarding minors

Selling, giving, or delivering dangerous fireworks by any person to a person under 18 (that is, a "minor") is illegal.  Similarly, it is illegal for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer to a minor any rocket or similar device.

It is also illegal for a retailer to sell even "safe and sane" fireworks to any person under 16 years old. See California Health & Safety Code 12869 HS.43

As far as personal possession goes, minors are not permitted to possess "safe and sane" fireworks without the written consent or physical presence of a parent.44 This means that as long as parents purchase the "safe and sane" fireworks for their children, minors may use them as long as they abide by the above conditions.

Finally, parents are responsible for any injuries or damage that their children cause.

4. Legal Defenses

The circumstances of your case will determine what types of legal defenses your California criminal defense lawyer will present on your behalf.

As Ventura criminal defense attorney Darrell York45 explains, "Generally speaking, the best defense is to try to challenge the claim that you possessed, sold, transferred, etc. the illegal fireworks.  If you didn't have control over the fireworks, you aren't the one who allegedly violated California's fireworks laws."

However, there are a number of other legal defenses that may apply as well.  Examples include (but are not limited to):

  1. mistaken identity (you were not the one who was involved in the illegal fireworks transaction or activity),
  2. the fireworks were discovered in violation of California's search and seizure laws (perhaps the police didn't have a valid California search warrant)46,
  3. you held a valid license authorizing the prohibited activity, or
  4. you had a good faith belief that the minor to whom you sold fireworks was an adult.
5. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

Generally speaking, violating any of California's fireworks laws may lead to a seizure of the fireworks47 as well as misdemeanor charges.  If you are convicted of any of the above offenses, you face

  1. up to one year in a county jail, and
  2. between $500 and $1,000 in fines (and a minimum of $1,000 for a second or subsequent conviction).

5.1. Possessing a large quantity of dangerous fireworks

However, if you are convicted of possessing a large quantity of illegal dangerous fireworks...regardless of whether you possess them because you

  • purchase them,
  • intend to sell them, or
  • manufacture them...

your penalties increase.

If you possess 25 to100 pounds of dangerous fireworks, you face a misdemeanor punishable by $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and up to one year in a county jail.

Possessing 101 to 5,000 pounds of dangerous fireworks is a wobbler. A "wobbler" is a charge that prosecutors may file as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on

  1. the facts of the case, and
  2. your criminal history.

If convicted of the misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail and a $5,000 to $10,000 fine.  If convicted of the felony , you face the same fine and 16 months or two or three years in the California state prison.

Possessing more than 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks is also a wobbler.  If convicted of the misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail and a $10,000 to $50,000 fine.  If convicted of the felony, you face the same fine and 16 months or two or three years in the state prison.48

These penalties all apply to anyone who sells, gives, or delivers any dangerous fireworks to a minor...and, in fact, a second or subsequent violation will result in an additional $5,000 fine and up to another year in jail.49

And...unlike many other laws...you commit a separate violation of California's fireworks laws each day that you commit, continue, or permit a violation.50

However, these penalties do not apply to people who hold valid licenses or permits who are operating within the scope of those permits/licenses.51

But if you are operating outside the scope of your permit/license...and are convicted of selling illegal fireworks...the State Fire Marshall will revoke your permit or license.52

5.2 Commercial drivers

If you are a commercial driver who is convicted of transporting at least 10,000 pounds of dangerous fireworks, you will lose your right to operate a commercial motor vehicle for three years.

This penalty does not apply to drivers who are acting within the scope of a valid fireworks license or permit.53

6. Related Offenses

None of these California fireworks laws apply to

  1. firearms, defined under California's firearm laws,
  2. Penal Code 16590 PC "explosive substances", or
  3. Penal Code 12303 PC "destructive devices or explosives"54

However, if while you are using fireworks, you cause a fire, prosecutors could charge you with violating Penal Code 452 PC California's "reckless burning" law or, perhaps even Penal Code 451 PC, California's arson law, depending on the circumstances.

And when the circumstances permit, your California defense attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charge pursuant to a plea bargain.  Offenses like Penal Code 415 PC California's disturbing the peace law or Penal Code 602 PC California's trespass law.55

Call us for help...
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If you or loved one is charged with Health and Safety Code 12500-12728 HS possession of illegal fireworks and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Additionally, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys represent clients accused of violating Nevada's fireworks laws.  For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.56

Legal References:

1California Health and Safety Code 12500-12728 HS (a comprehensive list of California's fireworks laws).

2 California Health and Safety Code 12599 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks; time of sale.  ("A retail license shall authorize a retail sale of safe and sane fireworks within this state only during the period of 12 noon on the 28th of June through 12 noon on the 6th of July of the same calendar year and such license shall expire at the end of such period. No retail license shall be issued for the license period defined in this section unless the application for such license is received by the State Fire Marshal on or before June 15 preceding the license period. A new retail sales license shall be required annually for the period specified in this section.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12672 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks; time of sale.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, safe and sane fireworks at any time outside of the period specified in Section 12599.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12574 HS -- Retail sales license.  ("A retail sales license allows the retail sale of safe and sane fireworks for private use.")

3 California Health and Safety Code 12576 HS -- Public display license (general).  ("A public display license (general) allows the holding and conducting of public displays of dangerous fireworks at various locations and at various times.")

4 California Health and Safety Code 12689 HS -- Sale or delivery to minors; exceptions.  ("(a) It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or deliver any dangerous fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. (b) It is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a person who is under 16 years of age. (c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), it is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer to a person under the age of 18 any rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material whether or not the device is designed for emergency or distance signaling purposes. It is also unlawful for a minor to possess such a device unless he or she has the written permission of, or is accompanied by, his or her parent or guardian while it is in his or her possession. (d) Model rocket products including model rockets, launch systems, and model rocket motors designed, sold, and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable model rockets may be sold or transferred pursuant to regulations, adopted by the State Fire Marshal which the Fire Marshal determines are reasonably necessary to carry out the requirements of this part.")

5 Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.  We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

6 California Health and Safety Code 12511 - Fireworks, defined.

7 See same.

8 California Health and Safety Code section 12512 -- Fireworks kit; defined.

9 California Health and Safety Code 12576 HS -- Public display license (general).  ("A public display license (general) allows the holding and conducting of public displays of dangerous fireworks at various locations and at various times.")

10 California Health and Safety Code 12505 HS -- Dangerous fireworks.

11 California Health and Safety Code 508 HS -- Exempt fireworks.

12 California Health and Safety Code 12529 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks.  (""Safe and sane fireworks" means any fireworks which do not come within the definition of "dangerous fireworks" or "exempt fireworks."")  Safe and sane fireworks are the only fireworks that are legal under California's fireworks laws).

13 California Health and Safety Code 12529 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks; sale; place of business.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a consumer or user thereof other than at a fixed place of business of a retailer for which a license and permit has been issued.")

14 California Health and Safety Code 12599 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks; time of sale.  ("A retail license shall authorize a retail sale of safe and sane fireworks within this state only during the period of 12 noon on the 28th of June through 12 noon on the 6th of July of the same calendar year and such license shall expire at the end of such period. No retail license shall be issued for the license period defined in this section unless the application for such license is received by the State Fire Marshal on or before June 15 preceding the license period. A new retail sales license shall be required annually for the period specified in this section.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12672 HS -- Safe and sane fireworks; time of sale.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, safe and sane fireworks at any time outside of the period specified in Section 12599.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12574 HS -- Retail sales license.  ("A retail sales license allows the retail sale of safe and sane fireworks for private use.")

15 California Health and Safety Code 12670. Advertising involving fireworks or pyrotechnic devices.  ("It is unlawful for any person to advertise that he is in any business or venture involving fireworks or pyrotechnic devices or shall cause his name or business name style to be included in any classified advertisement or directory under a classification which includes the word fireworks, unless he is licensed pursuant to this part.")

16 California Health and Safety Code 12671. Unclassified and unregistered fireworks.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, use, discharge, possess, store, or transport any type of fireworks within this state unless the State Fire Marshal has classified and registered such fireworks.")

17 California Health and Safety Code 12672. Safe and sane fireworks; time of sale.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, safe and sane fireworks at any time outside of the period specified in Section 12599.")

18 California Health and Safety Code 12673. Storage of fireworks.  ("It is unlawful for any person to store any fireworks without having in his possession a valid permit as required by this part.")

19 California Health and Safety Code 12674. Revoked or surrendered licenses; storage or possession of fireworks.  ("It is unlawful for any person to store or possess any fireworks for which a license is required and which has been revoked or surrendered or any license which has not been renewed and such storage or possession is held beyond the period provided for in Section 12604.")

20 California Health and Safety Code 12675. Failure to record license number on sales and shipments.  ("It is unlawful for any person to fail to record on each bill of lading, manifest or invoice issued to cover the sale or shipment of fireworks, the license number of both the seller or shipper and the buyer or receiver, unless the sale or shipment is made to nonlicensees in accordance with the provisions of his license.")

21 California Health and Safety Code 12676. Dangerous fireworks; sale or transfer to one not a permittee.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, transfer, give, deliver, or otherwise convey title of any dangerous fireworks, including fireworks kits, to any person in this state who does not possess and present to the seller or donor for inspection at the time of transfer, a valid permit to receive, use, or transport dangerous fireworks as provided in this part.")

22 California Health and Safety Code 12677. Possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit.  ("It is unlawful for any person to possess dangerous fireworks without holding a valid permit.")

23 California Health and Safety Code 12678. Use or discharge of agricultural and wildlife fireworks without a permit.  ("It is unlawful for any person to use or discharge agricultural and wildlife fireworks without first securing a permit as provided in this part.")

24 California Health and Safety Code 12679. Storage, sale or discharge of fireworks near flammable liquids.  ("It is unlawful for any person to store, sell, or discharge any type of fireworks in or within 100 feet of a location where gasoline or any other flammable liquids are stored or dispensed.")

25 California Health and Safety Code 12680. Discharge of fireworks where likelihood of injury to other person.  ("(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or (c), it is unlawful for any person to place, throw, discharge or ignite, or fire dangerous fireworks at or near any person or group of persons where there is a likelihood of injury to that person or group of persons or when the person willfully places, throws, discharges, ignites, or fires the fireworks with the intent of creating chaos, fear, or panic. (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person described in Section 12517 who uses special effects. For purposes of this subdivision, "special effects" means articles containing any pyrotechnic composition manufactured and assembled, designed, or discharged in connection with television, theater, or motion picture productions, which may or may not be presented before live audiences, and any other articles containing any pyrotechnic composition used for commercial, industrial, educational, recreational, or entertainment purposes when authorized by the authority having jurisdiction. (c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person holding a fireworks license issued pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 12570).")

26 California Health and Safety Code 12681. Safe and sane fireworks; sale; place of business.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a consumer or user thereof other than at a fixed place of business of a retailer for which a license and permit has been issued.")

27 California Health and Safety Code 12682. Fire nuisance.  ("It is unlawful for any person to allow or permit a fire nuisance, as defined in Section 12510, to exist on any premises where any fireworks are manufactured, sold, assembled, discharged, packaged, stored, or distributed. The authority to determine that a fire nuisance exists shall be vested in those officers identified in Section 12721.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12510. Fire nuisance.  (""Fire nuisance" means anything or any act which increases, or may cause an increase of, the hazard or menace of fire, or which may obstruct, delay, or hinder, or may become the cause of any obstruction, delay, or hindrance, to the prevention or extinguishment of fire.")

28 California Health and Safety Code 12683. Unregistered emergency signaling device; sale or use.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, use, or discharge any emergency signaling device not registered by the State Fire Marshal."

See also California Health and Safety Code 12506. Emergency signaling device.  (""Emergency signaling device" means a pyrotechnic device designed and intended by the manufacturer to be used as such and which provides a reasonable degree of safety to the user and does not create a fire hazard when used according to the label of instructions.")

29 California Health and Safety Code 12684. Use of emergency signaling devices.  ("It is unlawful for any person to use or discharge any registered emergency signaling device in any manner other than that permitted by the instructions for use.")

30 California Health and Safety Code 12685. Public display; permit required.  ("It is unlawful for any person to conduct a public display without possessing a valid permit for this purpose.")

31 California Health and Safety Code 12686. Special effects fireworks; use.  ("It is unlawful for any person to use any special effects fireworks unless he possesses a pyrotechnic operator license.")

See also California Health and Safety Code 12532. Special effects.  (""Special effects" means articles containing any pyrotechnic composition manufactured and assembled, designed, or discharged in connection with television, theater, or motion picture productions, which may or may not be presented before live audiences and any other articles containing any pyrotechnic composition used for commercial, industrial, education, recreation, or entertainment purposes when authorized by the authority having jurisdiction.")

32 California Health and Safety Code 12687. Special effects fireworks; sale or transfer.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, transfer, give, or deliver any special effects fireworks to any person not licensed as a pyrotechnic operator.")

33 California Health and Safety Code 12688. Advertising to sell or transfer fireworks.  ("It is unlawful for any person to advertise to sell or transfer any class of fireworks, including agricultural and wildlife fireworks or model rocket engines, unless he possesses a valid license or permit.")

34 California Health and Safety Code 12689. Sale or delivery to minors; exceptions.  ("(a) It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or deliver any dangerous fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. (b) It is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a person who is under 16 years of age. (c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), it is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer to a person under the age of 18 any rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material whether or not the device is designed for emergency or distance signaling purposes. It is also unlawful for a minor to possess such a device unless he or she has the written permission of, or is accompanied by, his or her parent or guardian while it is in his or her possession. (d) Model rocket products including model rockets, launch systems, and model rocket motors designed, sold, and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable model rockets may be sold or transferred pursuant to regulations, adopted by the State Fire Marshal which the Fire Marshal determines are reasonably necessary to carry out the requirements of this part.")

35 California Health and Safety Code 12690. Expired license or permit.  ("It is unlawful for any person to perform any act, or transact or attempt to transact any business, with an expired license or an expired permit where a license or permit is required for the performance of such act or transaction.")

36 California Health and Safety Code 12677 HS -- Possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit.

37 California Health and Safety Code 12680 HS -- Discharge of fireworks where likelihood of injury to other person.  ("(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or (c), it is unlawful for any person to place, throw, discharge or ignite, or fire dangerous fireworks at or near any person or group of persons where there is a likelihood of injury to that person or group of persons or when the person willfully places, throws, discharges, ignites, or fires the fireworks with the intent of creating chaos, fear, or panic. (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person described in Section 12517 who uses special effects. For purposes of this subdivision, "special effects" means articles containing any pyrotechnic composition manufactured and assembled, designed, or discharged in connection with television, theater, or motion picture productions, which may or may not be presented before live audiences, and any other articles containing any pyrotechnic composition used for commercial, industrial, educational, recreational, or entertainment purposes when authorized by the authority having jurisdiction. (c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person holding a fireworks license issued pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 12570).")

38 See same.

39 California Health and Safety Code 12676 HS -- Dangerous fireworks; sale or transfer to one not a permittee.  ("It is unlawful for any person to sell, transfer, give, deliver, or otherwise convey title of any dangerous fireworks, including fireworks kits, to any person in this state who does not possess and present to the seller or donor for inspection at the time of transfer, a valid permit to receive, use, or transport dangerous fireworks as provided in this part.")

40 California Health and Safety Code 12687 HS -- Special effects fireworks (which are permitted under California's fireworks laws, as long as the operators are licensed).

41 California Health and Safety Code 12688 HS -- Advertising to sell or transfer fireworks.

42 California Health and Safety Code 12560 -- Classification; necessity.  ("The State Fire Marshal shall classify all fireworks and pyrotechnic devices in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. No fireworks or pyrotechnic devices shall be imported, sold, or offered for sale prior to the examination and classification by the State Fire Marshal.")

43 California Health and Safety Code 12689 HS -- Sale or delivery to minors; exceptions.  ("(a) It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or deliver any dangerous fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. (b) It is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a person who is under 16 years of age. (c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), it is unlawful for any person who is a retailer to sell or transfer to a person under the age of 18 any rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material whether or not the device is designed for emergency or distance signaling purposes. It is also unlawful for a minor to possess such a device unless he or she has the written permission of, or is accompanied by, his or her parent or guardian while it is in his or her possession. (d) Model rocket products including model rockets, launch systems, and model rocket motors designed, sold, and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable model rockets may be sold or transferred pursuant to regulations, adopted by the State Fire Marshal which the Fire Marshal determines are reasonably necessary to carry out the requirements of this part.")

44 See same.

45 Ventura criminal defense attorney Darrell York uses his former experience as a Glendale Police Officer to represent clients accused of violating California's fireworks laws at the Ventura Hall of Justice, the Van Nuys courthouse, the Pasadena courthouse, the Burbank courthouse, the Glendale courthouse, the Lancaster courthouse, the San Fernando courthouse, and the Criminal Courts Building.  Please contact us at Shouse Law Group to schedule a free consultation.

46 Before the police can legally arrest you for violating California's fireworks laws, they must have probable cause to stop you (that is, a reasonable belief that you are or were engaged in criminal activity), a valid California search warrant authorizing them to search your person/property (the scope of which must be strictly adhered to), or your consent to conduct a search of your person/property. If the cops fail to meet this criteria, your California criminal defense lawyer will argue that the weapon was discovered and confiscated during an illegal search and seizure in violation of your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights.

47 California Health and Safety Code 12721 HS -- Seizure.  ("The State Fire Marshal, his or her salaried deputies, or any chief of a fire department, or his or her authorized representatives, any fire protection agency, or any other public agency authorized by statute to enforce the State Fire Marshal's regulations, may seize any fireworks described in this part. The State Fire Marshal, any chief of a fire department, any fire protection agency, or any other public agency authorized to enforce the State Fire Marshal's regulations may charge any person, firm, or corporation, whose fireworks are seized pursuant to this section, an amount which is sufficient to cover the cost of transporting, storing, and handling the seized fireworks. When the State Fire Marshal, other enforcing officer or agency described in this section, or a court determines that a person's, firm's, or corporation's fireworks are illegally or erroneously seized, or if legal proceedings do not result in a conviction for violation of any provision of this part, any funds collected pursuant to this section shall be refunded, or if charged but unpaid, canceled.")

48 California Health and Safety Code 12700 HS -- Offenses; punishment for violating California's fireworks laws.  ("(a) Except as provided in Section 12702 and subdivision (b), a person who violates any provision of this part, or any regulations issued pursuant to this part, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. (b) A person who violates any provision of this part, or any regulations issued pursuant to this part, by possessing dangerous fireworks shall be subject to the following: (1) A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of less than 25 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not exceeding one year, or both that fine and imprisonment. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, a person shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or by both that fine and imprisonment. (2) A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of not less than 25 pounds or more than 100 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (3) A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of not less than 100 pounds or more than 5,000 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (4) A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging, of more than 5,000 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (c) Subdivision (b) shall not apply to a person who holds and is operating within the scope of a valid license as described in Section 12516 or valid permit as described in Section 12522.")

49 California Health and Safety Code 12702 HS -- Sale or delivery of dangerous fireworks to persons under 18 years of age; dangerous fireworks having total net weight of 7,500 grains or more; penalties.  ("Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 12700: (a) A person who violates this part by selling, giving, or delivering any dangerous fireworks to any person under 18 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon a first conviction shall be punished as prescribed in subdivision (b) of Section 12700. (b) Upon a second or subsequent conviction of the offense, the person shall be punished by an additional fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year or by both that fine and imprisonment. The person shall not be granted probation and the execution of the sentence imposed upon the person shall not be suspended by the court.")

50 California Health and Safety Code 12701 HS -- Separate offense for each day of violation.  ("A person is guilty of a separate offense for each day during which he or she commits, continues, or permits a violation of this part, or any order or regulation issued pursuant to this part [referring to California's fireworks laws].")

51 See California Health and Safety Code 12700 HS -- Offenses; punishment for violating California's fireworks laws, subdivision "c", endnote 45, above.

52 California Health and Safety Code 12590 -- Revocation or denial; grounds, subdivision (b).  ("The State Fire Marshal may deny or revoke any license issued pursuant to this part if the State Fire Marshal finds any of the following conditions has occurred: (a) The licensee has failed to pay the annual renewal license fee provided in this chapter. (b) The licensee or license applicant has violated any provisions of this part or any regulations adopted by the State Fire Marshal pursuant to this part. (c) The licensee or license applicant has created or caused a fire nuisance. (d) The licensee has failed to keep full, complete, and accurate records or failed to file any required reports. (e) Any fact or condition exists which, if it had existed at the time of the original application for the license reasonably would have warranted the State Fire Marshal in refusing originally to issue the license. (f) The permit issued under Section 12640 has been rescinded or revoked by the issuing authority. (g) Any licensee or license applicant has refused to make available to the State Fire Marshal full, complete, and accurate records.")

53 California Health and Safety Code 12703 HS -- Temporary suspension of commercial motor vehicle license for transportation of certain dangerous fireworks.  ("(a) The State Fire Marshal shall, in conjunction with the Department of Motor Vehicles, develop regulations and procedures to temporarily suspend the commercial motor vehicle license of a person who is operating a commercial motor vehicle while transporting unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, having a gross weight, including packaging, of 10,000 pounds or more. (b) A driver of a commercial motor vehicle shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle for three years if the driver is convicted of transporting unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, having a gross weight, including packaging, of 10,000 pounds or more, as described in Section 15301 of the Vehicle Code. (c) This section shall not apply to a person who holds and is operating within the scope of a valid license as described in Section 12516 or valid permit as described in Section 12522.")

54 California Health and Safety Code 12540 HS -- Application of provisions.  ("The provisions of this part shall not apply to any of the following: (a) Explosives regulated under Part 1 (commencing with Section 12000) of Division 11. (b) Arms and handguns defined as firearms by the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 [FN1] as well as such devices and weapons classified under Section 16590 or 25850 of the Penal Code, including blank cartridge pistols of the type used at sporting events or theatrical productions...")

55 Penal Code 602 PC California's trespass law prohibits entering another person's property without permission.  Penal Code 415 PC California's "disturbing the peace" law prohibits, among other things, fighting another person in public.   Both offenses may be charged as infractions or misdemeanors and carry no mandatory fines or period of incarceration.

56 Please feel free to contact our Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Daria A. Snadowsky for any questions relating to Nevada's fireworks laws. Their Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas.

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