Is It Illegal To Sell Or Use Fireworks In Florida?
Last year Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 140 into law, granting Florida residents permissive use of fireworks on July 4, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Florida Statute 791.08 indicates the exception to consumer use of fireworks on those days only. What happens if a person tries to light fireworks in the week prior to July 4, or any other day of the year? Can you be criminally charged for selling unused fireworks to a neighbor or friend?
Penalties for Illegal Use or Sale of Fireworks
If a defendant is caught illegally selling or distributing fireworks without a permit can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor and subject to fines and up to 1 year in jail. Sale of illegal fireworks can result in revocation of a vendor’s permit and seizure of contraband items. Licensed distributors also must pay the State of Florida a five hundred dollar bond (similar to a refundable deposit) prior to sales in the event that one of their products causes personal injury or property damage while still on display, or if an employee illegally discharges a firework as part of a demonstration. In addition, in order to sell sparklers, a merchant must submit a sample of the product to the State Licensing Board for testing and approval. If a vendor is found in possession of an altered or adulterated sparkler or other fireworks that they have illegally modified, they can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. It is also illegal for a consumer to attempt to sell unused fireworks or engage in a cash trade or barter with neighbors or friends for fireworks. Only a licensed fireworks merchant can sell fireworks, and only with the proper permits.
Firework Safety Tips
Every year people injure or maim themselves using fireworks incorrectly. Sometimes it is best to leave the fireworks displays up to the professionals. But if you are insistent on lighting off a few sparklers, you can take some precautions to doso safely. First, if weather reports indicate the air or ground is too dry, do not use fireworks. A small flame can catch and cause a fire to spread. Do not let children handle fireworks, lighters, matches or ignition sources, including sparkers. Make sure you maintain at least 500 feet between your launching station and your home, and keep a bucket of water or hose nearby. Do not relight a defective firework and don’t light fireworks in a container, box, or modified launch pad. Wait until it is dark, and secure your pets. If you are a member of a homeowner’s association, it is highly likely you are not permitted to use fireworks. Don’t risk it, because you could get slapped with a hefty fine and if you cause damage you are liable. Finally, do not light fireworks the day before or the week preceding July 4, because it is illegal to do so on all other days.
Contact an Attorney for Help Today
If you or a loved one were arrested for illegal use or sale of fireworks, you might not be overly concerned. After all, how harsh can the penalties be? However, if you sell or distribute fireworks without proper permits, or you cause damage to personal property you can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, costing you thousands. Don’t make another mistake. Call Tampa criminal lawyer Bryant Scriven today for help.