Secs. 12500 to 12728 of the California Health and Safety Code provide the specific laws regarding the manufacture, use, delivery, distribution and sale of illegal fireworks. Fireworks are defined as any device that contains 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.

The laws provide for a specific listing for “dangerous fireworks” and are considered as illegal per se unless there is a special display license obtained for the particular firework. Examples of this class include those that contain arsenic sulfide, arsenites, magnesium, phosphorus, zirconium and many other chemicals, those fireworks that are larger than ten inches in length or one quarter of an inch in diameter, any other fireworks that have been declared unsafe by the State Fire Marshall.

The specific laws are as follows:

a) Sec 12670 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the advertisement that one is in the fireworks business without the appropriate license;
b) Sec 12671 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the engagement in any activity with fireworks that have not been registered with the State Fire Marshall;
c) Sec 12672 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the sale or offer of sale of fireworks outside a specific time schedule, namely 12 pm June 28 to 12 pm July 6;
d) Sec 12673 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the illegal storage of fireworks;
e) Sec 12674 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the storage fireworks once the storage license has expired or has been revoked or has surrendered;
f) Sec 12675 of the California Health and Safety Code punishes the failure to record the license numbers on fireworks sales or shipments;
g) Sec 12676 of the California Health and Safety Code punishes the giving, delivery or sale of dangerous fireworks to an individual without the necessary permit;
h) Sec 12677 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit;
i) Sec 12678 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the discharge of agricultural or wildlife fireworks without a permit;
j) Sec 12679 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the storage, sale or discharge of fireworks too close to a gas station or other area where flammable liquids are stored or dispensed;
k) Sec 12680 of the California Health and Safety Code punishes the discharge fireworks where they are likely to harm another person or where you intend to cause chaos, fear or panic;
l) Sec 12681 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the sale of safe fireworks anywhere other than a fixed, licensed place of business;
m) Sec 12682 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the allowance of a fire nuisance to exist in the place of business where fireworks are sold, manufactured, assembled, packaged, stored or distributed;
n) Sec 12683 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the sale, use or discharge of an emergency signaling device or flare that has been registered with the State Fire Marshall;
o) Sec 12684 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the use of an emergency signaling device (a “flare”) in an unintended manner;
p) Sec 12685 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the conduct of a public display of fireworks without a permit;
q) Sec 12686 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the use of special effects fireworks (that is, those that are manufactured, designed, assembled or used in connection with TV, movies or theater) without a pyrotechnic license;
r) Sec 12687 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the sale, giving, transfer or delivery of special effects fireworks to anyone who doesn’t hold a pyrotechnic license;
s) Sec 12688 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the advertising to sell or transfer of fireworks without a license or permit to do so;
t) Sec 12689 of the California Health and Safety Code punishes the sale or delivery of fireworks to minors;
u) Sec 12690 of the California Health and Safety Code penalizes the operation of fireworks displays with an expired license;

Despite the numerous specific acts, the provisions of California fireworks laws are prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses with the applicable penalties of one (1) year in county jail and payment of fines between $500 and $1,000. Sentencing enhancements apply depending upon the weight of the fireworks found in their possession.

Violation of illegal fireworks laws is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.