Selling Fireworks to a Minor in California

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California lawmakers aren’t thrilled about fireworks and have created laws to restrict their use. The reason such tight fireworks laws exist in California stems from a few underlying concerns that include:

  • Worry about wildfires
  • Safety concerns
  • Trying to keep noises down out of respect to those who can’t handle flashing lights and a great deal of noise.
  • Concern about potential property damage

The state is so determined to keep fireworks as safe as possible, that they’ve created strict laws surrounding the sale of legal of what the state considers dangerous fireworks to minors.

The sale of fireworks in California is dealt with in Health & Safety Code 12702 H. It states: “(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.”

Selling or giving dangerous fireworks to a California minor is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the defendant faces a sentence that includes serving up to a year in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

While most cases that involve fireworks and minors involve the illegal sale of fireworks to minors, individuals who give a dangerous firework to a minor could also face criminal charges.

In the case of fireworks, California prohibits the furnishing of dangerous fireworks to anyone who isn’t at least 18 years old. The types of fireworks the state deems dangerous and therefore illegal for a minor to possess include fireworks that are more than 10 inches long and a quarter-inch in diameter. Specific types of fireworks that are considered dangerous include:

  • Roman candles
  • Exploding golf balls
  • Devil-on-the-walk
  • Chasers
  • Firecrackers
  • Skyrockets
  • Explode on impact torpedoes
  • Firework kits

Any fireworks that are constructed with chemicals that include chlorates, arsenic sulfide, picric acid, phosphorus (excluding red phosphorus,) boron, mercury salts, and gallic acid are considered dangerous.