The answer, it depends.
According to Ohio law, the possession, manufacture, sale, storage, exhibition, handling, and use of fireworks are prohibited unless they have certain licenses. Simply put, unlicensed individuals age 18 or older can only purchase “novelty and trick” fireworks such as sparklers, smoke bombs, glow snakes, snappers, party poppers, and trick matches.
Although unlicensed individuals can purchase and use “consumer” fireworks (also called 1.4g fireworks) from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer. However, you cannot discharge any consumer fireworks in the state.
Consumer or 1.4g fireworks include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Shells and mortars
- Roman candles
- Bottle rockets
- Multiple tube devices
- Firecrackers with up to 50 milligrams of power
Use of consumer fireworks is illegal. Individuals are required to transport all 1.4g fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of the transaction.
In the past, fireworks buyers in Ohio no longer needed to sign a consumer statement confirming that they will take their fireworks out of the state (also known as “Liar’s Law”). But in 2015, lawmakers signed a bill to eliminate the requirement for a consumer to sign a statement.
Large fireworks displays (1.3g fireworks), such as aerial shells, can only be discharged by a licensed exhibitor with a local permit. The permit needs to be approved by both the local fire chief and the local chief law enforcement officer, upon inspection of the exhibition site conducted by an Ohio Fire Marshal checklist.
Individuals who break the law are subject to criminal penalties. A first-time offender is generally charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine of up to $1,000. A subsequent conviction is considered a fifth-degree felony, resulting in a maximum prison term of one year.
If you decide to set off any fireworks with your family members and friends this Fourth of July, make sure you adhere to state laws to avoid a criminal conviction. Our Cleveland criminal defense attorneys at Patituce & Associates wish everyone a fun and safe Independence Day!
If you have been arrested for setting off illegal fireworks in Cleveland, contact us today.