Are Fireworks Illegal in Jacksonville FL?
Florida law prohibits people and companies from selling or trying to sell fireworks. It is also illegal to use or explode firecrackers in Florida. Duval County also has an ordinance prohibiting the use of fireworks. “Among local codes, Duval County does not allow unauthorized discharge of fireworks on any park, beach, dock, marina or other recreational facility. In Jacksonville Beach, an ordinance prohibits the sale, possession, or explosion of fireworks inside the city limits. Violators could be fined $50. In St. Augustine Beach the fine is $58 for igniting fireworks that explode or leave the ground. The fireworks will be confiscated.” (Jacksonville.com)
Are There Any types of Fireworks That Are Legal in Jacksonville FL?
There are fireworks that may be legally used. “Legal fireworks are called sparklers, which include snakes or glow worms, smoke devices, party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches and a couple of other items such as cigarette loads.” (Jacksonville.com)
What is the Law that Prohibits Fireworks in Florida?
Florida Statute Section 791.02 governs the sale and use of fireworks. It states:
(1) Except as hereinafter provided it is unlawful for any person, firm, copartnership, or corporation to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks; provided that the board of county commissioners shall have power to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the granting of permits for supervised public display of fireworks by fair associations, amusement parks, and other organizations or groups of individuals when such public display is to take place outside of any municipality; provided, further, that the governing body of any municipality shall have power to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the granting of permits for supervised public display of fireworks within the boundaries of any municipality. Every such display shall be handled by a competent operator to be approved by the chiefs of the police and fire departments of the municipality in which the display is to be held, and shall be of such a character, and so located, discharged, or fired as in the opinion of the chief of the fire department, after proper inspection, shall not be hazardous to property or endanger any person. Application for permits shall be made in writing at least 15 days in advance of the date of the display. After such privilege shall have been granted, sales, possession, use, and distribution of fireworks for such display shall be lawful for that purpose only. No permit granted hereunder shall be transferable.
(2) A sparkler or other product authorized for sale under this chapter may not be sold by a retailer or seasonal retailer unless the product was obtained from a manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler registered with the division pursuant to s. 791.015. Each retailer and seasonal retailer shall keep, at every location where sparklers are sold, a copy of an invoice or other evidence of purchase from the manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler, which states the registration certificate number for the particular manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler and the specific items covered by the invoice. Each seasonal retailer shall, in addition, exhibit a copy of his or her registration certificate at each seasonal retail location.
Why Do They Sell Fireworks in Florida if They are Not Legal?
It is not illegal to have or possess fireworks in Florida, but they may be confiscated. It is a crime to sell or use them. There is a loop hole, and this is how retail stores get around the law. “Fireworks can be imported, sold and used to frighten birds from ‘agricultural works and fish hatcheries.’ Fireworks vendors have utilized this exception widely by having customers sign a form stating that the fireworks they are selling will be used for these purposes. They are then allowed to sell what would otherwise be illegal fireworks in Florida.” (Pasco County Sheriffs Department)
If I Use Fireworks in Florida, is a Serious Crime?
As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I do not want to say that using fireworks is not a serious crime, because every crime is serious when it happens to you. Every crime can create a Florida criminal record. However, it is a minor offense. Under Florida Statute 791.06, it is a first degree misdemeanor. You may be arrested for it or given a criminal citation. If you are only given a citation, do not think that it is the same thing as a Florida speeding ticket. It is not.
If you are arrested or given a citation, contact a Jacksonville lawyer at (904) 564-2525.