Last weekend we all celebrated our Nation’s Declaration of independence on July 4th. Some of us had barbecue’s to attend, some of us attended a local parade or two, and of course most of us celebrate the 4th of July with the incorporation of fireworks. We have received a few phone calls in the office regarding clients receiving a citation for fireworks. The most common fireworks offenses are unlawful possession of fireworks and the unlawful discharge or use of fireworks. Both of these charges are considered criminal charges and come with the possibility of monetary penalties and time spent in jail.
Possession of Illegal Fireworks
The general everyday fireworks that most of us buy at the local firework stand are classified as “Consumer Fireworks”. Illegal fireworks are any fireworks that do not follow the definition of “Consumer Fireworks” under the WAC 212-17-035. The Washington State Patrol has a list of illegal fireworks found on their website. According to RCW 70.77.485 which addresses the unlawful possession of fireworks, depending on the amount of illegal fireworks in your possession you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor.
Unlawful Discharge or Use of Fireworks
RCW 70.77.488 addresses the unlawful discharge or use of fireworks. This RCW is a law that explains that it is illegal for anyone to discharge or use fireworks that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to someone or damage to someone else’s property. Violation of unlawful discharge or use of fireworks is considered a gross misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor vs Gross Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor conviction comes with a 90 days maximum penalty in jail and a $1000.00 fine. A gross misdemeanor conviction comes with a 364 days maximum penalty in jail and a $500.00 fine.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving a criminal citation, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call. He is an experienced criminal defense attorney and has been handling criminal cases since 1992.
If you’ve just been pulled over and would like Rick to represent you - give us a call or send us an email, we’ll get right back to you.
If you have any questions at any time throughout the process you can always call and ask the office - we are more than happy to help.
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Image Credit: Illegal Fireworks by WSFWSmidwest on Flickr