On the Fourth of July, Santa Barbara residents celebrate the birth of our country by hosting barbeques and pool parties, enjoying the beach, and setting off fireworks. However, it is important to understand that fireworks are illegal in most of Santa Barbara County.
But if you plan on lighting up fireworks of your own, you can only purchase, possess, and use “safe and sane” fireworks in three northern Santa Barbara County cities--Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Guadalupe. These cities allow the sale of state-sanctioned fireworks--that do not project into the sky--at booths operated by nonprofit organizations, while they may be used typically between morning and late a night. Outside of Santa Barbara County, safe and sane fireworks are also legally sold in Fillmore, Oceano, Arroyo Grande, and Grover Beach.
A person is not allowed to transport or set off fireworks purchased at these designated cities in any other city in Santa Barbara County. Law enforcement is likely to be patrolling the streets and neighborhoods throughout the county.
Any caught in possession of fireworks of any kind within city limits--outside of the “safe and sane” cities--could face misdemeanor or felony charges, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000. Furthermore, possession of more than a pound of illegal fireworks is considered a felony, resulting in possible jail time.
Remember, thousands of people--typically children and teens--are injured due to the use of illegal fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 9,300 injuries and 32,000 fires result from fireworks in the United States.
At Appel & Morse, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys recommend the best way to view fireworks is to attend one of the public fireworks displays conducted by professional pyro-technicians hired by local establishments. Not only do you avoid arrest, but also prevent injury. Our experienced legal team wishes everyone a happy and safe Independence Day!
If you have been arrested for violating county fireworks law, contact us and request a free criminal consultation today.