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Criminal Defense, Criminal Law

Ohio’s New 2022 Firework Law, Its Potential Penalties, and the Municipalities Which Have Opted Out

Firework Laws in Ohio

In November of 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill 172 into law, which allows for the ignition of various consumer-grade fireworks on certain days in Ohio. Fourth of July Weekend 2022 is the first series of dates for this law to take effect. Here is what you need to know about the new fireworks legislation in Ohio.

What are the Different Categories of Fireworks in Ohio?

“Trick and Novelty”

– Smokes, sparklers, snaps, and snakes.

– Can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio.

1.4G Fireworks

– Commonly referred to as consumer fireworks.

– Firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, and fountains.

– License needed to sell.

– Anyone over 18 years of age may purchase.

1.3G Fireworks

– Display or exhibitor fireworks – aerial shells that are fired from mortars.

– Can only be sold by a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or sometimes an out-of-state shipper.

– Can only be sold to a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or exhibitor.

– Can only be discharged by a licensed exhibitor in accordance with Ohio laws.

– Requires a properly issued exhibition permit issued by local fire and police departments before use.

What Is the Old Firework Law in Ohio?

Prior to July 1, 2022, the only fireworks permitted for use in Ohio were those in the “trick and novelty” category – smokes, sparklers, snaps, etc. Ohioans could purchase the 1.4G consumer fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer within the state. However, these fireworks were historically not permitted to be discharged within the state boundary lines and were required to be removed from Ohio within 48 hours of purchase.

Up until several years ago, buyers of 1.4G consumer fireworks were required to sign a purchaser form, smugly deemed the “Liar’s Law.” This law required buyers to sign a form stating that they would not set off their purchased fireworks in Ohio and would do so in another state. The nickname for the provision comes from the somewhat obvious expectation that Ohioans would disregard the law and set off the fireworks within state bounds anyway, as there was little government oversight. Proponents of legal fireworks successfully removed this provision in 2016 which was a small stepping stone to HB 172.

HB 172 has no effect on trick and novelty fireworks or 1.3G fireworks. With regards to 1.3G exhibitor fireworks, all the same rules and stipulations regarding licensure to sell, buy, and display are still in place.

What Does the New Ohio Law on Fireworks Permit?

Beginning on July 1, 2022, Ohioans may ignite 1.4G consumer-grade fireworks on the following days, typically from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, with certain exceptions:

– New Year’s Day;

– Chinese New Year;

– Cinco de Mayo;

– Memorial Day and the preceding Saturday and Sunday;

– Juneteenth;

– Fourth of July; July 3rd and July 5th; and, the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after;

– Labor Day and the preceding Saturday and Sunday;

– Diwali; and,

– New Year’s Eve.

It is important to know that fireworks may only be ignited on one’s private property or on another’s with the owner’s permission. It is illegal to set off fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Though the state fire marshal is responsible for creating the rules for consumer use, it is also important to note that the new law allows local municipalities to opt-out or add additional restrictions to the dates and times listed above. Local nuisance, sound, and disorderly conduct laws will also still apply.

Which Ohio Municipalities Have Opted Out of the New Law or Continued Previously Imposed Firework Bans? 

Akron, Albany, Aurora, Barberton, Bay Village, Beachwood, Beavercreek, Bedford, Berea, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Brook Park, Brunswick, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Columbus, Concord Township, Dayton, Dublin, Eastlake, Euclid, Fairborn, Fairport Harbor, Fostoria, Gahanna, Germantown, Highland Heights, Kettering, Lakewood, Lorain, Lyndhurst, Madison Township, Mansfield, Mayfield Heights, Medina, Mentor, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Middleburg Heights, Mogadore, Newburgh Heights, North Olmsted, North Royalton, Norwalk, Oakwood, Oberlin, Orange Village, Painesville, Parma, Parma Heights, Pepper Pike, Perry Village, Richmond Heights, Rocky River, Sandusky, Seven Hills, Shaker Heights, Silver Lake, South Euclid, Strongsville, Tallmadge, Toledo, Twinsburg, University Heights, Upper Arlington, Vandalia, Vermillion, Wadsworth, Warrensville Heights, Westlake, Willoughby Hills, and Worthington.

*This is an active list and will be modified accordingly.

What are the Penalties for Violations of the New Ohio Fireworks Law?

Common firework-related violations include:

– Non-licensed individual selling, buying, or discharging 1.3G fireworks;

– Falsifying an application when purchasing fireworks; and,

– Igniting fireworks on an unauthorized place or in an unauthorized location.

First-time violations are usually classified as first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six-months in jail. As with any criminal offense, the punishment can increase in severity depending on any additional factors, such as one’s level of intoxication or violation of additional laws.

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Attorney Brad Wolfe is a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland, Ohio. If you, or a loved one, have been charged with a crime or are under investigation, Attorney Wolfe is available 24/7 at (216) 815-6000.
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