Giants Reveler Arrested for Setting Off Fireworks in Hercules (CA Health and Safety Code 12500-12728)

Considering the circumstances, perhaps the police should have been easier on a Giants fan caught setting off small fireworks displays close to Canterbury Drive after the game.  After all, when the Giants won the World Series, many people felt like celebrating.  There was even a fireworks display at AT&T Park.  However, celebrating with fireworks inside the city limits, when you’re not a professional who deals with pyrotechnics as a matter of course is illegal.  The unknown fan was given a citation for possession of ‘dangerous fireworks.’

Strangely enough, there are 2 different categories of fireworks according to California’s Health and Safety Code 12500-12728:  ‘safe and sane’ fireworks and ‘dangerous fireworks.’  ‘Safe and sane’ fireworks are defined as fireworks that are marked with a seal from the state Fire Marshall, who’s office regularly registers legal fireworks.  Any other kind of firework is considered to be dangerous.  Examples of ‘dangerous fireworks’ include rocket and sparkler types that are more than 10 inches long or thicker than ¼ inch around.  The distinction of ‘dangerous’ could also apply because the fireworks contain some known poisonous or hazardous substance like arsenites, magnesium, or phosphorous.

Although the possession or use of illegal fireworks is usually treated as a misdemeanor, it could rise to the level of a felony if you are in possession of a large number of fireworks that are considered dangerous; in a felony case, fines can be as high as $50,000 and you could end up spending up to 3 years in state prison.  However, a misdemeanor conviction of the same means facing only a $1,000 fine and a possible 1 year sentence in county jail.