Ohioans who like to celebrate things with a bang have been required to stick to sparklers and a few other types of pyrotechnics. Fireworks haven’t been legal for consumer use in the state. That will change on July 1 thanks to a law signed in November by Gov. Mike DeWine.
Under the new law, adults can use consumer fireworks legally on specific days on their own property or that of someone else with their permission. These include:
- New Year’s Eve/Day
- Memorial Day weekend
- July 3 through 5 and surrounding Fridays through Sundays
- Labor Day weekend
They will also be legal on some holidays more specific to certain cultures and religions, including Cinco de Mayo, Juneteenth, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
Know the law in your area
Ohio municipalities can still prohibit fireworks on any or all of these days or place other restrictions on them, such as the time of day they’re allowed. Therefore, before you plan your Fourth of July party, make sure you know what restrictions may apply.
As with many things, just because they’re legal under some circumstances, that doesn’t mean they don’t have limits. For example, if you’re caught using fireworks while under the influence (of drugs and/or alcohol), you could face first-degree misdemeanor charges.
You can still face criminal charges for damage and harm
If a person’s reckless or negligent use of fireworks causes property damage, injury or death, they can also face criminal charges (along with civil lawsuits). For example, the couple whose gender reveal pyrotechnics started a massive California wildfire in 2020 that claimed the life of a firefighter is facing some 30 criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter. The fire destroyed 23,000 acres of land and 20 structures.
It’s crucial to keep all of this in mind and make sure you know how to safely use fireworks before you do. The legal ramifications can be significant if you don’t.