Happy July 4th weekend! 

July 4th is around the corner, and everyone is looking forward to the three day weekend that is coming up.  When you think about July 4th, you think of fireworks, parades, BBQ, the beach, and of course drinking.  While this weekend seems packed with fun and games, you must also be aware of the law, as a violation can lead to jail for the weekend, and no one wants that.

Below are some common laws that are violated during July 4th weekend for you to be aware of.  Knowledge is power, and armed with the law, you will be able to stay out of trouble this July 4th weekend!

–Fireworks in Los Angeles County: The County of Los Angeles Fire Code, Title 32, Section 5601.3 states that it is illegal to store, manufacture, sell, use, or handle ALL FORMS of fireworks without a valid permit in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.


FIREWORKS: Under California Health and Safety Code Fireworks Penalties, Section 12700 states, “any person who violates any provision of the State Fireworks laws or Regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not less than $500, but not to exceed $1,000 by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both.”

DANGEROUS FIREWORKS: Under California Health and Safety Code Fireworks Penalties, Section 12700(B) states, “a person in possession of unaltered dangerous fireworks in violation of the State Fireworks Law is punishable as a misdemeanor or a public offense with fines ranging from $500 to more than $50,000, depending on the gross weight of unaltered dangerous fireworks in possession.”


–Drunk in Public:
Under California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC, it is a misdemeanor offense to be drunk in public.

Penalties: informal probation, a maximum of 6 months in a county jail, and/or a maximum $1,000 fine                                                                                                                                                                    Related Offense: PC 415 Disturbing the Peace (Misdemeanor)




–DUI: California VC 23152 (a) Driving under the Influence is a misdemeanor.

VC 23152(b) BAC of .08 or above is also a misdemeanor.

Penalties: 3 years formal probation, Fines, possible temporary suspension of your driver’s license, DUI classes, AA meetings, Ignition interlock, and jail time.

Be especially aware of DUI checkpoints as they are common during July 4th weekend.

For a checkpoint to be valid:

  1. Supervising officers must make all operational decisions.
  2. The criteria for stopping motorists must be neutral (Example: Stopping every 3rd vehicle)
  3. The sobriety checkpoint must be reasonably located
  4. Adequate safety precautions must be taken
  5. The checkpoint’s time and duration should reflect “good judgment.”
  6. The checkpoint must exhibit sufficient indicia of its official nature.
  7. DUI roadblocks should be publicly advertised in advance (look online for such notices)

Question: Can I turn off the road to avoid a DUI checkpoint? There is no law that says you may not intentionally avoid a DUI checkpoint…if it is safe to do so. You will be pulled over if, while you are avoiding a checkpoint you: commit a traffic violation; have a defect on your vehicle, and display signs of obvious intoxication.

TIP: Just because you are pulled over at a DUI checkpoint does not mean that the police have the right to search your car. You have the right to say no to a search.  Unless the police have a warrant, they will not be able to search the vehicle without your CONSENT.




–Negligent Discharge of a Firearm: California Penal Code 246.3

Under California Penal Code 246.3 PC, you commit the crime of “negligent discharge of a firearm” if you: Willfully discharge a firearm in a grossly negligent man, which could result in someone’s injury or death.1

Penalties: California law imposes harsh penalties for this offense. Negligently firing a gun is what is known as a “wobbler”—which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a California felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, PC 246.3 negligent discharge carries a maximum county jail sentence of one (1) year. Charged as a felony, it can lead to sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in county jail.

TIP: DO NOT FIRE A GUN INTO THE AIR. Not only is it grossly negligent, but when the bullet comes back down from the sky (which it will.  A bullet is NOT FIREWORKS) it can seriously hurt or kill someone, as well as cause serious property damage.

CONCLUSION: In short, as you celebrate Independence Day, keep these points in mind, and you will have a safe arrest free July 4th.

— Leave the fireworks to professionals;

–Don’t be intoxicated in public or disturb the peace;

–Do not drink and drive and instead take Uber.

–Do not fire a gun into the air. The bullet will come down and can cause serious injury to person or property.


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