I always loved the Fourth of July growing up. Some of my earliest memories of it were going to the River Festival in my parents’ hometown of Wichita, Kansas and watching the fireworks from the river banks. We’d arrive with my aunt toting a huge patchwork blanket my grandma made and find our perfect spot to take in the upcoming spectacle. The show would start with a flyover from at least one and sometimes multiple B-1 bombers out of the nearby air force base. The noise was deafening and the jet wash made you feel like your whole body was shaking—then the cymbals would crash as the music began and the first set of rounds streaked upward.

Seeing my children’s faces as they experience the same explosion of light and shimmer of fire filling the night sky takes me back to those days. It also reminds me of countless hours my brother and I spent annoying our parents with string after string of Black Cats, shooting bottle rockets down the street and blowing up 2-liter bottles with M-80s. As kids, we did a lot of reckless things with fireworks, which makes it easy to understand now why Houston is strict about its ban of fireworks in the city limits.

This upcoming holiday weekend, if you are caught by local law enforcement discharging
fireworks in certain areas, using them improperly or selling them illegally, the penalties can be quite stiff. Depending on the situation, you could face charges such as Prohibited Use of Fireworks—Class C misdemeanor (maximum fine of $500)—or a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Keep in mind there are areas in unincorporated Harris County where it is perfectly legal to buy, possess and use fireworks. Houston travelers can possess fireworks in their vehicle as long they are packaged, unopened and kept in the trunk, rear compartment or glove box. However, there certain locations and actions with fireworks that could land you in some hot water with the police:

  • Within 600 feet of
    – Church
    – Hospital
    – Child care center
    – Educational institutions
  • Within 100 feet of a fireworks stand or place where flammable liquids or gas are stored
  • In or from a motor vehicle
  • Inside a building

Enjoy the day off with your friends and family, stay safe and take a moment to remember what
we celebrate as the fireworks burst in the air.

Thank you for visiting the Collin Evans’ blog, a Houston criminal attorney. We write to inform locals about current events, news and law changes.