Backyard Fireworks Bill Delayed in Ohio Senate

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Backyard Fireworks Bill Delayed in Ohio Senate

Planning on lighting your own backyard fireworks show on July 4th? You might want to think twice.


Consumer fireworks like Roman candles and bottle rockets still have to be taken out of state 48 hours after they are purchased.

Efforts to legalize these types of consumer fireworks in Ohio passed the House, but so far have been stuck in committee in the Senate.

There are still quite a few groups opposed to this bill.

Prevent Blindness Ohio is one group lobbying against it. They say 20% of all fireworks injuries result in injuries to the eyes and they say legalizing this could cause more injuries. The last hearing on this in the Senate was back in May. No word yet if it will clear committee soon.


A brief tutorial on backyard fireworks law in Ohio


Q: What does Ohio law say about fireworks?

A: Section 1301:7-7-33, of the Ohio Administrative Code, Explosives and Fireworks, says:
“The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling, exhibition and use of fireworks are prohibited except as permitted in accordance with Chapter 3743. of the Revised Code and this rule.” (See Subsection (c) 3301.1.3)


Q: What kinds of fireworks can be lawfully set off in Ohio?

A: Only “novelty and trick” fireworks, such as party poppers and glow worms can be discharged by unlicensed individuals. Section 3743.01 of the Ohio Revised Code defines these novelty and trick items as: “(1) Devices that produce a small report intended to surprise the user, including, but not limited to, booby traps, cigarette loads, party poppers and snappers; (2) snakes or glow worms; (3) smoke devices; and (4) trick matches.”


Q: As an Ohio citizen, can I buy and use fireworks?

A: The State Fire Marshal has answered this question through the “Frequently Asked Questions” web page:
“Yes, you may buy consumer or 1.4g fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer; however, you cannot discharge any consumer or 1.4g fireworks in the State of Ohio. You must transport all fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of the purchase. The only items that can be used in Ohio are designated “trick and novelty,” which smoke, pop, and/or sparkle. In Ohio, use of 1.4g fireworks (firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc.) is illegal. (R.C. 3743.65 (B)).”

After 2015, fireworks purchasers in Ohio no longer must sign a consumer statement confirming that they will be taking fireworks out of Ohio (the so-called “Liar’s Law”). The state budget bill, signed into law on June 30, 2015, eliminates the requirement for a consumer to sign a statement. For more information on Ohio fireworks, click here.


Q: Are there criminal penalties if individuals violate the fireworks law?

A: Yes. First-time offenders are normally charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. If they plead guilty or are convicted, they can be sentenced to up to six months in jail, and also fined up to $1,000. A subsequent conviction is a fifth-degree felony, potentially punishable by a prison term of up to one year.


Q: On the 4th of July, who may set off the large fireworks displays?

A: These aerial shells, known as “1.3G Fireworks,” can only discharged by a licensed exhibitor with a local permit. The permit must be approved by both the local fire chief and the local chief law enforcement officer after the exhibition site has been inspected using an Ohio Fire Marshal checklist.


Q: Are there licensed manufacturers and wholesalers in Ohio?

A: Yes. The Fireworks & Explosive Unit of the State Fire Marshal has issued licenses to firework wholesalers, fireworks manufacturers, fireworks shippers, and licensed exhibitors, registered assistants and flame effect technicians.


Q: Who should I contact if I find illegal fireworks or have a fireworks incident and need assistance?

A: You should report the discovery of illegal fireworks or any fireworks incident which results in injuries or property damage to a fire code official immediately.

You can call the Investigations Bureau (614-752-7107) during business hours, or the emergency number (800-589-2728) after hours. The local fire code official must immediately make a report to the fire marshal. The State Fire Marshal inspector(s) and/or investigator(s) will then be dispatched to your location.


Q: Does Ohio law require a license for the sale and use of fireworks?

A: Yes, manufacturers, wholesalers, exhibitors, and shippers of fireworks must have licenses issued by the State Fire Marshal to use fireworks. All licenses must be renewed each year.


Q: Can I get a license to sell fireworks?

A: Not at this time. In Ohio, a moratorium on the issuance of licenses to any additional fireworks manufacturers and wholesalers will remain in effect until December 15, 2017. See


Q: Where can I get more information?

A: The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 3743 and the Ohio Fire Code (OFC) 1301:7-7-33 govern fireworks in Ohio.


Article references: Fox 8 Cleveland, Ohio State Bar Association


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Ohio’s New OVI Law

Category : blog , OVI/DUI


On January 4, 2017, Governor Kasich signed H.B. 388 into law. Known as “Annie’s Law,” the bill modifies OVI sentencing law and is intended to incentive the use of ignition­ interlock devices.

Annie’s law is named for Annie Rooney, who was killed by a drunk driver on July 4, 2013, in Chillicothe, Ohio. Annie was a graduate of Western Reserve Academy, Brown University, and the Lewis and Clark Law School was just 36 years old.

Here is a summary of the changes:


Under existing law, first-time OVI offenders are subject to a mandatory driver’s license suspension. A court may grant “limited” driving privileges, allowing the offender to drive for occupational, educational, vocational, or medical purposes, to take a driver’s license examination, to attend court-ordered treatment, or any other purpose that the court determines to be appropriate (R.C. 4510.021 (A)).

As an alternative to these “limited” driving privileges, H.B. 388 now allows first-time OVI offenders to petition the court for “unlimited driving privileges” with an ignition-interlock device (“11D”).

Under these unlimited driving privileges, offenders can drive without limitation as to time, place, or purpose, provided they have IIDs installed in their vehicles. A court granting unlimited driving privileges may still impose other reasonable conditions upon the privileges, such as maintaining insurance and refraining from committing further traffic violations.

Any mandatory jail time associated with the underlying OVI offense is to be suspended pending successful (i.e. no 11D violations) completion · of the licensee’s suspension period, and the court shall maintain jurisdiction over the offender until the expiration of the suspension period.

If the offender violates any term or condition the court has imposed on the driving privileges, the court shall require the offender to serve the jail term. Additionally, courts may shorten the length of suspension for offenders on unlimited driving privileges.

H.B. 388 does nothing to change the existing options pertaining to driving privileges during a mandatory suspension for first-time OVI offenders. That is, the court still has the discretion to deny any driving privileges altogether, to grant “limited” driving privileges as they exist in current law, and, now, to grant “unlimited” driving privileges with an 11D.

Upon issuing an order requiring the use of an 11D, the court shall provide notice to the offender of all the actions a court is authorized or required to take if the offender commits an 11D violation.

An offender who is granted unlimited-with-11D privileges is required to obtain from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles a restricted license. An offender who operates a vehicle before obtaining such a license is subject to the existing penalties for driving under OVI suspension (R.C. 4510.14).


The bill defines an “ignition interlock device violation” as a certified device, installed in an offender’s vehicle, indicating that it has prevented the offender from starting a motor vehicle because the device was tampered with or circumvented, or the device detected the presence of alcohol on the offender’s breath.

The manufacturer of the 11D shall inform the court of any violations that occur. The penalties for an 11D violation remain the same as in current law (R.C. 4510.13).

Upon any such 11D violation, existing law allows the court to increase both the license suspension and the period of time which the offender is prohibited from exercising any limited driving privileges by a factor of two. Any increase in the suspension length cannot result in a suspension that is longer than what the court was originally authorized to order.

If, however, the violation occurs within sixty days of the end of the suspension period, and the court does not impose an increased suspension by a factor of two, H.B. 388 requires the court to issue an order extending the suspension so that the suspension terminates sixty days from the date of the 11D violation, regardless of whether this extension results in a suspension longer than what the court was originally authorized to order.


Under current law, a first OVI offense is subject to a suspension of six months to three years, a second offense is one to five years, and a third offense is two to ten years. H.B. 388 modifies these ranges as follows:

  • First OVI offense: 1 to 3 years
  • Second OVI offense: 1 to 7 years 
  • Third OVI offense: 2 to 12 years

If, however, a first-time OVI offender requests and is granted unlimited-with-110 privileges, the court may reduce the minimum length of the suspension by half (thus a minimum six­ month suspension for unlimited-with-110 privileges).


The bill also modifies the “lookback” period for purposes of enhanced penalties for repeat OVl-related offenses. Under existing law, that period is six years, while H.B. 388 changes that period to ten years.


When granting unlimited-with-11D privileges, H.B. 388 requires courts to impose an additional court cost of $2.50, which may not be waived unless the offender is found to be indigent. This cost is to be used to fund the Department of Public Safety’s habitual OVl­ offender registry. The court may also impose an addition $2.50 cost to be deposited in the court’s special projects fund.


The bill removes the requirement that an offender display restricted license plates following a second OVI offense. The bill retains the requirement for second-time offenders if the offender committed a “high test” violation or if the offender refused to submit to a chemical test and had previously committed an OVI offense within the preceding 20 years.


Charged with intoxicated driving? Matt Mishak Attorney at Law can help. As a former Chief Prosecutor, Attorney Mishak has been involved with thousands of OVI cases. Contact him today to see how he can help you.


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