Criminal Issues Associated with July 4th Celebrations
While the 4th of July – which marks the birth of the United States of America – is meant to be celebrated, we want to caution you that there are a number of activities often thought of as celebratory in nature that are actually criminal in nature, and you can get in trouble for taking part in them.
In this blog, we will detail a couple of illegal things which South Floridians have done in the past as ways to mark the holiday. Read on to see what not to do if you want to spend the weekend having fun, not sitting in a jail cell.
First, we will start with a warning from Miami’s Mayor Tomas Regalado, who this week urged folks in Miami not to partake in so-called “celebratory gunfire,” which is when people fire bullets into the sky. Regalado was joined by Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who pointed out that “what goes up must come down.” In addition to being very dangerous, the practice of firing bullets into the sky is also illegal.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, firing bullets into the sky puts everyone around you in danger. In 2006, a 9-year-old girl in Miami was killed by a stray killer. Two years ago, a woman in Fort Lauderdale was struck by and injured by a stray bullet.
In addition to not firing guns into the air this weekend, you should also be sure not to play with fireworks. While some of them are fun and legal, many are not. As the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office declared in a message concerning fireworks safety for July 4th Weekend, “if it launches or explodes, it is off limits.” As the Sun-Sentinel reported, some illegal fireworks which are prohibited for normal resale include bottle rockets, M80s with mortar, M80s, firecracker rolls, standard fireworks, etc. As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, using fireworks illegally is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and 1 year in prison, serious consequences for a poor holiday-inspired decision.
The Sun-Sentinel went on to list a number of precautions to keep in mind when using fireworks lawfully this July 4th Weekend. These include, but are not limited to: use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat and hard surface, don’t light them on grass, use sparklers on an open area, keep children and pets 30+ feet away from all ignited fireworks, etc. The full list of helpful precautions can be read here.
And, of course, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, never drink and drive. As this holiday invites drunk driving more so than most others, police officers will be out and about, at checkpoints, undercover and patrolling in uniform, to catch people driving while intoxicated. For your own good, and for the safety of your fellow Floridians, please do not drink and drive.
Stay safe and have a great weekend. If you have any questions about these or any other criminal defense issues, or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you!