Avvo has been asked literally millions of questions by people seeking—and receiving—legal advice, and we thought it might be fun to surface a few related to the Fourth of July holiday.* We sincerely hope your Independence Day celebrations go relatively smoothly. Enjoy!
Sonora, CA: $426 ticket for a sparkler?
“Waiting for fireworks show to start, I assisted my mother’s friend’s granddaughter with a sparkler purchased from a safe and sane stand in the Bay area. Neighbors used them last year so never thought they were illegal. I was mortified when security from the gated community informed me of this. The authorities then showed up; I was cited and received notice of a $426 ticket. I am 53 yrs old and have never been in trouble. Court is next week. How do I plead so I am able to explain? A warning or community service makes more sense.” How did attorneys respond?
Hamilton, OH: Confetti blast
“What are the ramifications of firing a factory-produced shotgun shell loaded with confetti on July 4th? Is it legal? If I were to do this, what charges would I face?” How did attorneys respond?
Carson, CA: Longshoremen and their annual illegal firework free-for-all
“Every year on the Fourth of July, we are forced out of our home by a street fireworks party that takes place in front of our home and uses our driveway. This has been going on since 2009 when we moved in. Many of our neighbors are longshoremen and the fireworks are illegal and very loud, and they are set off a long while before and after July 4th in direct contravention of city law, every year, with no consequences. Our dogs suffer and must be boarded as a result. The police take no notice. How can we get relief?” How did attorneys respond?
San Diego, CA: Drinking apple juice on the beach = $280 fine
“Me and my girlfriend each received an open container citation on the beach during the Fourth of July. 280$ apiece, even though it was non-alcoholic (apple juice). The officer got annoyed that I would not consent to a search of my belongings so both of us were issued a citation since it was in reach. I was laying down tanning when they pulled up on an ATV. The officer smelled it, poured it out and said it contained beer. It is a fact that it could not have possibly smelled of anything alcoholic. How do I contest the infraction?” How did attorneys respond?
Rockford, IL: Dad takes the hit for son’s questionable boating
“I was given an OUI (Operating Under the Influence) ticket on the Fourth of July. The thing is, my son was operating and got scared when they pulled us over, so he darted from the seat. I sat down and put the boat in neutral, and the cop nailed me because I was the last one to touch the steering wheel. The officer admitted to me he had seen my son operating the boat, but because I put it in neutral he cited me for OUI. What is your legal advice on what I should do? How did attorneys respond?
Longwood, FL: DIY smoke bombs
“I am interested in making one or more smoke bombs for the 4th of July. I plan on using them in a safe, controlled environment (a sandy clearing, or in a lake). They will produce small external flames, and are ground-based. Are there restrictions on this? I could make them burn without external flames, but I am only willing to do so if it is required. I am experienced and knowledgeable about the creation of such devices, and they do not use chlorates or ingredients seen as overly dangerous or poisonous. Thank you in advance for helping this patriotic, but legally challenged citizen of America (who doesn’t feel like calling the fire marshal).” How did attorneys respond?
* Questions have been edited for length and clarity