Texas Penal Code 50.02 – Unlawful Use of Fireworks
WHAT IS UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against unlawful use of fireworks prohibits igniting or exploding a firework to interfere with law enforcement’s performance of an official duty, or to flee from law enforcement attempting to arrest or detain the person.
- What is a firework? Federal law defines “fireworks” as pyrotechnic articles designed for entertainment. In other words, a firework is a device containing gunpowder and other combustible chemicals that causes an explosion when ignited, most commonly used for display and celebration.Title 16 Section 1500.17 of the Code of Federal Regulations bans certain fireworks not considered “consumer fireworks,” and Texas law increases the punishment for a person who uses commercial grade fireworks against law enforcement.
WHAT IS THE UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 50.02. UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person explodes or ignites fireworks with the intent to:
(1) interfere with the lawful performance of an official duty by a law enforcement officer; or
(2) flee from a person the actor knows is a law enforcement officer attempting to lawfully arrest or detain the actor.
(b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d), an offense under this section is a state jail felony.
(c) An offense under this section that involves any firework that is not a consumer firework is a second degree felony.
(d) Notwithstanding Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the offense causes serious bodily injury to a person the actor knows is a law enforcement officer while the law enforcement officer is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a law enforcement officer.
(e) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
Unlawful use of consumer fireworks is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility. Unlawful use of commercial grade fireworks is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for unlawful use of consumer fireworks, a state jail felony, is 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, and a maximum $10,000 fine. Unlawful use of fireworks charged as a second degree felony carries between two and 20 years in prison, and a maximum $10,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
A person charged with unlawful use of fireworks may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period not to exceed ten years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to unlawful use of fireworks. A person accused thereof may attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for unlawful use of fireworks is three years.
UNLAWFUL USE OF FIREWORKS IN TEXAS
The Texas Legislature enacted the law punishing the unlawful use of fireworks in 2021 in response to people using fireworks against police officers during the nationwide protests in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. Texas law punishes using fireworks against police officers as a felony.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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