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Are Fireworks Legal in Wisconsin?


In Wisconsin and in the rest of the United States, we celebrate our nation’s independence on the fourth of July with barbeques, parades, and especially fireworks. Although many people leave the fireworks display to the professionals, others wish to fire off their own at home.

However, there are several state laws about purchasing and using fireworks that Wisconsin residents need to be aware of before having their own fireworks show. There are some types of fireworks people can purchase and use without a permit, while there are others that require one.

The following fireworks are legal for sale, possession, and use without a permit:

  • Sparklers (no larger than 36 inches in length)
  • Smoke bombs
  • Toy snakes
  • Stationary cones and fountains
  • Noisemakers
  • Caps
  • Novelty devices which spin or move on the ground
  • Confetti poppers (less than a ¼ grain of explosive mixture)

Fireworks that are considered illegal without a permit include:

  • Bottle rockets
  • Roman candles
  • Mortars
  • Firecrackers
  • Any device which explodes or leaves the ground

A permit may be issued by a mayor, village president or town chair, or any individual designated by the mayor, village president, or town chairperson. Such a permit is only valid in the city, village, or town of the official who issued it.

The permit needs to specify the date of the permitted use, as well as the date on and after which the fireworks can be purchased. A copy of the permit for large fireworks displays must be given to a fire or law enforcement official in the municipality that issued the permit at least two days before the date of use.

Keep in mind, a nonresident is not allowed to purchase or use fireworks in Wisconsin without a valid state permit. However, a nonresident without a valid state permit may order fireworks from a vendor with regard to out-of-state shipping.

An individual who possesses or uses fireworks without a valid permit, or who sells fireworks to a person who does not possess a valid permit, is subject to a fine of $1,000. Each firework illegally possessed, sold, or used is considered a separate violation.

Contact our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella to learn more information about Wisconsin’s fireworks laws today.

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