Are Fireworks Legal in North Carolina? (2023)

For millions of Americans, July Fourth means cookouts, pool parties, parades, and of course fireworks. However, North Carolina has many strict laws which regulate fireworks use.

NC Firework Laws

So, many Tarheels cross the state line to South Carolina, where the laws are not as restrictive. In fact, almost all fireworks are legal in the Palmetto State. Bear in mind, however, that it is illegal to transport fireworks across state lines. So, don’t buy them there and shoot them here. You will be in even more trouble.

Legal Fireworks

If you want to buy and use fireworks in North Carolina, only the following items are legal to possess and use:

  • Fountains
  • Smoke devices
  • Snappers
  • Glowworms
  • Sparklers
  • Poppers
  • Snakes
  • Novelty items which do not explode, fly, spin, or leave the ground

Fireworks that are Illegal in NNC

All other kinds of fireworks are illegal in North Carolina. It’s not a defense to say that you bought them from a vendor. This list includes:

  • Roman candles
  • Firecrackers
  • Aerial fireworks
  • Bottle rockets
  • Firecrackers
  • Mortars
  • All fireworks which explode or are projected into the air

Age Restrictions

Children under the age of 16 cannot legally buy or use fireworks in North Carolina. Any violation is a misdemeanor which carries a maximum $500 fine. Prosecutors enhance charges if the fireworks cause any physical damage to people or property. In these instances, there is a maximum six-month jail term


To help you avoid physical injury and legal problems during the July Fourth holiday, our Raleigh criminal defense lawyers have put together the following safety list:

  • Only buy fireworks from a reliable vendor
  • Do not make alterations to fireworks or try to make your own
  • Do not use your pockets to store fireworks, even for a few moments,
  • Always store fireworks in cool, dry places
  • Only responsible adults should handle fireworks
  • If children are nearby, an adult should closely supervise them at all times
  • Never point or aim fireworks at property or people
  • Do not try to re-ignite any “dud” fireworks
  • Always keep a running hose or bucket of water or running hose close at hand, in case of fire

Speak to an Attorney if You’re Facing Firework-Related Charges

At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, Attorneys at Law, our Raleigh criminal defense lawyers would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July! If you have been arrested for violating the NC fireworks law or any other law, contact us today by going online or calling (919) 845-6688.