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Most Common Fourth of July Crimes

The Most Common Fourth of July Crimes in Texas

The Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday celebrating the independence of the United States. It’s a time for Americans to come together with family and friends to enjoy parades, cookouts, fireworks, and other festivities. While it’s a time to commemorate America’s freedom, inevitably, plenty of Texans will jeopardize their own and wind up behind bars.

Here’s a look at common Fourth of July crimes in Texas and the potential legal consequences for those accused.

DWI

1. Driving While Intoxicated

Unfortunately, drunk driving is a common occurrence during the Fourth of July holiday. As a result, law enforcement officers are on high alert for impaired drivers.

In Texas, it’s illegal for a person to operate a vehicle while impaired, either due to alcohol, drugs, or any substance that affects their ability to drive safely. Texas law defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of a substance into the body.

For first-time offenders, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2000 fine. The stakes are higher if the impaired driver has a prior, has a child in the car, or if someone is hurt or killed.

DWI Punishments in Texas

Offense Fine Jail Time
First Offense Up to $2,000 3 to 180 days
Second Offense Up to $4,000 30 days to 1 year
Third Offense Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years
BAC ≥ 0.15 Up to $4,000 Up to 1 year
With Child Passenger Up to $10,000 180 days to 2 years
Intoxication Assault Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years
Intoxication Manslaughter Up to $10,000 2 to 20 years

In addition to fines and jail time, DWI convictions in Texas may also come with other consequences, such as driver’s license suspension, mandatory attendance at alcohol education programs, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), etc.

The Most Common Fourth of July Crimes in Texas

2. Fireworks Violations

In Texas, fireworks are a popular way to celebrate Independence Day. However, not all fireworks are legal in the state, and there are laws and regulations surrounding the use of fireworks. Here’s a look at common fireworks violations:

  • Shooting Fireworks within City Limits: Many Texas cities, including Fort Worth, have ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, storage, sale, handling or use of fireworks within incorporated city limits. Violating city firework ordinances can result in hefty fines. For example:
    • In Fort Worth, possessing fireworks within city limits is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.
    • In Houston, fines for possessing or using fireworks within city limits range from $500 to $2,000 for each individual firework.
    • In Lubbock, violators could face a fine of up to $1,000 for possessing or shooting fireworks within city limits.
    • In Denton County, violation of fireworks rules may result in a fine of up to $500 per occurrence.
  • Improper Use or Location of Fireworks:  In Texas, it’s illegal to explode or ignite fireworks:
    •  within 600 feet of churches, hospitals, schools, or licensed childcare centers without written authorization;
    • within 100 feet of places storing flammable liquids or gases;
    • within 100 feet of fireworks storage or sales locations; or
    • from a motor vehicle.

Violations can result in a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500 per occurrence.

  • Possessing Illegal Fireworks: In Texas, it is illegal to possess the following types of fireworks:
    • Sky rockets or “bottle rockets” with:
      • A total propellant charge of less than four grams
      • A casing size of less than five-eighths of an inch for the outside diameter and less than 3-1/2 inches in length
      • An overall length, including stick, of less than 15 inches
  •  Pop rockets with:

    • A propellant casing length of less than five inches
    • An exterior diameter of less than three-fourths of an inch
    • An overall total rocket length of less than 26 inches
  • Any fireworks that fly more than 20 feet into the air or explode, including firecrackers and Roman candles
  • Any fireworks determined not acceptable by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

Possession of an illegal firework is generally a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500. It’s important to note that, while these fireworks are illegal at the state level, many cities and counties have even stricter regulations.

  • Selling or Using Fireworks Without a Permit: In certain areas, a permit may be required to sell or set off fireworks in Texas. A fireworks licensing violation is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $2,00 fine. It is important to check with local ordinances and obtain the necessary permits before selling or using fireworks.

The Most Common Fourth of July Crimes in Texas

3. Illegally Discharging a Firearm

Texans love their guns, and it’s not uncommon for people to fire off a few rounds in celebration during the Fourth of July. But in the Lone Star State, it’s illegal to discharge a firearm in the city limits – no matter what day.

Under Texas Penal Code 42.12, it is illegal to recklessly discharge a firearm “inside the corporate limits of a municipality having a population of 100,000 or more.” Discharging a firearm in certain municipalities is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

If someone is accidentally struck by a bullet from the celebratory gunfire, the crime is much more serious. It can be charged as felony deadly conduct, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

The Most Common Fourth of July Crimes in Texas

4. Assault – One of the Most Common Fourth of July Crimes

Assault charges can also spike during Fourth of July celebrations due to the combination of alcohol consumption and large gatherings. Disputes that might normally be resolved peacefully can escalate into physical altercations, leading to assault charges.

Assault is defined under Texas Penal Code 22.01, as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, threatening someone with imminent bodily injury, or making offensive physical contact without the consent of the other person. Depending on the severity of the assault and any previous criminal history, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

During Fourth of July celebrations, law enforcement officers will be out in full force. It’s important to remain calm and avoid physical altercations during celebrations to prevent potential assault charges.

Arrested During the Fourth of July Holiday?

If you or a loved one was arrested over the Fourth of July Holiday in Fort Worth, Dallas, Southlake or the surrounding areas, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We can help.

Whether you are facing a DWI or a serious felony offense, our team comprises experienced criminal defense attorneys with a proven record of success. Don’t let one mistake jeopardize your freedom and future. Call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with a seasoned defense attorney.

The Most Common Fourth of July Crimes in Texas

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