The rules on what fireworks a civilian without a permit can or cannot have vary quite a bit from state to state. In California, for example, if it explodes, becomes airborne or moves around in an uncontrolled manner, it’s illegal. Unfortunately, either no one gave that memo to former NBA star Gilbert Arenas or they did and he discarded it because he was arrested earlier this year for transporting more than one hundred pounds worth in his trunk.

Ordinarily, getting caught with fireworks is pretty much a slap on the wrist, but because of the huge quantity he was busted with, the issue is a lot more serious. Here’s the official state law
A person who possesses a gross weight, including packaging of not less than 100 pounds or more than 5000 pounds of unaltered dangerous fireworks, as defined in Section 12505, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or the county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5000) or more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment

According to TMZ, Arenas has been officially charged with the crime and will appear in court to answer to it next week. If he decides to fight the charges, it’s possible he could end up with a year in jail and the $10,000 fine, but there’s a strong chance he will instead agree to a plea bargain. Something tells me he’d cough up $7500 and admit guilt immediately if it kept him from doing any jail time. It would also save the DA’s office from putting more thought into an uneventful fireworks case. They could instead use the time to prosecute real criminals, which seems like a win-win.

Fireworks are extremely beautiful to look at, but they’re also a bit unpredictable. I get why citizens would want to light up their own, but given the gigantic hassle one has to go through if he or she gets caught, it’s just not worth it, especially considering most cities put on lovely displays.

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