CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Fireworks and July Fourth fun go hand and hand. Some are legal and some are not.

But it’s key to know the differences in the Carolinas regarding rule breakers.

Knowing the local and state laws and using the proper fireworks are essential. So, keep that in mind when you drop some cash this weekend.

North Carolina

First, fire experts say there are risks to setting off fireworks. Gastonia Fire Marshal Chris Stowe and others prefer folks leaving the stuff to the experts. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has tips and a list of common injuries regarding nationwide firework use.

“Fireworks can be very dangerous if handled improperly, and all fireworks that are intended to explode, spin, or leave the ground are illegal in the state of North Carolina,” Stowe said in an email. “The absolute best way to keep you and your family safe this Fourth of July is to attend a professionally regulated fireworks show and pass on the consumer fireworks.”

Anyone 16 and up can purchase, use, and sell the following fireworks in North Carolina. One N.C. city has broken that down into a legal list. Those fireworks are sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, snake and glow worms, trick noisemakers such as party poppers, string poppers or snappers, and toy pistol caps. 

The list of North Carolina prohibited fireworks include explosives or aerial fireworks, Roman candles, rockets, or similar devices. 

What happens if you get caught using the wrong stuff? Expect a warning or course. State law says you could face penalties of a $500 fine and up to six months in jail, according to Goldsboro city officials.

South Carolina

The Palmetto State says consumer-grade fireworks are legal to buy year-round. 

The illegal ones, however, to buy include cherry bombs, M-80s, TNT salutes, and small bottle rockets less than 3 inches long and a half-inch in diameter. 

According to the S.C. Board of Pyrotechnic Safety, firecrackers sold to the public in the U.S. can only have 50 milligrams or less of pyrotechnic composition per firecracker. The website says many M-80s exceed that amount.

What’s the punishment? A $500 fine is the punishment with no jail time.

There are some exceptions. Certain S.C. cities, like Myrtle Beach, have specific rules. According to last year, fireworks are now allowed in Myrtle Beach on private property but remain illegal in public places like the beach.

Remember the differences because if you buy fireworks near Carowinds in South Carolina and sneak into North Carolina, you can face charges of possessing illegal fireworks.