Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Press Tampa DUI Law Firm Encourages Gasparilla Attendees to Stay Safe

Tampa DUI Law Firm Encourages Gasparilla Attendees to Stay Safe

By Thomas & Paulk January 25, 2012

The Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla kicks off its annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest this Saturday, January 28 – a tradition that they have honored since 1904. The festival takes place in Tampa, Florida and normally brings in about 400,000 people, as well as an average economic impact of about $20 million. There are, however, unfortunately less than pleasant effects as well. In fact, at the 2010 event there were over 400 arrests for criminal charges in relation to the festival. Many were alcohol related and involved everything from open container violations to underage drinking and even boating under the influence.

In 2011, the City of Tampa chose to make a violation of the open container ordinance a civil infraction instead of a criminal violation. According to §3-40 of the Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances, it is considered unlawful for a person to be consuming, assisting or aiding another in the consumption of alcohol on any piece of public property. Any violation of the open container violation will be deemed as a Class I violation of a civil infraction with immediate citation; for a first offense, it will carry with it a fine of $75. A second offense is fined with $150, a third offense with $300 and a fourth or subsequent offense with $450. This, however, does not apply when the public property has received a temporary or permanent special use permit.

During the Gasparilla Festival, there are areas that you are permitted to have open containers of alcohol. These are designated as wet zones as opposed to the other dry zones. Areas that are permissible to have open containers include along the direct parade route, as well as the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. With the new "Zero Tolerance" policy that is enforced by Tampa police, however, visitors can be sure that they will not have the luxury of stepping outside of these clearly designated wet zones. Although no longer a criminal infraction, there are still serious penalties that need to be taken into consideration.

We at Thomas & Paulk recognize that for people going to Gasparilla 2012, it is meant to be a time to celebrate and take in the festivities. We encourage attendees to be mindful of the new laws and to make sure that they abide by them. By clearly following the law, you can ensure that you have a good time without having to worry about being charged. If, however, you have been arrested for something such as a BUI or if you have a child that was arrested for underage drinking, we are here to help you. Our Tampa DUI lawyers have built up a reputation over the years for providing representation that you can trust. Contact Thomas & Paulk today to learn more about how we can help you to protect your legal rights when it matters most.

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