Gasparilla Pirate Festival Lawyers

Every year, Tampa is invaded when the Gasparilla Pirate Festival comes to town. Held in the city of Tampa and hosted by the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the annual celebration honors the legendary Spanish pirate captain, Jose Gaspar who is infamous for his feats in Southwest Florida. While it is a fun time for all, it is also a weekend notorious for a spike in arrests and citations—even for those who have never had trouble with the law before.

If you or someone you love has run into legal trouble while attending the events, we encourage you to contact our Tampa Gasparilla Festival attorneys as soon as possible.

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Gasparilla Parade & Pirate Festival History

The annual pirate-themed event has history that stems over 100 years. The legend of Jose Gaspar, the pirate who inspires all of the events, was rediscovered in 1904 and lifted to become the patron rouge of Tampa's annual celebration which at first coincided with the Florida State Fair. The first year was such a success that the city demanded the organization a permanent fixture of the city-wide celebration each and every year. The celebration of Gasparilla has carried on ever since, with only 10 years as an exception.

Spike in DUI, Underage Drinking & More

While Gasparilla is an annual celebration known for the fun, it is also known for an increase in arrest around this time. From open container violations to underage DUI, there are many different offenses that are targeted during this time.

Consider the following statistics from the past few years:

  • 2010 – 415 Arrests
  • 2011 – Nearly 350 Arrests
  • 2012 – 302 Citations & 50 Arrests
  • 2013 – 131 Citations & 68 Arrests
  • 2014 – 3 Felony Arrests & 39 Misdemeanors
  • 2015 - 24 arrests, 5 Open Container Citations

Important Festival Rules to Know

While there has been a decline in arrests over the last few years, it is still a serious issue. Some of this can be addressed simply by being knowledgeable about the event's regulations.


For example, the following items and actions are strictly prohibited:
  • Underage Alcohol Consumption
  • Open Alcohol Containers
  • Kegs or Vessels of Mass Alcohol Distribution
  • Styrofoam Cups & Containers
  • Glass Containers of Any Kind
  • Coolers (ex: Exceptions Made for Medical Needs)

By knowing the regulations surrounding the event, you can ensure that you and your loved ones have fun while still being safe and protecting your legal rights.

Call Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest Attorneys

If you or someone you love get involved in legal trouble while attending the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, regardless of whether it was DUI, BUI, disorderly conduct, drug crimes or other, we encourage you to immediately get the involvement of Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Throughout the years, we have successfully handled more than 7,000 criminal cases—including those involving individuals who were arrested at Gasparilla events.

In one case, we represented a client arrested for having an open container. We convinced the State Attorney to drop all of the charges. In another case, we represented a college student arrested for the underage possession of alcohol. After negotiating with the State Attorney, we got the State to agree to drop of all the charges in lieu of our client performing community service.

Do not hesitate to contact our Gasparilla Pirate Festival lawyers today for a free case evaluation! Call 813-321-7323 or fill out our online case evaluation form.

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