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DUI » Gasparilla Survival Guide » Open Container Violations at Gasparilla

Open Container Violations: Gasparilla Pirate Fest

With a history tracing all the way back to 1904, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest is a time of celebration and fun for residents and visitors throughout Tampa. It is also a prime time for arrests and citations for open container and other alcohol-related violations, including DUI. At last year's Gasparilla Fest, more than 1,400 law enforcement officers patrolled the parade. 400 arrests were made. The majority of these "arrests" were for open container violations, where parade-goers were temporarily detained and issued citations for possessing alcohol outside of the designated area along the parade route (the "wet zone"), where alcohol was permitted.

A good question to consider in the face of an open container citation is whether to hire an attorney. Do you really need legal counsel in the face of an offense of this nature? Let's look at some of the potential consequences of an open container violation. An open container violation is treated similarly to a second degree misdemeanor. A defendant found guilty of this offense may face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If a defendant does not have a prior criminal record, however, he or she will likely qualify for diversion. This means that the defendant would instead face fines, community service or other conditions, often for a period of 6 months.

Challenging a Gasparilla Open Container Violation

Though it may seem difficult to successfully challenge an open container citation received outside of the Gasparilla parade route's "wet zone", there are successful defenses that a competent lawyer can mount on your behalf. For example, you may have been on private property at the time of the alleged offense, with the owner's permission. This is just one potential defense that may work to help you avoid a conviction or the need for a guilty plea. At the very least, an attorney can advise you of your rights to help you make the right choices about your case.

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