Tampa’s most cherished event, the Gasparilla Adult Parade will be held Saturday, January 31. Many Tampa residents are planning their Gasparilla themed parties that will include serving alcoholic beverage and/or plan to drink while attending the event. In recent years, the Tampa Police Department has increased their enforcement along Bayshore Blvd. and South Tampa to ensure the parade is a safe event for all participants.
Gasparilla and Alcohol
There is a long tradition of enjoying alcoholic beverages during the Gasparilla events. Rules regarding the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages have changed in the last few years and it is important to know them to avoid a citation or arrest.
- Underage Drinking You must be at least 21 years old to consume alcohol in Florida. With the city inundated with college students, the Tampa police are diligent in enforcing this law. Anyone caught violating the underage drinking laws will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense.
- Open Containers In the past, parade attendees were allowed to bring coolers containing beer and other alcoholic beverages to the event and drink those beverages anywhere along the parade route. Current laws require that alcohol be consumed only in designated areas and the drinks must be purchase by licensed vendors. Some people try to side-step these laws by pouring beer or alcoholic drinks into other containers such as sports bottles or coffee mugs. If you are caught drinking alcohol outside of the designated areas, you are in violation of Tampa’s “open containers” law, which prohibits the open containers of alcohol in specific locations, and may receive a civil citation.
- DUI During Gasparilla, the police seek to stringently enforce DUI laws and use “specialists” to identify and arrest those driving under the influence. You don’t need to be actually driving a car to be arrested for DUI. For more information on this issue please see our recent blog, DUI Without Driving.
If charged with underage drinking, open container violations or a DUI, please contact our office for representation. We have successfully defending many Gasparilla-related offenses and may be able to have your charges mitigated or dismissed.