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Arrest at Gasparilla in 2020

Gasparilla is Tampa’s signature event with annual festivities including parades, marathons, music and film festivals, and an art show. Gasparilla pays homage to Tampa’s mythical buccaneer, Jose Gaspar. More than 300,000 people were expected to attend the activities this year.

Rightly so, the Tampa Police Department takes pride in reporting a lower number of arrests each year. In many ways, a lower number of arrests indicates that the event was well managed at every level with enough of a police presence to deter bad behavior.

The 2020 Gasparilla Pirate Invasion ended wih 21 arrests including:

  • two felony arrests
  • grand theft and burglary) and
  • four misdemeanor arrests for two batteries, one improper display of a firearm, and one resisting arrest without violence (often called “opposing an officer”).
  • fifteen (15) arrests were for boating under the influence.

The number of BUI cases were about the same as last year’s Gasparilla. This is the first year that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers were wearing body cameras so everything should all details concerning the arrest should be available by video this year.

Law enforcement officers reported shooting a pit bull when it charged at and bit a horse on mounted patrol duty during the parade on Bayshore Boulevard.

Since 2010, the number of arrests at Gasparilla on land have dropped steadily each year. This article explains the number of arrests at Gasparilla but doesn’t include the number of arrests in the areas in and around the parade route. More officers are on patrol during Gasparilla weekend, not just on the parade route, but throughout Hillsborough County and the surrounding areas as people drive home after the parade.

The best way to avoid an arrest is to not drive to or from the activities. Throughout the Tampa Bay area, additional officers will be on patrol looking for drunk drivers.

Attorney for an Arrest at Gasparilla in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested at Gasparilla or given a notice to appear in court, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our offices have been located at the same location in downtown Tampa for the last 10 years.

With four attorneys, we focused exclusively on criminal defense in and around Hillsborough County. We are familiar with the tactics used by the local police departments during Gasparilla.

Over the years, we have represented clients on the most common types of cases that occur at Gasparilla including possession of an open container of alcohol, underage possession of alcohol by a person under 21, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence (DUI), and boating under the influence (BUI).

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (813) 250-0500.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2019

In 2019, Tampa Police Department has announced that just eleven (11) people were arrested during Gasparilla which is way down from the 419 arrested in 2010. Although the number of arrests on land were low, fifteen (15) people were arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) charges, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

For the arrests on land, five felony arrests included one for felony domestic battery, two for battery on a law enforcement officer, and two for criminal mischief charges. TPD also reported six misdemeanor arrests with three for disorderly conduct, two for underage drinking, and one for resisting or obstructing an officer without violence.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2018

Most of the arrests at Gasparilla involve accusations of disorderly conduct and underage drinking. In 2018, one person was arrested on a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer. Nineteen other people had various charges for misdemeanors including underage drinking, battery, disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Officers at Gasparilla gave one civil citation for marijuana possession. Deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested four people for disorderly conduct. Two of those cases also resulted in charges for resisting without violence charges.

In 2018, 15 people were arrested on boating under the influence charges, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2017

In 2017, only eight people were arrested. Those Gasparilla arrests in 2017 included an arrest for disorderly intoxication, public urination, disorderly conduct, possession of an open container, criminal use of a personal ID, and battery. Two people were arrested for possession of cocaine.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2016

In 2016, 25 people were arrested. Two of the arrests were for felony offenses for battery on a law enforcement officer and for aggravated battery/active warrant. For misdemeanor arrests, the 2016 cases included:  

  • 4 possession of marijuana
  • 3 adult underage drinking
  • 3 boating under the influence
  • 3 disorderly conduct
  • 3 resist arrest without violence
  • 2 trespass after warning
  • 1 battery
  • 1 open container/striking a police horse
  • 1 open container
  • 1 petit theft
  • 1 possession of a synthetic drug
  • one open container citation

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2015

In 2015, 24 people were arrested during Gasparilla, with only 5 open container citations.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2014

In 2014, there were 42 arrests.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2013

In 2013, there were 131 open container citations and 68 arrests.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2012

In 2012, there were 302 arrests.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2011

In 2011, the police made 349 arrests at Saturday’s Gasparilla festivities, including 337 on misdemeanor alcohol-related violations. According to Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Laura McElroy, one person was charged with fighting, one person was arrested for trespassing, two people were arrested for disorderly conduct, and four people were arrested with boating under the influence. Three felony charges including car theft, resisting with violence, and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Arrests at Gasparilla in 2010

In 2010, 415 people were arrested during Gasparilla.

This article was last updated on Monday, January 27, 2020.

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