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Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa's Aggressive Criminal Defense Firm


On January 28, 2012, Gasparilla Pirate Fest revelers will invade Tampa to party!  Over the past few years, arrests for DUI, BUI, underage drinking and open containers have skyrocketed, amounting to as many as 500 arrests in 2011.  This year, Gasparilla attendees can expect the same saturation of law enforcement to promote a fun-filled festival weekend.  At Finebloom & Haenel, we encourage everyone to have a safe and enjoyable weekend at the Gasparilla Parade; but, if the worst were to happen to you or a loved one, contact one our Aggressive Criminal defense or DUI Defense attorneys to help.

DUI Arrest  – Gasparilla

In an event that promotes drinking, partying and costumes, it is inevitable that some people will drink and drive.   In any circumstance, being arrested for DUI is a life changing experience and arrested for DUI during Gasparilla is no different.  The Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Department has already put the public on notice through their Operation ‘3D’ campaign that they will have increased patrols, areas of ‘saturation’ and DUI checkpoints throughout Hillsborough County.   It seems obvious that officers are encouraged to make DUI arrests during Gasparilla in an attempt to take as many people off the street that they deem to be impaired.  However, having represented many, many people arrested for DUI during Gasprailla, it can be a rush to judgment by the police officers resulting in a defensible case.

DUI defense attorneys at Finebloom & Haenel have years of experience to represent you on your DUI charge.   Our lawyers are trained to evaluate whether the stop of your vehicle was legal and whether law enforcement properly conducted field sobriety exercises.    We will attack every angle of your arrest and defend you on your DUI case.  Visit us at to learn more and call 813-649-8690 for an immediate free consultation regarding your arrest.

You can also visit at our Tampa office at 3426 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa FL.

BUI Arrest – Gasparilla

Many of the Gasparilla attendees will arrive and participate in the event while partying on their boat.   As a result, the US Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County Marine Unit will increase their boat patrols to make sure that boaters are not operating their vessel while impaired.   Unlike a DUI, marine law enforcement can approach a vessel for almost any reason, usually under the pretense of a safety inspection.  Once alongside the boat, law enforcement may look for signs that the operator is impaired and begin a BUI investigation.   Similar to a DUI investigation, law enforcement may request the operator to perform some tests while still on the boat and, if law enforcement believes the person is impaired, take the person to dry land to conduct field sobriety exercises.

A BUI arrest will be aggressively prosecuted by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office and they will likely seek an impoundment of your vessel.   BUI defense lawyers at Finebloom & Haenel will aggressively defend your BUI charge and challenge whether law enforcement properly continued with a BUI investigation after the safety inspection and whether a person’s performance on the exercises was due to a possible equilibrium imbalance or something other than impairment.  Call our BUI defense lawyers today – 813-649-8690 and visit us at   Our office is located in Tampa, at 3426 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609.

Open Container – Gasparilla

In the past few years, open containers citations have been some of the most common criminal offenses issued by law enforcement.  Interestingly, alcohol is sold at the event and yet people are arrested for having an open container of alcohol.  According to the literature provided by the Gasparilla event coordinators, alcohol can only be sold and consumed in designated areas along the parade route, thereby limiting people from walking throughout Tampa with open containers.

In the past, law enforcement would conveniently stand in and around the designated areas observing people just outside the designated area and cite them for ‘open container.’  In most cases, the person was not arrested, but given a notice to appear in court for the criminal charge.  It is not uncommon for a Gasparilla attendee to be stopped and subsequently arrested for open container.   At Finebloom & Haenel, we have defended many people charged with open container during Gasparilla and challenged their arrest because officers are not permitted to randomly stop and search citizens without reasonable suspicion.

Having a criminal defense attorney from Finebloom & Haenel at your side will allow us to challenge your open container arrest and defend you, possibly arguing that the officers had no legal right to approach and arrest you.   If you or someone you know was arrested for open container, contact Finebloom & Haenel at 813-649-8690 or visit us at

Underage Drinking – Gasparilla

Tampa is a fun, college city with students from University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and University of Tampa to name a few.    An opportunity to attend an outdoor parade where drinking is permitted is a recipe for disaster for underage party goers.

In years past, law enforcement has focused their attention on underage age drinking aiming to crack down on illegal forms of drinking.  Promoting a “zero tolerance policy,” law enforcement will arrest any underage person suspected of being a minor in possession of alcohol.  Also, law enforcement has designated a holding facility specifically for those arrested for underage drinking, where they remain until a parent or guardian picks them up.  However, in some cases, if the underage person does not have a local address, they could be arrested and booked into jail.

In some cases, if an underage person drinks and then gets stopped while driving, they risk a charge for DUI.  Law enforcement takes underage DUI very seriously, especially during Gasparilla when there are a number of people on the road.  Once stopped, the underage driver can be subjected to field sobriety exercises as well as a breath test.   The results the breath test could determine whether the officer takes the driver’s license and issues her a citation for a “.02 violation.”

If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking, please contact Finebloom & Haenel at 813-649-8690 and visit our website at

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