First of all, I wish to thank all of you who responded to my column from last week. I tried to respond directly to as many of you as possible. A few of you even responded with comments about things that you were upset about. Although I cannot respond directly to specific situations since I wasn’t there, I tried to at least explain why some things may have happened the way they did. Agree with me or not, at least we’re talking about it, and it’s important to me that you feel you can address the concerns with me. Thanks.
Now on to the questions!
My friend is 21 years old and I drove to the store and he bought some beer. I got pulled over on the way back to my apartment and got a ticket for being in possession of alcohol even though my friend was holding it. Is that right?
Yes, it’s right.
The ticket you got was for 23224 (a) CVC – minor driving a vehicle with alcohol in it. Even though your friend is 21 years old and holding the beer and you have not been drinking, people under 21 years old cannot drive a car with alcohol in it at all. California law does not allow a minor to possess alcohol and that includes inside of a vehicle. Even if the alcohol is in the trunk, technically you are in control of the vehicle and the alcohol, and you could be cited for it. The ticket is very similar to a Minor in Possession ticket, only it can affect your insurance.
The other night I got a warning for having my music on too loud because a neighbor complained. Last night the cops walked up and gave me a ticket and no warning. Shouldn’t I get a warning before I get a ticket?
It sure would be great if we only had to give warnings and never give out tickets. Unfortunately, it does not work that way for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have two separate crimes that are handled differently.
The first night when someone complained, it was likely a violation of 415 P.C. – disturbing the peace – and that requires a citizen’s arrest. The fine and charge can be very expensive, so the I.V. Foot Patrol will try to work out a compromise with the neighbors before issuing tickets. We will contact the persons making the noise and let them know there was a complaint. It’s when the neighbor calls back a second time that we will have them sign a citizen’s arrest and issue a citation to the people being noisy. That can happen at any time of the day or night.
The other law is County Ordinance 40-2 in which any amplified music (or drums) heard 100 feet past the property line after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or after midnight on Friday or Saturday is a violation. The IVFP has a “Zero Tolerance” policy in regards to these violations and you don’t get a warning, just the ticket.
Although it would be nice to get warnings every time, you have to admit it, would you turn the music down or off if you knew the cops were just going to give a warning? Ah, maybe not…
Again, thanks for the e-mails and comments. Even if you’re just ticked off and want to vent, bring it on! E-mail me or stop by the UC Police Dept. website at www.police.ucsb.edu for more information about crime and our community.
Don’t miss your chance to Question Authority.
To ask UCPD Crime Prevention Officer Mark Signa a question, e-mail him at .