The new year is upon us, and what does that mean? A million annoying top-10 lists from 2009! Holy mother of a Buick, does anyone really care what the top 10 flavors of pistachios were in 2009? Or does it really matter where the 2009 top-10 most popular destinations involving the “world’s largest ball of twine” were? Can’t we just say Cawker City, Kan. is a nice place to visit and move on? Though I have to admit that attending the annual Twine-A-Thon does sound exciting…

Anyway, I’ve been asked quite a few questions over the last few months, and I need to catch up a bit. So, to get us started with the new year, I present to you Question Authority’s top-six most-asked questions of 2009. Notice it’s only six, not 10. That would be annoying…

6. What are the chances the cop won’t show up if I take my ticket to court?
Whatever you do, don’t base your defense in court on the “Aw crap, he showed up” theory. It rarely works, and it tends to annoy the judge. You know, the judge? The guy who decides your fine? Yeah, don’t piss him off.

5. Does the noise ordinance also apply on holidays?
Apparently, there are a few people in Isla Vista that have written proof that it does. Though I am checking for exceptions for the annual Twine-A-Thon.

4. I’m 19, and while visiting Isla Vista, I got a beer ticket.  Can I take the alcohol education class in my hometown to keep my driver license?
Yes, if the court approves of the class that is offered where you live. And no, attending a bartenders’ school does not count.

3. When I got a ticket, why wouldn’t the cop tell me how much the fine is going to be?
To be honest, we don’t know what the fine is going to be. Nowadays, with all the added fees and taxes, the fines for everything have gone up and I could guess, but by the time you go to court, my guess would likely be wrong. So if I tell you less than a billion, that’s about as close as I can get. You can go to for the most accurate info.

2. Can I get out of a ticket by giving a fake name to the cops?
Not going to say I’ve never been fooled, but enough about Criss Angel. When we write tickets, we need to be satisfied that we can identify the person getting the ticket. Without I.D., we will check the state computer database or other sources. If we still are not sure, we can take a person into custody until they are identified. So if you give us a fake name, you will likely end up in jail. 

1. If I get a pissing-in-public ticket, do I have to register as a sex offender?
I suppose that will depend on how you were doing it. Hiding in a bush due to one too many Natty Lights? No. If you are standing naked in front of a sorority house screaming, “Look at me!”… You need help. 

So that’s my top-six list of questions from 2009. So, until next time, I hope you all had a safe holiday break and have a great new year.  And please, if you have a problem, a question or just want to ask about a contact by the cops, let me know. My goal is to help provide you with, if not the answers you want, at least a place to start looking for them. Although I hope you never need me, I’ll be here if you do. Take care, be safe and don’t hesitate to Question Authority! 
Got caught by a cop? Your party popped by the popo? Ticked by a ticket? If you have questions, don’t let it eat away at you, Question Authority! E-mail me anytime at: or call UCSB PD at (805) 893-3446.