Although the Halloween glow has long faded by now, the aftershocks of that crazy night are still palpable. Quite a few people did end up in the hospital and a few more were guests at the sheriff’s personal Motel 6, where he always leaves the light on. But thanks to the local students, residents, various organizations, and yes, even the local cops, most of us came through Halloween quite alright. However, there were a few people who got a little extra something in their trick-or-treat bag that wasn’t all that sweet.

I got a ticket this last week that I don’t think I should have gotten. I want to fight it, but I heard that judges pretty much side with the cops, so what’s the point?

It’s funny you would say that, because about a week ago I had a similar conversation with another officer. Although our conversation seemed to be about how the judges are more liberal and seem to favor the defendants (you). The truth, like the yummy white frosting of a Hostess Cupcake, lies somewhere in the middle. The vast majority of judges are pretty fair and honest. They listen and are pretty good at discerning what the truth is and providing a fair ruling. Yes, some judges may lean more towards law enforcement or others more towards defendants in some cases, but even then they will still rule on the evidence they have before them. To be honest, there have been a few times I was convinced the judge was biased against me. But that was probably because I lost the case and I am never wrong and I never make mistakes and I am perfect in every way and I should have won the Emmy for best tantrum and I’m gonna hold my breath until he says I was right.

My friend got a Minor In Possession [of alcohol] ticket.  He was visiting from Los Angeles and was told he will have to come back to take care of the ticket. Does he have to show up or can he just pay the fine and be done with it?

If you get an MIP ticket in Santa Barbara County, a part of the process is that you are required to show up in court for the first appearance. The purpose of this is so the court has the opportunity to talk to you, and about a hundred of your newest BFFs, about the court process. They will explain what happens if you plead guilty or not guilty, the fines, and what your rights are. As much of a pain as it is to have to go to court, it is actually for your benefit.
Now with regard to your friend from out of town, he is also required to attend the same court appearance. The only way to get excused from this is to contact the court and get the court’s permission to miss it. But he will need a really good reason. Serving in the military overseas? Okay. You ate too many Hostess Cupcakes and can’t fit in the car? Better get a bigger car.

I hope that all of you made it through the Halloween weekend safe and with some good memories. If they were memories of sitting in the ER or jail next to a guy dressed as a mighty grizzly bear, but looked, smelled and sounded like Sid the Sloth and you don’t know what to do now, don’t worry. Give me a call, shout or e-mail and take the opportunity to Question Authority. I will do what I can to get you past the trauma of Sid giving you a big sloppy sloth hug. Oh, and I’ll also answer any questions about that ticket you got. So for now, take care and stay safe.