It’s now time for the second Question Authority article of the year. This one always makes me feel like I’m back in third grade and Ms. Dinklemeyer (Note: Not her real name. Name has been changed to Dinklemeyer, well, because I never liked her …) is making us write that dreaded “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” essay. Somehow she never believed me when I wrote about hunting polar bears in Antarctica with my Uncle Kenobi. Or how I stayed with my Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru at their desert farm in Tatooine, Utah. Apparently she, too, had seen Star Wars.

At least Ms. Dinklemeyer gave me a big thumbs-up for creativity. I know this because she drew a big thumb right next to the “F” at the top of the page. Yeah, but I showed her. Look at me now, writing a bi-weekly article read by over six people nationwide!

But seriously, I am very lucky I get this opportunity to communicate with you with the help of the Daily Nexus. (Some would also say with the help of some mental health professionals, but what do they know? )

Either way, I get to have a little bit of fun answering your questions using my mental illness … I mean, my creativity, as my guide. Hopefully I’ll help one or two of you out along the way.

Q: I’m from Los Angeles and got a beer ticket for being underage last weekend. I was told by the cop that I would have to come back to Santa Barbara to go to court. Is there a way I can take care of the ticket in L.A. instead?

A: In Santa Barbara County, if you get a ticket for a drug or alcohol violation and are under 21 years old, the court mandates that you miss out on going to Magic Mountain with your buddies and instead appear in court on the day of your first hearing. This hearing is when the court explains the ticket process and the options you have. You can either plead guilty and take care of it, or plead not guilty and contest it. Since there are strict penalties that can result in losing your license for a year, the court wants to make sure you have all the information regarding how to take care of the ticket properly.

So, in short, you will have to miss Magic Mountain. However, you can request an option called the “change of venue.” This involves moving your court case to another jurisdiction, such as the Los Angeles Superior Court. You have the right to request this; however, it is extremely unlikely that it will actually be allowed. This option is generally used in major cases when there is a concern about the impartiality of the courts. Sorry, but you’ll just have to come back to Santa Barbara. But come on – it’s Santa Barbara! It’s not like you are being sent to Fresno or staying in L.A.

Q: If the legal limit for driving a car under the influence is .08 percent, what is the legal limit for being drunk in public?

A: Unlike driving a car, there is no specific legal limit on how much alcohol you can have in your system. The legal determination for being drunk in public requires two things: First, have you been drinking alcohol and second, are you in a condition that you are unable to care for your own safety? The amount of alcohol in your system doesn’t matter. If one beer makes you loopy enough to run down Del Playa clucking like a chicken, then you are drunk in public. Meanwhile, the guy who drank his weight in Coors Light and is still walking straight, talking normally and knows where he is would not be considered drunk in public because he is in a condition in which he can take care of himself. He’ll probably crap out his liver by the time he’s 24, but for now he’s good to go.

Q: I got a fix-it ticket and need to have it signed off that I fixed the brake lights. Where do I go to get it signed?

A: Any police officer or deputy can sign off the ticket for you. As long as we can see the lights have been fixed, we will sign off on the ticket. If you see us walking by, just ask and we will gladly take care of it. Or you can stop by the I.V. Foot Patrol Office (6504 Trigo) or the UCSB Police Station (at the intersection of Stadium and Mesa Road).

Well, looks like the time has come again to call it a day. I hope you all are enjoying the start of the school year. I have already been getting some good questions and comments from you. I look forward to the opportunity to provide you with whatever information, suggestions, personal thoughts, and general inane chatter I may have. So, please, don’t hesitate to drop me a line or stop me in the street and Question Authority! Take care and stay safe!

Sgt. Mark Signa feels giving his third grade teacher the alias “Ms. Dinklemeyer” is repayment enough for not appreciating his Star Wars-themed summer.


Your party popped by the po-po? 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 893-3446.