Friday, October 26, 2007

Have a safe Halloween on Del Playa!

I want to thank the Associated Students of UCSB (and attorneys Robin Unander and David Andreasen) for inviting me to speak at their not-so-annual workshop to educate UCSB students on their rights at Embarcadero Hall on Wednesday Evening. It was a nice opportunity to speak to one or more of my future clients, directly or indirectly, like now. And, no, that's not to imply that the people that showed up are criminals. Actually, they were a very gracious, intelligent, and inquisitive group of young people. I also want to thank Deputy Sheriff Miles Davies for joining me on stage and providing very candid answers to questions, and generally good information, which was not overly infected with law enforcement (or other) propaganda. It was remarkable that we agreed about nearly everything. For those of you who couldn't be there, I will jog through the main points that were made in favor of a safe (and hopefully for you) arrest free Halloween celebration:

1. Don't do anything illegal.

2. Don't drink if you are under 21 (if you must, do it out of view of police, and in a private place).

3. Don't drink to excess.

4. Don't walk around in the street with alcohol, or any container for alcohol.

5. If you throw a party, restrict access (consider carding at door and using bracelets).

6. If the police come to your door to, perhaps, issue a noise violation ticket, meet them at the front door, step outside, and close the door behind you.

7. Do not consent to a search of your person, vehicle, house, dorm room, apartment, bag, purse, backpack, wallet, etc.

8. Do identify yourself correctly if you are under arrest or detained.

9. If you don't know if you are under arrest or detained, just ask. (Good suggestion, Miles!)

10. If you believe the police are violating your, or someone else's rights, don't throw a fit. In fact, better to keep it to yourself, and take good mental notes of the badge number(s), and other particulars. Wait until it gets to court before you make your argument. Doing otherwise will worsen whatever trouble you are in, or get you in trouble even if you have done nothing else wrong.

11. If you are arrested, remain silent after you have supplied correct information concerning your identity. If you are not driving a motor vehicle, it need not be done with a license or other document. It is seldom, if ever, a good idea to explain anything to the police, or plead with them to let you go, or anything else you might want to say at that point. Wait until it gets to court, and until after you have talked it through with a lawyer. Don't make any deals with the police. Specifically, don't give them a statement in return for a promise to not take you to jail, or to put in a good word with "the judge", or to "drop charges". These are sometimes outright lies and are, at best, half-truths. If you end up going to jail on that occasion because you didn't make a statement; that, relative to other potential outcomes, is a good one. What you might not know is how quickly you will be released. If you aren't intoxicated and, therefore, housed in order to sober up, you will be given access to a telephone where you can contact me, a bail bondsman and/or a friend, who can usually help you bail out in a number of hours (depending on the seriousness of the charges, and some other factors). So, as unpleasant as it is to go to jail, don't think of it as the final stage of the controversy where it will be decided once and for all that you are guilty as charged; it is often just the beginning of a long chain of events where, we can hope, ultimately, justice will be done. Don't make it harder to achieve a just result on your case by giving in to trickery and deceit (which, by the way, are lawful law enforcement tactics).

12. If you have any questions about the above, call me at 805-892-4922, or you may email to Also, visit my website devoted to the Isla Vista population of potential arrestees at

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween! And here's a Halloween greeting from Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office:
“We have a zero-tolerance enforcement posture for all crimes alcohol-related, party-related - anything that you can think of,” Raney said. “Drunk in public, open containers, minors in possession of alcohol, indecent exposure and loud music ordinances [are] all zero tolerance.” See the complete article at: