Santa Barbara County’s new underage drinking law

December 1, 2010

In an attempt to cut down on underage drinking, Santa Barbara County will begin enforcement of a new ordinance that allows officers entry into residencies if they suspect minors are drinking on the premises as of December 1, 2010. [DailyNexus]

The Social Host Liability Ordinance allows law enforcement to issue citations to the persons renting, owning or controlling the property where a gathering is occurring.

Hosts violating the ordinance for the first time will be fined $500 and required to complete a mandatory educational class. Second-offenders are handed a $1,000 fine and subsequent offenses result in a $2,000 fine.

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What a joke! Clear violation of 4th amendment rights – I can already hear the right-wing nut jobs complaining about so-called liberal judges overturning another clearly unconstitutional law – only a matter of time.

Is it illegal for a minor to drink alcohol in his own home in California? I believe it is legal to do so in some states.

I don’t like the sound of this law, and I’m tending to side with Cindy on this one. There are too many dishonest cops and it’s become an acceptable part of police culture for officers to make up “probable cause” out of thin air and lie about it.

It’s a shame that even among police officers, lying in an official capacity is pervasive and tacitly approved of by fellow cops. In fact, among their peers, cops are often expected to lie.

This system-wide lack of integrity among law enforcement agents has truly harmed out nation.

I live near Cal Poly, so I know there is a party-alcohol issue in the neighborhoods where students live that were built for workforce housing for faculty and their children. Many still live there as retired and elderly folk. It’s really their neighborhood, and does not belong to transients renters who come and go and host unruly parties.

There is no constitutional right to drink, especially to drink under-age. Governments can regulate alcohol sales, use, possession–and even ban it outright if enough people go for it. Do you really think there is such a thing as responsible alcohol consumption by teenagers and college-age students who want to party? There is not.

Probable cause for violations of alcohol, noise, and other law/ordinance violations can be observed by any resident, and reported, and any observant police officer can see the same thing. The probable cause is there. If the complaint is that there are worse offenders that the police should be spending their resources on, you’ll get no argument from any sane person; but that does not mean they should not spend resources in trying to protect workforce neighborhoods from unruly and underage party-goers.

This law needs to be over turned immediately. Now the police can enter a home without a warrant? It will be abused and it against our constitutional rights. What does “reason to believe” equate to? How many times a day is the “probable cause” exception to our rights blatantly violated? Enough is enough.

Just how did this ordinance take hold to begin with?

Bleeding heart ACLU commie talk.

Right on Cindy, we agree 100% on this one.

Probably cause, if used judiciously, is a good measuring stick for LE but it is probably often abused.

Does this ordinance single out certain infractions for special attention? So if the window of probable cause is not quite open and we feel a hardened murderer is hiding inside we have to get a warrant but if a kidis drinking we can? That could be a tough decision for LE.

This is what happens when one does not proof read their junk. I meant that a kid drinking could inspire a LE entry when other more important suspects might not.

So let’s see…..

A cop’s determines that minors may be drinking in a residence and that’s probable cause to enter to check things out. You say that their constitutional rights are being violated? Maybe they are in a strict sense. The public’s rights are violated when one of these drunken dickweeds climbs behind the wheel of a car to head to Sandy’s Liquor when they’ve run out of beer.

I know….plenty of adults do the same thing.

The other side of the coin is law enforcement suspecting that there is underage drinking going on but they do nothing until the scofflaws are out in public. Then the parents of one of these budding little apprentice alcoholics sue the local agency because they failed to intervene before one of them kills his or herself or perhaps other innocent people. To say nothing of the continual nuisance factor near the university’s.

Maybe the only people that have earned the right to weigh in on this one are those living in Isla Vista or near Cal Poly. Go check it out for yourself late on any Friday night when school is in session.