News anchor Paula Lopez arrested for public intoxication

July 31, 2013
Paula Lopez

Paula Lopez

Veteran KEYT news anchorwoman Paula Lopez was arrested Monday afternoon near her Santa Barbara home on suspicion of public intoxication. [Noozhawk]

Lopez, 48, was taken into custody by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies on North San Marcos Road at Via Piccolo in the unincorporated area of the county at approximately 4:30 p.m. She was later released with a citation to appear in court. The case will be forwarded to the district attorney for review.

The misdemeanor charge follows an incident last February when Lopez was reported missing by family members, prompting an intense search near her home west of Santa Barbara. She was safely reunited with her family later that day.

Lopez co-anchors the 11 p.m. broadcast on KEYT, which is the ABC affiliate on the Central Coast. She is married to Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa and they have three children.

KEYT management had no comment on the arrest.


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pretty smart publicity stunt. was it ratings week at the station?

Let her be a drunk if she wants to be a drunk. I wish police would just pick people up and give them a ride home if they are drunk in public. Then they would actually be protecting and serving. Is it really so bad to be a drunk when so many people walk around guilty of being Dumb in Public, or Self Absorbed in Public. And, just because I know someone is going to make an assumption, I very very rarely drink alcohol.

“Dumb in Public, or Self Absorbed in Public” I kind of like those concepts. Yeah, take them home, too. Thanks.

We are not seeing the whole story. Given the fact that she is a local celebrity in SB and given the fact her husband is a superior court judge, I’m sure she would have been treated as you suggest if it would have been politically feasible.

She might have been in bad enough shape that there was concern about her safety or that of others, etc.

If there was a concern about her safety, the police had many options available to them that didn’t involve arresting her for drunk in public. They could have given her a ride home, they could have called a cab for her, they could have let her call her husband to pick her up. There is obviously more to this story.

The problem with your theory is that Law Enforcement becomes civilly liable for them once it is brought to their attention that they are “drunk in public”. What if they were “given a ride home” and they start a fire that destroys their home and kills someone, some other tragedy. Do you not think that the Law Enforcement agency would be held accountable?

No good deed goes unpunished.

The non-arrest options for public intoxication that I described are standard practice among local law enforcement and not some “theory.” The police regularly release “drunk in public” people to third parties without a citation – this happens nightly in downtown SLO and other areas. If that person went and did something stupid (which does occasionally happen), the police do not get sued. Another example is the “blotto drunk” CHP captain that the sheriff chose not to arrest and instead allowed his boss to come pick him up. They have considerable discretion on who they arrest for a variety of crimes and this does not expose them to this “civilly liable” nonsense. I welcome anyone to cite successful lawsuit against a cop that didn’t arrest someone for drunk in public that proves otherwise.

mkaney says “I wish police would just pick people up and give them a ride home if they are drunk in public.” this only happen if you are another LEO and they will make sure no sobriety tests are done so that anything that makes it to court can easily be thrown out by the judge, or course judges are also part of the protected group. This special LEO policy is also for driving drunk or even parking drunk.

The peanut gallery in force on this one throwing their righteous stones.

Bummer for Paula, but maybe Paula can claim ADA and show up with her favorite beverage to a broadcast, perhaps then I’ll tune in and have some faith in broadcast news.

AA is a tool, and I’ve know people to maintain their abusive ways by confessing their “sins”, writing their atonements, getting medicated to manage their moods, and then all of a sudden we have another “greater the sinner, greater the saint” among us casting stones you should repent, you need rehab…yada, yada, yada. This society is what needs rehab!

Since we demand so much efficiency of our LEO’s, its entirely reasonable to think they “cuffed” her up because that’s their business. Was Paula truly a danger to herself or others, probably not. Did the LEO offer Paula a chance to walk it off and go home…NO FLIPPIN WAY….it would have been a liability to the city if they did.

So the real issue and fear here is all those who sue, sue, sue and fear of liability have got us all by the you know what.


I hope you get some help. Maybe AA could help you. There is no shame, just go to a meeting.

Do you honestly imagine giving advice like that in a public forum about a personal, sensitive issue is going to give the person comfort or help her in any way whatsoever?

Since when has a “drunk in public” arrest been a personal, sensitive issue? I doubt that Paula Lopez is reading this forum, but the advice by Mej is good, solid advice for anyone with a drinking problem.

It might be good advice for someone, but first of all, you really don’t know enough details about the situation, and, secondly, giving that kind of personal advice in a public forum is most certainly NOT the way to do it if one is sensitive to the situation, compassionate and truly cares abut the person they are giving advice to.

Put yourself in Paula Lopez shoes. Do you honestly think that having that posted in a public forum is going to comfort or help her in any way whatsoever? You think she will read that and go, “Oh yeah, right, thank you for posting that! I never thought of that and nobody has suggested it and yes, thank you, I think I will sign up right away!”

Get real, please. And have some compassion and common sense! Thank you!