Paula Lopez facing four months in jail

April 23, 2016
Paula Lopez

Paula Lopez

Former news anchor Paula Lopez Ochoa pled no contest Friday to one count of driving under the influence, two counts of delaying or resisting a peace officer, one count of refusing a chemical test, and one count of battery on a peace officer in a agreement in which she will spend 120 days in the Santa Barbara County Jail.

As part of the plea agreement, Lopez is required to abstain from alcohol for three years, obey all laws, attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week for three years, attend counseling and take the anti-alcohol drug Antabuse for three years. If she violates the terms of the agreement, she faces three years in jail.

Ochoa is expected to report to Santa Barbara County Jail by July 22. However, there is a possibility the county sheriff’s office will allow her to wear a monitoring bracelet instead of serving jail time.

Ochoa, who was a longtime news anchor for KEYT and KCOY, is married to retired Santa Barbara County judge Frank Ochoa. Frank Ochoa stepped down from the bench last year.

On the evening of Sept. 6, Paula Ochoa drove her Toyota Prius the wrong way on Highway 101. Sheriff’s deputies then found the Prius parked at a golf course in Goleta. When a sheriff’s deputy and a CHP officer tried to arrest her, she assaulted the officers.

Prosecutors said Ochoa drove with a blood alcohol content above .15 on the evening of her arrest. She refused to submit to a chemical test.

In July 2013, Ochoa was arrested near her Santa Barbara home on suspicion of public intoxication. Earlier that year, she was reported missing by her family, which prompted a brief but intense search near her home.



  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    The drinking problem statistics are higher for airline pilots.

    (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
  2. CentralcoastRN says:

    Well, then we should give all 2nd offending DUI persons the same deal. Not that I am pro “letting DUI offenders run around on the streets”, but fair is fair right? She assaulted an officer. Some people have been shot and killed for less. I’ll tell you one thing, if she hurts another human being as a result of driving under the influence, the victims should sue anyone slapping her wrists.

    Justice is supposed to be blind. Maybe we should change the mascot to a slot machine.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  3. Russ J says:

    The remarkable aspect in this story is that she is that she is potentially going to jail for wailing on a police officer. As a news anchor and judges wife, she was so entwined with the legal system and yet in her drunken rage, she focused all her life’s anger on one of Santa Barbara’s finest. Intervention for this lady should have occurred long ago. My guess is that; the closest to her were frozen with indecision or false hope that she would some how get better. They should have given her the ultimatum of treatment or separation. Thankfully no innocent victims were decapitated, crushed or mashed up all over the pavement by her stupid, selfish decisions made on her path to alcohol dependence.

    (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
  4. SLOBIRD says:

    Second offense, .15, battery on a police officer, refused to take a blood test which you agree to when applying for a California Driver’s License and resisting an arrest. 120 days in jail, dissolved and a home monitor and no one things this is not privilege for her and her husband’s position, REALLY!

    (30) 38 Total Votes - 34 up - 4 down
  5. dogeatdog says:

    This is her 2nd arrest for driving under the influence. She obviously has a drinking problem and giving her a monitor is not sending her the right message.

    Let her do some time in jail, MAYBE she will think next time before she drives, and there likely will be a next time according to stats.

    This article does not say if she will have to check in with a probation officer and do blood work to make sure she is taking the antabuse, and if so how often. I think this is a favor to her husband and that is wrong. Her driving the wrong way on the highway could have really caused a lot of damage, and that is what needs to be considered not the fact hubby was a judge.

    She did not call her husband to pick her up, so why should he have an influence over her sentence. I don’t know why she was not ordered to go through a drug abuse program, AA is okay for those wanting to change, however she is being ordered to go.

    Hit her and hubby in the pocket with a treatment center, maybe both of them will wake up and realize this is a serious problem.

    I say jail time then a treatment program, antabuse with bimonthly testing when she gets out of treatment, 3 years probation and community service at the morgue for a few hundred hours.

    (16) 34 Total Votes - 25 up - 9 down

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