Halloween Weekend: Know Your Rights

Illustration by Allie Sullberg | The Bottom Line

Minh Hua
Campus Beat Reporter

The offices of the External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) and the Student Advocate General (SAG) held an informational meeting on Sunday, Oct. 21, to present on students’ legal rights during Halloween.

Joining them was Robin Unander from the Legal Resource Center and William Makler, a criminal defense attorney. Here’s what students should be mindful of if they’re going to venture out into Isla Vista:

  • Use your Fourth Amendment rights if stopped by an officer — If an officer of the law stops you and requests to see your backpack/purse, the Fourth Amendment allows you to deny his/her request without a warrant. However, if the officer pushes you further, then loudly state “I do not consent to this search” before giving them your possession. Hopefully, their body cameras or someone nearby will be capturing the encounter because in a legal sense, evidence obtained this way will be inadmissible in court.


  • You have the right to videotape an encounter If you believe an officer is engaging in unfair conduct, your friend (who’s hopefully with you and standing at a respectable distance), can and should videotape the encounter. An officer has no right to demand an individual to stop filming. That said, the individual who’s filming should not be inciting the officer — don’t yell out the fact that you have rights and that the cop can’t take away your property. Just covertly film the encounter so that the video is ensured.


  • Do not argue — Don’t try to argue your position. An officer isn’t being paid to argue — they’re paid to fill down their activity log and to produce statistics. Just follow orders and pray your friend read #2. Have some faith in the legal system.


  • Do not, under any circumstances, flee from an officer — If an officer hurts him or herself during the pursuit of a fugitive (you), the fugitive (you) can and will be charged with a variety of charges, one of which is a criminal felony.


  • Do not hold red cups or any container while walking around I.V. — It doesn’t matter if the cup is empty, upside down or rightside up, carrying red cups around I.V. will only raise suspicion and lead to an encounter with an officer. In that sense, don’t even hold any semblance of a “container of liquids” (ie. Hydroflasks, cups, etc.) because doing so will alert an officer to a potential underage drinking charge.


  • Do not sit on the curb — Sitting on the curb suggests to the officer that you are too drunk to walk, and they are more likely to book you. Even if you are sitting right in front of your house, you can still be “too drunk to walk home.”


  • If you are female, please note that if you are dressed “fashionably” and are walking alone, an officer will be more likely to pick you up — According to Makler, there is an unwritten police rule that an officer will be more likely to pick up a “fashionably” dressed female walking alone. The officer will think that his or her action is for your own good. So if you are female and you don’t want to be picked up, either by an officer or a kidnapper, it’s best to travel with friends.


  • Bikes and Birds — Currently, there are no official sanctions regarding riding Birds and Limes while intoxicated. However, according to Makler, you will most likely be charged with Cycling Under the Influence. A CUI won’t legally land you in jail or revoke your driver’s license if you’re over 21. However, underaged students charged with a CUI will lose their driver’s license.


  • Don’t drink to the point of unconsciousness — It’s just good practice.


  • Venture off with friends — The more the merrier.

Students can visit https://halloween.as.ucsb.edu/resources/ for a list of contacts during Halloween.