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Arrests in Mexico

Getting Arrested in MexicoMexico is very different than America. The Mexican legal system works on a Napolianic system. In Mexico unlike the United States you guilty until you are proven innocent. When travelling in any foreign country use common sense, and you will avoid problems. In Mexico you can be arrested for:

  • Disturbing the peace or being a public nuisance.
  • Drinking in public.
  • Fighting.
  • Nudity or immoral conduct.
  • Use, production or sale of false documents.
  • Possession, introduction, or use of any weapon.
  • Possession, introduction or consumption of restricted drugs. (Note: Most drugs that are restricted in the U.S. are also restricted in Mexico.)
  • Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
  • Causing an auto accident or injuring someone. Alcohol and Drugs

Excessive alcohol consumption and unruly behavior can lead to serious problems with Mexican authorities. Alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes, rapes, and deaths suffered by American students on Spring Break. Disturbing the peace, lewd or indecent behavior, littering, driving under the influence, drinking on the street or on public transportation, using public transportation without payment, or making obscene or insulting remarks are all considered criminal activities by Mexican authorities. The importation, purchase, possession or use of drugs can incur severe penalties, including imprisonment without bail for up to a year before a case is tried, and imprisonment of several years following a conviction. All individuals 16 years of age or older are tried as adults

What you should do after you are Arrested

If for some reason you get arrested in Mexico and you end up in jail in Mexico. The U.S. Consulate, when notified by local authorities of the arrest of an American citizen, will visit the detained person within 24 hours and at least once every quarter during his incarceration. Upon learning of an American’s arrest, the Consulate seeks to visit the citizen to insure there has been no abuse or mistreatment, inform him of his right to legal counsel, provide him with a list of attorneys from which he may select legal counsel at his own expense, and to obtain personal data which will assist the Consulate in communicating with family or friends who may be able to provide financial and other assistance. The Consulate can do the Follwing:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys or contact an attorney selected by the accused.
  • Contact relatives or friends to notify them of the citizen’s case, if authorized by the prisoner.
  • Relay requests to family and friends for money or other aid.
  • Write to relatives about the citizen’s well-being.
  • Accept funds as a trust fund deposit and dispense them as instructed by the citizen or the remitter.
  • Work with prison officials to ensure fair and humane treatment consistent with that granted to Mexican nationals and ensure Americans are afforded due process under Mexican law.
  • Protest mistreatment.

The Consulate can not:

  • Represent a U.S. Citizen at trial, give legal advice or pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. Government funds.
  • Intervene with the due process of law.
  • Provide medical treatment except in cases of dire emergency.
  • Run errands for the prisoner.
Proof of US Citizenship

In order to receive consular services, each prisoner must prove that he is a U.S. citizen. This can be most easily accomplished by presenting to the visiting consular officer or having relatives send the Consulate a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate and original identification, or U.S. passport, certificate of U.S. citizenship or U.S. Naturalization certificate.

Mexican Authorities Misconduct

Mexico Tourist Assistance Hotline 078If you feel that any public official or law enforcement authority has mistreated you, you can file a complaint. Make sure to get the persons name, agency, badge or patrol car number, as well as place and time of the incident and report it immediately to our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078.

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