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Legal Information

If you experience difficulties with local authorities, remember that American officials are limited by foreign laws, US regulations, and geography as to what they can do. If you are arrested and taken to jail for a crime you have knowingly committed, the U.S. embassy or consulate is not responsible for your release. Should you find yourself in need of legal counsel, contact the nearest consular office and they can provide you with a list of attorneys and other services. Consular offices will do whatever they can to protect your legitimate interests and insure that you are not discriminated against under local law. The U.S. government also does not pay your legal fees or other related expenses. 

You always have the right to contact the U.S. consulate. If you are unable to do this, try to have someone contact the embassy/consulate for you. The consulate should visit you, contact family and friends, and can assist in the transfer of money, clothing and food.

Drug Arrests:
Drug arrests and convictions among Americans are on the rise.  If you are caught with illegal drugs overseas, you are subject to local, NOT US laws.  If you are arrested, you must realize:
  • Pre-trial detention can often last months
  • Inhumane conditions may exist in the prisons
  • Officials may not speak English
  • Few countries provide a jury trial
  • Some countries employ the death penalty, with no questions asked
  • Most countries do not accept bail