Travelling to another country is obviously one of the best ways to see the world, and if you’re like many Americans, you might want to visit far off locales where the culture is very different. While travelling this way can be very rewarding and exciting, it can also be problematic for many Americans in certain parts of the world due to political conflicts and tension.
This doesn’t mean you need to stay home though – it just means that you need to be careful when you’re travelling. Use this guide to help you avoid serious problems when you’re travelling abroad as an American citizen.
Unlike the United States, some countries have very different penalties for getting into an accident. For example, in Mexico, an American that causes a traffic accident could end up in jail until he or she pays a fine to get out. In some cases, those fines could be very expensive. Also, diplomatic intervention may be necessary to get you out of jail if somebody is injured.
If you must drive in a foreign country, do so carefully and never consume alcohol or take your eyes off the road even if there are no laws to prohibit cell phone usage.
Drinking Too Much
In some places, particularly in parts of the world where the majority of residents are Muslim, public intoxication can be a serious crime. While many hotels and restaurants in places like Dubai have a license to serve alcohol to foreigners, drinking too much out in the public can land you in jail very quickly.
If you’re going to drink in countries where the population doesn’t consume alcohol as a general rule, make sure you remain relatively sober if you’re going out. Otherwise it is wise to stick to your hotel.
If your loved one happens to get arrested it may be a stressful and difficult time, especially if it seems he or she may not be available for immediate release. In this case, you may need knowledge about the booking process. Here are a few little known steps in the jail booking process you should know.
The arrestee will be handcuffed, read Miranda Rights, and taken to local law enforcement agency for processing and booking. The booking process involves paperwork recording the alleged crime. Your “mugshot” will be taken, fingerprints, background and warrants checked. After the booking process you may then make a phone call.
A full body search is often part of the booking process to prevent weapons and drugs from entering the facility. A full body search is legal even for relatively minor offenses like traffic violations.
Information of the detainee will be entered into a nationwide database maintained and accessible to FBI, local, state and federal police agencies. Background and warrants will be checked cross states.
Detainees with pending warrants are usually not released on bond. It takes up to 6 hours for the process of the warrant check. Detainees will not be released until records for background and warrants are clean.
Some booking officers allow suspects to keep small personal items.
The detainee will not have access to cell phones, money, or credit card.
Health Screening is given to all detainees during the booking process. These screenings are used to help protect the inmates and jailers from tuberculosis, STD’s and AIDS. Suspects may also have to give DNA samples.
Having one phone call in jail is a myth that’s been around forever. The detainee will be able to make outbound unlimited phone calls for a certain amount of time. This also changes after time to collect calls.
Pre-trial release agreements are almost similar to bail bonds. A pre-trial release has several benefits:
- Funded by taxpayers
- No one is financially responsible for the defendant after their release
- Can be used in violent, felony cases
What does pre-trial release mean?
A pre-trial release is a government organization that obtains the release of defendants from a local jail without requiring them to post a bond. The defendant does not have to commit any funds to be released, only a promise to appear in court.
Who pays for a pre-trial release?
Pre-trial release programs are funded by taxpayers and used to obtain the release of defendants charged with various crimes. Although similar to a commercial bail bond, the defendant doesn’t have to contribute to obtain their release.
When is a pre-trial release used?
Pre-trial release programs are used to obtain the release of individuals charged with both misdemeanors and felonies. In the past, they were used for criminals with minor charges, but now, even a violent offender can obtain one.
What happens after a defendant is released?
Defendants must promise to appear in court at their hearing. Some do not and eventually become fugitives.
Also Read: Consequences of Contempt of Court
Who is financially liable for the defendant after released?
No one is financially responsible for the defendant or to ensure that they appear in court.
Who finds defendants who fail to appear?
If a defendant fails to appear, local authorities are called upon to find and return them. They are not high on the list of priorities.
Does a pre-trial release penalize taxpayers?
Taxpayers are penalized first by having to pay for the defendant’s release, and secondly, for their return if they fail to appear.
What are pre-trail release conditions?
Rules or conditions of pre-trial release vary by state and even by county. Some pre-trail release programs focus only on general bond conditions to achieve certain objectives that include safety of the victim, protection from crime and ensuring defendant’s appearance in court. These conditions depend on the nature of the crime.
For assaultive offenses, pre-trail release conditions include not to travel to certain locations and not to contact the victim. For DWI charges, an ignition interlock device may be installed while the defendant is on pre-trail release. Some programs can be even more intensive wherein the defendant has to report weekly, submit a DNA sample, go through regular drug testing and counseling.
Also Read: Failure in Court Appearance- This is What Happens Next
Also Read: How to Post a Bail in Federal Court
In California, you can be charged for a misdemeanor offense if you are found guilty of being drunk in public. This offense is usually referred to as public intoxication and covers a number of disorderly conducts. If you drink, here are 6 ideas that will help you avoid arrest for public intoxication:
Drink at home or private property
If you drink at home or private property, you cannot get arrested for public intoxication. If you want to drink more than usual, you will be safer enjoying your drinks at home or at a friend’s place.
Have a designated driver
Driving when drunk can make you obstruct other road users due to impaired judgment, which can lead you to be charged for an offense. Always have a designated driver on standby to take you home after drinking.
Avoid walking home when drunk
If you are drunk, take a cab home rather than walking alone. You can put yourself and others in danger as you stagger along the road or streets. When you’ve had too much to drink, have a friend drop you home.
Stick to the state alcohol limit
Check your state’s alcohol limit and stick to it. Buy a personal alcohol breathalyzer to test your blood alcohol level when you are out drinking. You can be charged for an offense if your blood alcohol level is determined to be above the recommended limit.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Taking too much alcohol can make you wild, causing mayhem on the streets and other public areas. Know how much alcohol you can take before it impairs your judgment.
Ultimately, taking alcohol can lead to various health problems. Try to quit drinking to lead a healthier life. For example, you can drink water periodically as you drink to reduce your alcohol consumption.
Parents generally don’t hover around their children to see what they are getting into these days, but with the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices and Internet access, including schools, parents should consider being more interested in what their kids are doing online.
You may not think your child could be guilty of cyber crime, or any crime, for that matter, but cyber-crime is one in particular in which the lines are gray and hazy. There can often be no black and white definition of what constitutes cyber-crime and kids can easily get pulled into a world where they are in over their heads if they aren’t careful. Something as seemingly innocent as a comment posted to another person’s social network page can be considered cyber-crime.
You don’t want your child’s future to be damaged by a juvenile record or criminal record that might carry over into adulthood, so make sure you educate yourself and your children about cyber-crime. A criminal record can cause problems in many areas of a teen’s future life as they try to take on the world on their own, so help them start out the right way when they’re ready to take those steps.
If your teen aged child has become caught in the system through acts they might’ve thought were innocent enough, you can get them out of jail by communicating with a legal representative as quickly as possible when you enlist the aid of a licensed bail bond agent. Don’t let your child, or other family member, languish in the possibly harsh conditions of jail any longer than necessary!
The National Safety Council estimates that nearly 5,900 pedestrians are killed each year in the United States because of motor vehicle accidents. While that number might seem high, pedestrian accidents are a serious and unnecessary problem. Unfortunately, if you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, it is something you’ll have to deal with sooner rather than later, especially if you were the driver of the car.
While an experienced bail bondsman can help get you out of hot water initially, you’ll need to understand more about how pedestrian accident cases work than your bail bondsman will tell you.
Use this brief guide to help get a handle on what’s going to happen after a pedestrian accident and what you should be doing to protect yourself:
Know Who is At Fault
In most cases, the blame is going to be put on the driver when a pedestrian accident occurs. After all, we’ve all heard that the pedestrian always has the right of way. While that is true in cases where drivers run stop lights or pull into a crosswalk, pedestrians can be at fault in an accident as well. For example, if the driver was simply driving along and a person walks into the street, even the most cautious driver may not be able to avoid an accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene
If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident as a driver the worst thing you can do is to leave the scene. When you do that, it’s basically like telling everyone involved that you are guilty and responsible for the accident – even if you aren’t. Leaving the scene of an accident, even if you were at fault, may also turn a basic case that is simply an accidental occurrence into manslaughter or a hit and run case, with more severe consequences.
Bail is usually set at the defendant’s first court appearance after arrest, which is either a bail hearing or an arraignment. There are standard schedules which provide guidelines for bail amounts. In addition, judges may raise or lower bail based on several factors.
Here are 5 key factors used by judges to set a bail amount:
Severity of the charges. The judge will first look at the severity of the charges, especially whether or not the crime was violent. Police often arrest defendants under the highest available charge with the expectation that the charge will be reduced (for example, arresting for felony possession with intent to sell rather than misdemeanor possession); unfortunately, this can be detrimental to defendants seeking bail.
Protection of the public. Protecting the public is the primary concern in determining bail. If the crime is violent, the judge may not set bail at all or the judge may set a very high bail to deter the defendant from skipping trial. The judge will also determine whether the defendant poses a threat to themselves or other people.
Criminal history. Bail is likely to be set high for defendants with a past criminal history. This issue ties into protection of the public.
Flight risk. If the judge determines that the defendant is likely to skip the trial and flee from authorities, bail will be set higher. The entire bail amount is forfeited if the defendant flees, whereas the bail amount is returned if the defendant attends the trial and adheres to the conditions of release.
Defendant’s employment status. Judges are more likely to grant a lower bail to defendants who have stable employment to allow the defendant to maintain their employment status until the trial.
Being arrested can be a very traumatic experience, particularly when you don’t understand your rights. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are arrested is trying to talk their way out of being taken into custody. Many people go right into their stories about what happened, trying to explain that they were in the wrong place at the right time or that the entire situation was all a misunderstanding.
Keep mum until your attorney arrives.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, the best thing that you can do is remain silent about what happened. Inform the arresting officer that you would like to make a phone call as soon as possible so that you can speak to an attorney, who will help you prepare for court.
Know your rights!
Once a suspect is in police custody and about to be questioned, the Miranda rights are read. The Supreme Court requires that suspects are informed about their right to silence, their right to a lawyer, including a public defender, their right to wave their Miranda rights and that anything that they say to their investigators under questioning following their detention can be used in court.
Stay alert when you speak!
Anything that you say to a police officer or investigator prior to being taken into custody and read the Miranda rights can be used in a court of law, including anything that you say to an officer without being prompted first. This includes interviews in which a person is free to leave the premises and converses at the alleged crime scene. Police officers do not have to read the Miranda rights to request basic identification.
Your Miranda rights continue to protect you even if you waive them following an arrest. You have the right to stop answering questions and request a lawyer at any point during an interrogation.
There are times when people have warrants for their arrest and they don’t even know it. While minor offenses usually do not result in an arrest, it’s possible that a warrant is issued for forgetting about an obligation such as appearing in court or paying a ticket.
If you have any doubt about your status involving a warrant, you should take care of it as soon as possible. Avoiding the problem will not make it go away and can even make the matter worse. Below are three ways to approach to issue to find out if there is a warrant for your arrest.
Run a search on your county’s website
Although not all county websites have a warrant search feature, it is a great place to start. Check the “legal” or “health and safety” section. If you still can’t find it, check your local country sheriff or city police department website. If you still can’t find it but want to keep searching online, try a paid service that taps into a broader database.
Check with the County Clerk or Courthouse
The County Clerk and the County Courthouse both keep records on its residents and may be able to help you. Keep in mind that either way if there’s a warrant for your arrest they may immediately notify the police to have you arrested.
Talk with a police officer
Checking with a police officer is one of the fastest ways to find out if you have an outstanding warrant, since he or she can check their database. Again, if you do have a warrant, it can lead to you getting arrested instantly. Paying fines to the Court can avoid an arrest.
When you are involved in a serious court case, whether it’s through your fault or because of someone else, getting yourself out of the legal quicksand and back on solid ground requires the skills of a talented and experienced attorney. In general, most felonies are considered pretty serious legal matters due to the fact that they usually involve a period of incarceration and payment of monetary damages, rather than the simple assessment of a fine or fee.
Felonies leave a very ugly mark on your criminal background check, which can close the doors to many opportunities in the future. Many employers perform background checks and will not hire convicted felons, certain federal programs like financial aid are denied to people with certain types of felonies, and you can even be prevented from attending certain schools or becoming involved in certain civic or community groups and organizations.
If you find yourself being charged with a serious crime, particularly a felony, make sure you obtain the services of a competent and skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A talented attorney knows how to make the system work for you and can challenge the accuracy of evidence, impeach the credibility of witnesses against you, or create doubt of your guilt through successful courtroom presentation. There are a variety of legally permissible tactics that an attorney can use to successfully represent a defendant in a criminal case.
Do your homework and find the best possible attorney to aggressively protect your rights and fight for your freedom when you become involved in serious legal trouble. Don’t leave your defense in the hands of a court-appointed attorney, an attorney with little courtroom experience, or one that does not have several years of experience handling matters that are identical to yours. Protect yourself with the best representation possible.