Arrests are always unpleasant affairs. However, they can get even more uncomfortable if they take place outside your country.
In most cases, an overseas arrest leaves the defendant both disoriented and confused. This is because they’re neither aware of the local legal system nor the language or customs. Above all, it’s unlikely that they have a friend or family nearby who can help.
Let’s see what the authorities can do to help you out in such circumstances:
What can the Department of State do?
Here’s a list of ways the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State can help you:
- They can provide a list of attorneys who offer services in the area of your arrest who speak English.
- They will contact your friends and family back home on your behalf (after acquiring written permission from you).
- They will make sure you receive appropriate medical care if need be.
- They will provide you with a general overview of the criminal justice system of the country.
- They will help establish an OCS trust on your behalf so it’s easier for your family and friends back home to send funds while you’re detained. The OCS trust provides emergency financial assistance for US citizens abroad.
What can the Department of State not do?
Here’s a list of ways the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State can’t be of any help:
- They will not mediate with the local law enforcement agencies on your behalf to get you out of jail.
- They will not officially testify to your innocence or guilt in front of the court.
- They will not provide any legal advice and will not officially represent you in court.
- They will not pay for legal or medical expenses.
- They will not serve as your official interpreter or translator.
What can you do?
First of all, you need to understand that when you’re detained abroad, you’ll be subject to the laws and regulations of that country, and not that of the US. You’ll have to respect and follow local laws.
So read up on the local criminal justice system a bit before you travel. Try and learn which laws differ in that country compared to the US. Such country-specific information can be accessed via the Department of State’s website. The easiest way to stay safe is to contact the nearest embassy or consulate in the US before you travel.
In case of an arrest, the best you can do is requesting the prison authorities to notify the US Consulate.
On the other hand, if you get arrested anywhere in Indiana, get in touch with a reliable bail bond agency at your earliest.