By Azucena Mazón & Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
When vacationing in destinations such as Puerto Peñasco, a situation for visitors that may arise is not knowing precisely what to do in the event of being stopped by the police, paying fines, or even in the event of being detained or arrested.
Although this tourist destination is close to the U.S., after crossing the border it is important to keep in mind the rights and obligations for those from the U.S. are different than at home. This can depend on regulations of the Municipal Police, along with laws that govern the country.
In addressing the question of what one should do if stopped for a traffic violation, Puerto Peñasco Preventive Police Commander Rey David Angulo recommends people follow the police vehicle that made the stop directly to the Police Station in order to prevent misunderstandings. All fines are paid directly at the Police Station, and if paid within 24 hours there is a 50% discount on fines. All fines are posted at Police Station.
Another point for visitors who do not speak Spanish is to be sure to ask for assistance from someone who speaks English. In Puerto Peñasco, local resident and business woman Rosie Glover also serves as Coordinator of Tourism Assistance by providing bilingual services for visitors when faced with a legal situation and/or emergencies. [Tourism & Visitors Assistance (24 hour bilingual service) US # 602.773.1031 Mex # 638.388.6624 After hours: 638.386.9081]
“For tourists, as well as foreign residents living in Puerto Peñasco, all should be given the courtesy to have whatever situation they are confronted with explained to them in English, whether that be a traffic stop or even arrest,” explains Glover.
“There is confusion because visitors often believe they have the same rights as when in the U.S., and can be confused about the role of the U.S. Consulate and believe that office can advocate for them,” she notes.
According to the U.S. Consulate in Nogales (http://nogales.usconsulate.gov/emergency-services.html) while the Consulate itself is unable to “provide legal assistance, they ensure your treatment is humane and without mistreatment.” Contact information for U.S. Consulate in Nogales found below.
The Preventive Police Commander acknowledged in tourist cities such as Puerto Peñasco there is a certain level of tolerance for both visitors and residents, though makes assurances that when legal infractions arise – such as drinking and driving, disobeying traffic signs, public disruptions, or harming others – the weight of the law is applied.
Angulo added local police also monitor the use of helmets for those on 4-wheelers and ATV vehicles as an additional safety precaution.
Tel: 631 311-8150 (Dialing from the U.S., first dial 011-52- ) Fax: 631 313-4652
Emergencies from Mexico cell phone (dialing from Puerto Peñasco) 045 631 318-0723
Dialing from Nogales: 044 631 318 0723 From the U.S. 011-521-631-318-0723
Additional Emergency #s : 066 is “911” emergency number in Mexico
Have a safe stay!