What To Do If You Are A U.S. Citizen Arrested In Mexico?

What To Do If You Are A U.S. Citizen Arrested In Mexico?

If you are a U.S. citizen arrested in Mexico, the first thing you are going to want to do is not panic. This seems like trivial advice, but it is worth heeding nonetheless. In a situation like this, the last thing you want to do is panic. You want to consider your options. You want to understand everything you are going to be able to do.

Differences between Mexican Law and U.S. Law

In the first place, it is important to understand that the legal system in Mexico is different from the legal system in the United States in a number of ways. For example, a number of the legal rights and protections that are granted to those in the United States do not exist in Mexico. Therefore, the punishment for a crime in Mexico can be considerably more severe than the punishment for a crime in the United States. It is also worth noting that Mexico has the greatest number of arrests of U.S. citizens abroad, in addition to the biggest population of U.S. prisoners outside of America.


One of the biggest differences between Mexico and America’s legal systems concerns the subject of civil/common law. Mexico considers itself to be a civil law country. On the flipside of that, the United States considers itself to be a common law country. It is also worth noting that in Mexico, the general sentiment is that an accused individual is guilty until proven innocent. This provides a stark contrast to the United States, in which the opposite generally holds true.

If You Are Arrested In Mexico

If you are planning to travel to Mexico, make it a point to read all relevant information on the differences between U.S. law and Mexico law. The above paragraphs should give you a clear indication of how important it is to do this.

The following is a short list of some of the crimes you can be arrested for in Mexico:

  •  Disturbing the peace/being a public nuisance.
  •  Public drinking.
  •  Fights.
  •  Nudity/immoral behavior.
  •  Using/producing/selling false documents.
  •  Possessing/introducing/using any weapons.
  •  Possessing/introducing/using any illegal drugs. Keep in mind that most of the drugs that are illegal in the United States are illegal in Mexico, as well.
  •  Drunk driving/driving under the influence of narcotics.
  •  Being responsible for an auto accident/injuring an individual.

If you are arrested for any of these crimes (or anything else) in Mexico, you can expect a visit from the U.S. consulate within twenty-four hours. You can expect to be visited at least once every quarter of your confinement. The particulars of your initial visit with your consulate will include making sure that you are receiving fair treatment. In addition to this, your consulate will also advise you as to your legal rights, while also giving you information on legal counsel in your area that is available to you. Remember, a license to practice law in California, does not grant the right to practice in Mexico. So you will need to obtain local counsel. The consulate will also obtain any information that you may want to pass along to friends and family. You should also make arrangements for money and other essentials to be delivered to you, depending on your situation. In many cases, an individual incarcerated in Mexico will be responsible for purchasing many of the supplies and other essentials that are generally given to prisoners in the United States as a matter of course.

Additional Information

Keep in mind that in order to receive assistance from the consulate, you have to prove that you are a U.S. citizen.


It is also imperative to understand that it is in your best interests to hire a Mexican attorney. You want to have someone in your corner who understands the legal system in Mexico. Furthermore, you are going to want someone who is going to understand the particulars of where you happen to be incarcerated. There might be a certain hierarchy, or a certain way in which things are handled, that you may not be aware of.

In certain extreme situations, you may want to have your attorney contact the media. This can be an effective means for pleading your case.

Depending on your crime, the combination of a consulate with a Mexican attorney should give you the best chance possible of successfully surviving the Mexican legal system in a timely fashion. Do as much research on the area you are traveling to as possible. For many American tourists that cross the border, there’s a sense that anything goes. Anything does not go. You can get arrested, so be prepared and more importantly, just like at home, avoid behavior that can lead to an arrest.

All about Reynosa

All about Reynosa

With a population that falls between 672,183 and approximately 1-million (if you include the floating population), Reynosa, Mexico is certainly a large locale. It is the largest, most populous city in the state of Tamaulipas. In fact, the combined Reynosa-McAllen Metropolitan Area boasts a population of over 1.7-million people. This makes it the 3rd biggest metropolitan area in the Mexico/U.S. border. It is also interesting to note that Reynosa is amongst the 5 fastest growing cities in Mexico.

There is a great deal of history and culture to be found in Reynosa, in addition to points of interest. However, given the social and political unrest that constantly runs through the entire country, it is also worth finding out if Reynosa is a safe place to visit.

History of Reynosa


The story of Reynosa goes back to March 14th, 1749. It was on this date that Reynosa was founded by Carlos Cantu and 297 individuals. Cantu operated under the command of José de Escandón y Helguera the Count of Sierra Gorda. Unfortunately, the settlement experienced trouble on July 4th, 1802. Due to flooding in the area, the settlers of Reynosa were forced to move 5 miles to the east. This was done to maintain the same margin between themselves and the Rio Grande. It is also worth noting that between 1846 and 1848, the town was captured and held by the U.S. military.

In 1926, the city government officially recognized Reynosa as a city.

Initially known as Villa de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Reynosa, Reynosa took its name from a town in Spain. The town initially consisted of 50 families.

Notable Facts about Reynosa

Several satellite U.S. companies exist within Reynosa, which now covers approximately 1200 square miles. More likely than not, it is believed that this is the case because of low labor rates, industry incentives, and the location. Reynosa is just eleven miles south of McAllen, Texas.

Reynosa is home to a variety of landmarks, as well as various locations of note. Two of the most significant would have to be Parque Cultural Reynosa, and Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.

It is also worth noting that a number of famous individuals come from Reynosa. Xavier Baez, Laura Flores, Jaime Garcia are amongst the celebrities who hail from this city.

Is Reynosa Safe?

The question of whether or not Reynosa is safe is worth exploring. The fact of the matter is that because Reynosa is a border city, it is subject to a great deal of chaos and fighting. Gunfights and other forms of violence are not uncommon in Reynosa, or in the surrounding areas. Drug gangs frequently go to war in the area. The violence is so severe in the area, the U.S. State Department has issued a warning. This aftermath came in aftermath of a 2011 murder of a U.S. citizen. It is believed that the citizen was the victim of a failed carjacking.

None of the highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered to be safe. However, resort areas and tourist destinations within Mexico are still generally considered to be acceptable for travelers and tourists.

Reynosa has seen more than a few gunfights, particularly, over the past ten or so years. It is also worth mentioning that in spite of the size of the city, it is not considered to be one of the top tourist destinations in Mexico. In other words, if you are planning a visit to Mexico as a tourist, you will likely want to confine your visit to the established tourist destinations. These destinations include the many famous resorts that exist throughout the country.


Regardless, opinions on safety in Reynosa vary from one individual to the next. Some will point to the fact that Reynosa is an example of the fact that several parts of Mexico could very easily qualify as war zones. Others will note that compared to other parts of Mexico, Reynosa is relatively safe. At the same time, it is worth noting that there have been a number of shootouts in Reynosa in broad daylight.

In the views of many, Reynosa has very little to offer visitors. In other words, unless you have a very specific reason for going there (friends, family, or work), it is perhaps best to avoid the city of Reynosa altogether.