We know that being pulled over by a police officer while driving in a foreign country can be a scary experience. The most important thing is to remain calm, be respectful and know your rights. You may have heard stories about people being pulled over and having to give a “mordida” (bribe) to the cop because they were worried they were going to be thrown into jail if they didn’t. Giving them money for a bribe is both unnecessary and illegal. The Baja Secretary of Tourism and the Mexican government are on your side and want the police to stop this behavior, but they rely on help from tourists to report the problem and to stop feeding into it by offering the cops bribes.
We’ve partnered with the Baja Secretary of Tourism to answer some of your questions about what to do if you’re pulled over, and we’ve put together a document for you to print out and keep in your car while driving in Baja. The printout outlines procedures for you to follow and also doubles as a document that you can show to the officer (there’s a section in Spanish) to let them know that you’re aware of your rights and will be reporting any misconduct to the Board of Tourism.
-If you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, you should request a written citation from the officer. Traffic citations are written in both English and Spanish and will contain instruction on how to pay the fee. You can mail your fine to Mexico from the U.S.
-Never attempt to bribe or give money to the officer. It is both corrupt for them to ask for money and illegal for you to bribe a police officer. You can be fined and thrown in jail.
-In some cases, the officer will ask you to follow them to the police station. If you are being pulled over for a minor infraction, you are not required to go to the police station. Ask for the written citation and you can pay it by mail from the U.S.
-If you feel like you’ve been fined unfairly, take note of the time, location, vehicle identification number and badge number of the officer. You can contact the State Secretary of Tourism 24/7 by dialing 078 to report the information. If you’re a Discover Baja member, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the above information and we will contact the Secretary of Tourism directly for you.
Download and print this document to keep in your glovebox and show to the officer if you’re pulled over.
Driving to Baja? Don’t forget your Mexican auto insurance! Discover Baja has the best rates and the highest-quality insurance. Visit www.discoverbajaonline.com or call 800-727-2252 for more information.