Arrested at the airport, Urgent legal assistance

International Drug Lawyers

I bet you have never thought about the possibility that when you are traveling on business or pleasure, after arriving in your destination country, in the middle of the airport, you can be stopped by the customs controls, separated from the line and taken into a room, where they inform you that you are under arrest!

If that happened to you anytime: What would you do?

The first reaction of any person would always be to ask what happens and try to understand what they want to tell to you, if you are lucky and have come to a place where they speak your language, or where communicating in simple English everyone understands (it happens that not always we will be in a place where we know the language, or where when trying to say something in English they will get you wrong and instead of being an aid, trying to communicate becomes a very strong barrier).

Do you have any idea of the main reasons why the customs authorities can arrest you at an airport control?

In many occasions, detention can be associated with problems in your documentation, lost passport, unreadable visa, if you carry a copy of flora or fauna that is not allowed in the country where you are going, if you carry a large amount of money that not has been declared upon entry into the customs (as they must discard that this money is the product of a criminal act and is being used to perform an asset laundering), if among the personal items that you carry in your luggage there is something to draws their attention (for example something that resembles a drug).

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It could also happen that your name matches the name of a person who is being sought or who has a pending legal issue in the country to which you have arrived. At that moment, regardless of the fact that in the end you are not the person they are looking for, it is evident that you will have a hard time.

At other times, your physical appearance can draw the attention of the customs authorities and they may come to believe that your health is not adequate to enter the country you have arrived to because of any suspicion of an epidemic that exists in the country from which you come.

It is evident that there are many reasons that the customs authorities should take into account. They are in charge of maintaining the security of both the airport, the aircraft (if you have not already been on the plane) and the country in which you have arrived. You must understand that the mission of these people is precisely to prevent acts of terrorism, entry of illicit substances into the country, or people who may cause outbreaks of epidemics that threatens the population’s health and national security in general.

What should you do if it turns out that you are one of those people who, by chance or for a specific reason, is separated from the line by the customs authorities for questioning?

The main thing at all times, should be to stay calm, behave properly, show respect to the authorities, not try to raise your voice or get upset, not insulting the people who have arrested you or raise slanders against them, because in any case, these behaviors will not favor you at all, on the contrary, it can make the situation worse. You should think that in the end, they are only doing their job and preventing unscrupulous people from committing acts that affect thousands of people.

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The second point will be that you be clear about the reason why you have been arrested. For this it will be important that you understand the language in which you are spoken to and in case you do not, request a translator to clarify the situation.

Then, once the reasons for which you have been arrested are clarified, if you consider that these are not specific reasons or you cannot be understood to clarify them, request the services of a criminal lawyer without delay.

As a general rule, it is a good idea to be advised by a lawyer before answering any questions the authorities may ask. It is your constitutional right not to respond to questions that may incriminate you. Even you have the right to answer some questions and to remain silent before others and simply say that to answer such questions you prefer to have the advice of a lawyer. Legal advice is not something that makes the authorities think that you have something to hide, it is simply your right. What you should be clear about is that whatever you say to the authorities, it can be used against you, therefore, it will be much better for you, before answering self-incriminating questions, to request the services of a lawyer even when it is a public defender.

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