For anyone who asks, if ever pulled over by an officer of the law in Puerto Vallarta, we always advise to keep your money in your pocket and take the ticket. There are still come cops who will accept a bribe (mordida), though we hear and see this practice less and less as the years go by. It seems to be either the older, weathered policemen who do this, or the young, fresh ones trying to make a buck peso on the side.
Here’s how it goes if you decide to take the ticket and not offer a mordida: In many cases, they will simply let you go, give you a harsh warning, (which you will deserve if you were speeding or breaking any other law involving an automobile or motorbike) rather than go to the bother of writing up a citation. They will explain that you must go to the police station to pay. Back in the day, they would take our driver’s license, meaning there was no choice going forward; we had to pay to get it back.
Some people are misled in thinking the authorities in Puerto Vallarta don’t keep computerized records. That’s not true and don’t ever rely on this type of misleading information because it can get you in a lot of trouble, including with any government department….like Aduana (customs), for example.
You will receive a citation written in Spanish, but it will contain your pertinent information, plus the amount of your fine. These tickets don’t amount to much and if you pay within a certain period of time, usually three days, they will actually half it. This means standing in line, sometimes in the hot sun, but the queue moves fast and in the end, you have not broken the law. The address of the station in Puerto Vallarta will be on the ticket and if you have any questions, ask. It is the police officer’s responsibility to make sure you understand and this is a good time to make sure you have his name and badge number.
If you do offer a mordida to a policeman, keep In mind it is illegal, and depending on the time of day, position of the sun, global news, or the mood of your apprehending officer, you could go to jail for doing so. It’s a huge risk to take and one that could ruin your day and that of any passengers who may have accompanied you on your excursion in and around Puerto Vallarta.
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Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!
About Vacation Villas of Mexico Founder, Vanessa Cole
The founder of the company, Vanessa Cole, lived in Puerto Vallarta for 10 years and in Cancun for 2 years. She has worked in Luxury Vacation Villa Rentals since 2001.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Vanessa earned a degree from the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in International Business and Latin American Studies. Fluent in Spanish, she has worked and traveled all over Mexico and South America.
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