You Are More "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" Than "Guilty Until Proven Innocent"
Perhaps no area of Mexican law has undergone more change in the last decade than Mexican criminal procedure. Contrary to the generally held belief, one is not considered guilty until proven innocent. In 1983, Article 9 of the Mexican Constitution was amended to delete a former provision that seemed to contradict the presumption of innocence. Today the presumption of innocence is found in various Articles of the constitution which taken together, constitute a presumption of innocence.
If the accident involves a death, injury or property damage authorities will commence a criminal investigation. The crimes you could be charged with include imprudence, a type of criminal negligence, as well as more obvious crimes such as driving under the influence. A representative from the Public Prosecutor's office, the Ministerio Publico, may come to the scene and ask you to make a statement. You have the right to not make a statement, but it is often better to do so. You have the right to have someone you trust, such as a friend, relative, or lawyer present with you while you are questioned, this is also an important right to use, as it may effect your case later on. If you are not traveling with anyone, name the Canadian Consul and ask the officer to contact the Canadian Consulate.
If you are arrested as a result of an accident, you have the right to release on bail. The amount of the bail will be fixed as the amount necessary to pay for any fines, and damage done to the other party. Article 31 of the Penal Code provides that in cases dealing with negligence or imprudence, a valid Mexican Insurance policy will provide a basis for guaranteeing the bail so that the driver may be released. Even if there is Mexican Insurance, the driver may not be released if he/she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or in an extremely reckless fashion. If bail is paid, it is paid to a court official. In no cases are police officers in Mexico allowed to accept cash, for whatever reason.
If no agreement is reached, or there are injuries, your vehicle may be detained as long as needed to investigate the accident and to guarantee the amount of damage done to the other vehicle even if you feel that the accident is not your fault. If your vehicle is detained, you may be required to post a bond in order to obtain its release. If your vehicle is detained, you may be required to post a bond in order to obtain its release. If you obtained Mexican Insurance it will serve as the guarantee needed. If not, you may have to purchase a separate bond.
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