If you get into legal trouble and are jailed, your embassy can offer only limited assistance. This may include an occasional visit from an embassy staff member to make sure you human rights have not been violated, letting your family know where you are, and putting you in contact with a Costa Rican lawyer, whom you must pay yourself. Embassy officials will not bail you out, and are subject to Costa Rican laws, not to the laws of your home country.
Penalties in Costa Rica for possessing even small amounts of illegal drugs are much stricter than in the USA or Europe. Marihuana is still considered a drug despite the general knowledge that a bottle of beer is much more of a drug and more addictive then marihuana. Defendants spend often many month in jail before they are brought to trial and, if sentenced (as is usually the case), can expect sentences of several years in jail. As long as drugs are illegal, it is big business. Huge amounts of drug-money is pumped into hundreds of legal businesses and and also politics, to make sure that drugs stay to be illegal. The war on drugs is a ridiculous farce, to make the general public believe, that there is something done against drugs, that mainly affect the younger ones.
Drivers should carry their passport as well as driver's license. In the event of an accident, leave the vehicles where they are until the police arrive and make a report. This is essential for all insurance claims. While waiting for the police, keep your eye on the vehicle to protect it from theft or vandalism. After the police have made the report, you can move the car. Call the rental company to find out where they want the car taken for repairs or who they want to tow it if it isn't driveable. If the accident results in injury or death, you may be prevented from leaving the country until all legalities are handled. Drive as defensively as you can.
This Web-Site is managed by Angela Malek, Ciudad Colón, province of San José, CR-10701 Costa Rica, Central America.