Have you ever been in trouble with the police? Maybe you’ve been out with your friends for the night and had a few too many and things got out of hand and the police were called? You weren’t causing trouble just possibly being a little loud?
Now what happens if you’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language? You’re separated from your friends and arrested because when the police arrived you were found to have a small amount of drugs on you.
What happens when you don’t know what is being said to you, when you don’t understand what is going on and everyone around you is speaking quickly in their own language. Finally someone arrives who speaks some English and explains that you are being charged with possession of drugs and that you can leave but you need to sign this first.
With relief you sign and leave the station, taking a copy of the ‘release forms’ with you. You are due to fly home later that day anyway so you return to the hotel and pack your things before heading to the airport and flying home to England.
Except that piece of paper you were so anxious to sign included a clause saying that you agreed to present yourself to the police on the first of each month as a condition of your bail. A condition you didn’t even know existed because the paper you signed was in Spanish, a language you don’t speak, and the lawyer appointed to you at the station had not explained this to you.
Now, several years later, you’re a different person, a family man, a responsible professional, not the young student on a lads’ holiday. You’re worried that this previous issue could cause you a problem on an upcoming holiday so decide to get the release forms checked. You get them translated and with horror realise the bail condition on the form – a bail condition you have been in breach of for a number of years.
So what happens now? What happens if you try to return to Spain? Will you be arrested? Will your family holiday be destroyed – either by you not being able to go – or worse, your young children watching Daddy be arrested?
That’s when our client contacted Forrest Williams. We were able to speak with the court to ascertain the present position of his case and to confirm that no warrant had been issued for his arrest and, more importantly, that the courts had no intention of issuing one in the future. We liaised with both the British Consulate in Spain and the Spanish Embassy in London to ensure that they, and the Court, had our client’s new address and full contact details so that if they did need to speak with him in the future that this could be arranged, without the need to fly back to Spain.
We were able to reassure our client, to help and support him and to ensure that he was able to go on the planned holiday with his family without fear.
If you have been arrested for an offence abroad and are worried that you too may have signed something you didn’t understand then give Forrest Williams a call on 01623 600645 and we would be happy to help.