Top 10 Things to Do if You Wake Up in a Mexican Jail

The case of Goodyear mother Yanira Maldonado is a good reminder that when you're going to Mexico, you might never know when the federales are going to pin a crime on you, and take you to jail.

Since it took Maldonado more than a week to get out of jail for sitting on the same public bus as 12 pounds of marijuana, we thought it'd be a good idea to throw some tips together for the next time you wake up in a Mexican jail.

See also:
-Yanira Maldonado Out of Mexican Jail; Feds Point to Warning of Danger in Sonora
-Are You 1,000 Times Less Likely to Visit Mexico After Yanira Maldonado?
-State Department Reminder: Traveling to Mexico Can Be Scary

1.) Determine that you're actually in Mexico

This one can be tough, especially if you're coming down from a lot of drugs and alcohol, or if the public-school system in the U.S. of A. failed you. Remember, New Mexico is not Mexico. We understand this can be confusing if you've never seen a map before. Also, border towns are often on both sides of the border, like Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. First things first, right?

2.) Determine if you've actually committed a crime

Are you guilty of the charges you were jailed on? Is there a body? If you can say "no" to either of these questions, you might have a good defense — that you didn't do it. There's also the high likelihood that you are in jail because you did break a law, which makes a lot of these tips more helpful, like . . .

3.) Be judicious with your bribes

People love a good bribing. It's also some age-old advice for the American traveler into Mexico. Sure, a nice $100 bill to the policía might get you out of jail for taking a piss on the sidewalk in a tequila-induced stupor. However, the worst part about the bribery game (aside from it being expensive) is that if it doesn't work, there's always the issue of bribery itself being a crime, thus increasing the chances of you being held in that Mexican jail.

4.) Find a Mexican attorney

This might be the worst part — because you're waking up in a Mexican jail, all those attorney jingles from TV commercials in America that you've memorized over the years are now useless, since you'll be needing an attorney who's hip to the laws of Mexico. Lerner and Rowe is not the way to go (they're injury attorneys anyway, dipshit).1-800-THE-EAGLE and 877-96-LEGAL are equally useless in this situation. J.G. Wentworth isn't even a law firm. Call the consulate, they'll help you figure it out.

5.) Don't lose your head

Here's a tip: Don't piss off anyone in the jail who's a member of a drug cartel. Those guys seem to have a thing for chopping off heads. Just keep that in mind.

6.) Make some amigos

On that note, try not to piss off anyone. Most cartel members don't wear name-tags that list their occupations, and no one ever died from being too friendly (yes they have, but it's a saying).

7.) Learn Spanish — you might be here a while

If you're visiting Mexico, you ought to know at least some español to begin with, and if you're stuck in jail, now might be the time to learn it. When you're being asked to sign paperwork that's in Spanish, knowing what it says ought to be helpful. Friendly tip: A ton of stuff on the Taco Bell Menu, like "Crunchwrap Supreme," is not Spanish.

8.) Abide by international prison shower rules

This includes helpful rules such as "don't drop the soap," and the general guideline of showering with your back to the wall. Any suggestion that keeps your booty "exit only" and your body stab-wound free in prison should be observed in Mexican lock-ups as well. Speaking of which . . .

9.) Don't get stabbed

Sure, this kind of goes without saying. We're just trying to drive the point home that being stabbed is bad. Try to avoid getting stabbed. Also, stay up-to-date on tetanus shots.

10.) Dig

If you've followed all of our advice, it's probable that you're going to be in prison for a while. But, if you've seen it in the movies and on TV, it's gotta work, so our best advice is just to dig out of there.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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