Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and judicial decisions. Consular officers are not able to get U.S. citizens out of jail. However, consular officers are able to:

  • help you understand why you were arrested (particularly if you cannot speak Spanish)
  • provide you with a list of attorneys who speak English
  • provide a brief description of the judicial process and what to expect in the days following your arrests
  • at your request, pass messages to/from family and other parties
  • within certain limits, transfer money, food, and clothing from your family and friends
  • ascertain that your rights within the Nicaraguan judicial system are not infringed because of your citizenship
  • visit you at certain intervals
  • protest any flagrant violations of your human rights

We strongly suggest you hire a local attorney if you are arrested. Consular officers cannot legally represent you in a court of law or offer advice.  Consular services to detainees do not depend on guilt or innocence.

The State Department website provides more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad and the judicial issues surrounding such an arrest.