Drinking and Driving Crackdown

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
Friday I came across a post from the Boo Bar in regards to a crack down or outright police harassment concerning drinking and driving... Apparently it's all hands on deck to find violators and Americans are already reporting being pulled over in the Sandy Beach area... Some peoope are already reporting being asked for ungodly amounts of money and or at the very least harassed and hassled. Boo Bar was reporting that the police chief held a town hall meeting for business owners and concerned parties to voice their concerns. Boo Bar is highly recommending not drinking and driving and having a designated driver. My question to the forum is, has anyone heard of any incidents so far and secondly, what constitutes impairment? Basically they pull you over for no apparent reason and then tell you that you have been drinking and either try to arrest or demand money .. How can this be avoided? Coming down 2 weekends in a row....


Aye carumba!!!
Staff member
Forum Supporter
Let me know when they start pulling over the Saturday night Bud Light local cruisers as well as the Americans. Everybody seems to drink there on the weekends.


Well Known Member
Avoid it by pretending you are in Phoenix and act accordingly. But do not expect uniform enforcement. Wait till Semana Santa !!! The Mex. Constitution guarantees e


Well Known Member
Do not expect uniform enforcement. There is no money to collect from locals. The Mex constitution guarantees equal enforcement even to non citizens.

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
"How can this be avoided? " I think Boo Bar answered this.
Hey Russell, maybe you didn't read my post. I'm asking specifically how they determine impairment and what constitutes impairment. Secondly, acting like I would in the states means I'm having a few drinks and driving. The exception is that in the states im not going to be pulled over for no reason. I've been "pulled over" stopped at the red cross leaving Sonoyta .. So please if you can't answer my question more specifically don't bs me. Clearly my concern is being harassed and falsley accused but I'm sure Russell would counter with that happens in the states too... Nothing to see here. Lastly, if you read José post there are clearly Americans that have already experienced this recently and all i wanted to know is if anyone on the forum could personally comment on this situation.


Well Known Member
Joe, what you are asking has no good answer. There are too many circumstances. Yes there are laws on the books but in reality few know them. I know you can be required to take a blood test. My ex father in law was an MD that did this stuff for the police. Usually things won't go that route. If you are taken to the judge and dispute the accusations of the officer you could be held in the jail awaiting disposition. I have been fined for drinking and driving by a judge just for admitting that I had had a beer earlier in the evening. You can be pulled over for any reason the officers decide to do so. There are almost always 2 in the vehicle so they can support each other's observation. I have been told that having only one drink is a violation, zero tolerance. If you deny you are drinking but maybe they think you have been you can be detained many hours while a blood test is arranged. No breathalyzers Ihave ever heard of.

The big factor is intimidation. If you are from the US and get stopped by a vehicle with blinding multicolored flashing lights lights and are approached by 2 people in uniforms sporting hand guns on the hip and automatic weapons slung over a shoulder it gets your attention. "Failure to come to a complete stop is more common than alcohol related stops. Stop completely, count to three, then go on. Yes you will annoy the taxis and notice no one else is stopping, but that's the way it is.

We were stopped a few weeks back for not stopping at the first of the two stopsigns at the RR crossing northbound on Benito Juarez. Went to court and paid a fine. Driver was asked but was not drinking. We were accompanied by a Spanish speaking local who was told to leave the courtroom or be put in jail while the judge made a decision.

Year or two ago I pulled to the side of the street off Calle 13 to answer my phone and was immediately approached by the flashing lights. I asked what the problem was and was told to get out and that I parked illegally. I argued and in response was slapped in the handcuffs, pushed roughly into the rear seat of the truck and hauled to the commandancia. The fine was 700 pesos. Parking wrong was explained to me. I was so shaken I paid. My van was driven to the commandancia and parked outside.

Flip side is that I have just driven off on several occasions when I knew I had stopped completely and told them so. They did not follow me.

You cannot prevent harassment by the police. Generally your best course of action, assuming you have had nothing to drink, is to agree to go to the Commandancia and plea your position in front of a judge.


Lovin it in RP!
Roberto, I could not have said it better. However I still stand by the idea that Jose from Boo had....get a taxi, they are cheap and readily available. We live here and are Mexican plated for our cars and we still use Taxis when we go out...especially if we are going to drink. It is just a wiser course than hoping not to run into over zealous cops in the dark. Sorry I didn't answer your question Joe but it is what it is.

Buffalo Marty

Well Known Member
Mexican law enforcement (like many other things in Mexico) will almost always be shades of grey as opposed to black and white. I have had a gun drawn on me for "illegal parking" in a very similar incident as described by Roberto. And that guy didn't want to go to the Comandancia, he wanted cash on the spot, and what the hell are you supposed to do in the moment?

For most minor infractions like stop signs or speeding I totally agree that its better to ask for the ticket- BUT, for anything alcohol related it is a dangerous game even if you think you are in the right. Let's forget the case where you would clearly be guilty, i.e. 15 beers at Wrecked and then crash into a sand dune. I think the main point of Joe's post is to ask whether you can have 2 or 3 Dos Equis with dinner at the Malecon and drive home with no worries.

For this case I will draw on personal experience. About 10 years ago in Nogales, I crossed into Mexico to play pool with a buddy who is a Mexican national. Over the course of 3-4 hours I had about a beer an hour- I'm 6'5" so for me that's almost like lemonade. On the way home we got pulled over for no reason ("revision de rutina") and I told them the complete truth, i.e. I've had a few beers but *clearly* not drunk.

"OK, señor, we'll have to go to the comandancia to see the "Doctor". My friend was immediately nervous and told me to give them 500 pesos. I was defiant and knew I was in the right, and wanted no part of a bribe- I thought I'd be cleared with a breathalyzer. To make a long story short, after more than a hour, the "Doc" gave me a breathalyzer and it was 0.03- "OK, so I am free to go, right?" "Sorry, amigo, maybe in your country yes, but in Mexico we have a different limit." "OK, what is the limit?" "ZERO, señor."

"Wait, I ADMITTED that I had 3-4 beers, why did we have to go through this whole charade then?!" "Sorry amigo, welcome to Mexico." I was in jail 3-4 hours in a disgusting cell that even Hollywood would have a hard time imagining. I had to pay 2,000 pesos to the "Judge" (who put the money directly into his wallet), and another 2,000 to get my car back. After that experience, I will almost never drive at night even after 1 beer- during the day I usually don't worry as much since the worst rats usually like to hunt after dark.

The underlying message of not paying bribes is *generally* correct. BUT, it is also somewhat eye-rolling to hear "just take a taxi everywhere you go all the time if you've had 1 beer" passed off as a completely normal state of affairs. That is NOT a "normal" situation, and it is important to be clear why- you are not in your home country, and in the worst circumstances in Mexico, the police can and do make up the rules as they go along. This may not be what everyone wants to hear, but its the truth, and better to acknowledge it and adjust accordingly.

Anyway, I love Mexico dearly, and as a friend once told me about being in the grey area: "You gotta take the good with the bad."
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Well Known Member
Anyone stopped in Mexico while driving after consuming any alcohol, would be well advised to consider playing the stay out of jail card by paying a nominal mordida rather than taking the advice being offered by the taxi riding, law and order advocates. Remember that at that point your are well inside the belly of the beast and they have you by the balls.
After many personal Mexican ‘adventures’ over many years I can attest to Marty’s post as being spot on.
500 pesos up front would have been a very small price to pay indeed to avoid a situation which could even have become infinitely much worse.


Well Known Member
Got stopped last week for expired tag. Tried to argue my way out of it but the guy was a no go. I had about 3 or 4 glasses of wine during the evening and the guy kept trying to stand close. My arthritis was flared up and I tend to walk unstable just because of that so I suggested I just pay him as I had a sick baby at home. He quoted $100 dollars. I had only Pesos so he said ok one mil pesos. Got a nice discount and went about my way. First time I paid a curb fine in the past 18 years.

Is also a huge benefit to locals who have not imported and unregistered vehicles . Yhey have little money to pay a fine and will not be able to pay the impound if the vehicle is taken to the yard. Local friend was stopped years back was asked for $$ and he had only 5 pesos in his pocket. Cop took his 5 pesos and let him go about his business. He would have lost the vehicle for sure.


Lovin it in RP!
"The underlying message of not paying bribes is *generally* correct. BUT, it is also somewhat eye-rolling to hear "just take a taxi everywhere you go all the time if you've had 1 beer" passed off as a completely normal state of affairs. That is NOT a "normal" situation, and it is important to be clear why- you are not in your home country, and in the worst circumstances in Mexico, the police can and do make up the rules as they go along. This may not be what everyone wants to hear, but its the truth, and better to acknowledge it and adjust accordingly."

then I say to you.....please drink, drink a lot....(then blame the cops in Mexico for enforcing Mexico law)....and drive.... as my opinion makes no sense at all in a perfect world that you inhabit, for Naomi and I I think the taxi idea has a lot of merit, even when we we have to go to Phoenix. This IS my country and I am a resident here, I try really hard to obey the rules.

Bacanora tasting the other night...taxi to the event, drank lots of Bacanora and then taxied home and guess what I don't have a sumptuous story to tell about how bad the cops are in Mexico....25 pesos per person down and 25 per person back...100 pesos.....6.00 usd....cheaper than a bribe to avoid a DUI (which is apparently an ok thing to do) What can I say? I like things to be clean.


Well Known Member
It's inevitable that uber/lyft makes it to RP. Probably within the next few years.

When people say "just take a taxi". Well that's easier said than done. Taking a taxi can result in scams, and at a minimum negotiation before getting in. I've been quoted anywhere between $8 - 25 to get from Sandy Beach into town. This type of experience probably leads more people to drive instead of take taxis.

Get Uber/lyft going and I guarantee gringo drunk driving is cut on half.
If Uber ever gets to RP, they will really have to lower their standards on equipment, insurance and such. I don't see too many hoopdees with Mexican plates driving around that could even come close to the minimum standard in the states. I would also expect to see a huge backlash from the 'taxi' drivers here currently.


Well Known Member
Uber was tried in RP but sadly the individuals that I know were very sternly warned that it was a bad idea for them and their family. I use Uber in Tijuana every week and it is great, usually a 2 to 5 minute wait and I am on my way in a much nicer vehicle than a beat up Taxi Libre and for much less money. Just a few years ago when Uber first appeared on scene in TJ there were drivers assaulted and killed as well as passengers assaulted by the taxi mafia's. Today, Uber is very much ingrained into daily life in TJ but now and again I hear of a driver being killed. A few months ago a young female driver was murdered but it appeared to be over a minor traffic accident and not by the taxi people.

I think Uber will one day work in RP and if the taxi mafia was smart they'd allow it and increase their earnings by providing their own Uber cars and drivers.