first, about me. I am almost 4 years into a continuous ARC, 40 something and single, without relatives in Taiwan. My experience in Taiwan has been mostly happy and positive. Because I was raised in a big, progressive multi-cultural city, I have considered leaving a few times but learned to appreciate and be thankful for the advantages of living here, especially at my age (healthcare, low cost-of-living, the public sports centers, etc.) I'm also a private person, a weekend-only weed smoker, socially active but not much on social networking sites (like fb), never before posted on forumosa and only checked it out to help me with this post. so, if anyone cares to read my lengthy story and reply, the purpose of this post is to reach out for any thoughts, opinions, or experiences that would help me decide or prepare for what's to come.
In late September, 830am weekday, 5-6 TPD entered my apartment and woke me with a search warrant for weed. They actually didn't have to search because they already knew where the pipe and 9 grams were. Right then I knew I was betrayed by a local girl that I just dated for a month or so before, who also smoked, but I didn't mention either. After taking a quick peak under my bed and behind the curtains, they settled down and waited for the porto-lab to confirm the weed was authentic. Meanwhile , I announced I was having breakfast, then was going to shit -n- shower. That was ok with them with an open bathroom door. This entire interaction was calm and non-confrontational. They read me my rights (after i asked) , contacted AIT on their phone for me, and arrested me. Surprisingly, they didn't seize my computer or my phone. Around 1030am, we walked to the precinct around the corner. I knew it was going to be a long day.
After 2 hours at the precinct, I decided that hiring counsel would be not only hopeless but futile and expensive. I was caught red handed. Perhaps foolishly or not, I believed that truth, cooperation and confession was my best shot at whatever leniency may be had. They took a piss test. The videotaped and signed confession involved more or less standard background questions and light interrogation. Surprisingly, they never offered me a deal to rat, but I was prepared with answers to deflect any offer. I acknowledged the seriousness of the crime, owned it, and apologized for it. I actually stated a few times that I was more concerned about the media picking up my case and hurting my boss' adult english academy business. He's a good guy. I also praised TPD for being professional, courteous, even hospitable. The precinct commander let me smoke ciggies in the bathroom, bought me lunch, and they provided water when requested. We even chatted quite a bit.
That evening at the prosecutor's office, on video, I made the same statements and offered complete access to my computer, phone, and bank records to further prove I wasn't a dealer, just a casual user. With a smile, the prosecutor gently scolded me to not smoke again in Taiwan and released me on only $10,000 NT bail. Maybe it was false reassurance.
For 7-8 weeks I waited with this hanging over my head, expecting a court sentencing appearance or order of deportation and a massive fine. I made contingency plans to depart, didn't drink, and tried to keep my spirits up with exercise and the support of a few friends in the know. The letter came 3 weeks ago. My local friend was not available to translate so I took it to the police station. They told me that the piss test was negative ! and the charges dismissed ! I was shocked ! What about possession ? They shrugged. "Lucky you".
Honestly, I was going to retrieve my bail and donate it to charity. I fell in love with Taiwan ! I was so happy ! The break of my life ! I celebrated ! But then, at the court house, they said the case was still being processed. UH OH. Too good to be true. Weeks later, 2 nights ago, the other shoe dropped. I will answer for possession. I will wait again.
Now I am absolutely GUTTED. I feel worse than before the first letter. What am i facing ? Mandatory jail time and deportation ? Possibly the more lenient "rehab" jail program and massive fine if I have any more luck left ? On Tuesday, I have an appointment at city hall's free service for a legal opinion. But for those of you that have read this far, I welcome any comments you may have, no matter how sobering they may be. Thank you.