Busted by blue for green


#1

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.


#2

9 grams? I heard of people who got off the hook with a couple of months in rehab(read prison), however 9 grams might be where they lock you up for some time and then kick you out of the country.

I think you can consider deportation a given. If lucky - very lucky - they will kick you out with no real jail time.


#3

I know people who have done jail time for much less than 9 grams.

If convicted, you will certainly do at least 3 months and be deported if you are on only an ARC. :2cents:


#4

do you think i am flagged at airport immigration ?


#5

If the cops bailed you and didn’t take your passport, you can leave Taiwan. You are expected to return to answer any summons, though!

They generally don’t take your passport for minor offenses (ones that are punishable by a fine and/or detention of less than a month) and you are free to come and go.

You are probably being watched closely. You could face re-arrest, additional charges, and changed bail conditions for any real or imagined crimes they manage to pin on you.

So if you are going to go - go NOW while you can. It’s not gonna get any easier. :2cents:


#6

thank you troubled cat. yes to both, which were pleasant surprises , frankly . i mentioned that the light bail may have been a false reassurance. perhaps i should not take anything for granted. if you don’t mind, what’s your opinion about the absence of conditions for my release ? maybe the prosecutor was opening the door for me.


#7

The OP should consult a lawyer as soon as possible, and not rely on any advice regarding your situation given by strangers on an internet forum.


#8

of course, just looking for ideas and experiences. have an appointment with counsel on tuesday. thanks gingerman.


#9

The police have bail guidelines and they just follow the rules. Depends on the seriousness of the offence(s) and a bunch of other factors, like if you a fixed residence or not.

Many people - Taiwanese and foreigners - face minor charges but still need to get on with their lives in the meantime, and that includes being free to travel internationally.

My guess is that if you plead guilty, you will have to pay a fine and then get the option of either leaving Taiwan, or going to rehab.

If you go to rehab, you lose your job and ARC anyway, and your criminal record will likely preclude you getting a new ARC.

So the end result plays out the same. You’re on a one-way ticket out of here in the not so distant future.


#10

Is this you, by any chance?

english.tcpd.taipei.gov.tw/ct.as … &mp=108002


#11

wow , yeh . except for the careful search, burning weed at 830am on a wednesday morning, and other embellishments. they knew to go straight to the fridge and drawer. and it portrays me as burning on the street , for crying out loud. they certainly make the case seem the result of good 'ol fashion police work. oh well.

anyway, thx for taking the time for your comments. much appreciated.


#12

yeh, totally embellished


#13

:thumbsup: .


#14

Did you end it with the grass - snitch, that pissed her off and made her tip off the police?


#15

you’ve got nothing to lose to get her piss-tested as well, just after you leave Taiwan. Anonymously or not.


#16

Double this. Don’t listen to anyone here regarding actual tactics and consequences. Talk to a lawyer, someone you KNOW to be a good one.


#17

an update for you forumosans who cared to post and are curious to know. 1 month ago, without legal representation in a 10 minute appearance, i pleaded guilty and had a full page written statement entered into the record. i received the court sentence letter early last week and my taiwanese friend was uncertain of its exact meaning. so, i visited the prosecutor’s office today, spoke with 3 court officers and here it is. 2 months jail or 60,000 fine - BOTH SUSPENDED ! 42 hours community service teaching english somewhere to be determined and 2 years probation. 2 years without another violation will wipe my record clean.

however, as my ARC expires mid-april, the court officers were unsure of my status with immigration. they agreed that i should simply visit them with the court papers and see what they say. if there’s no chance for renewal, i guess it’s better to find out now and just inform my boss that i’m leaving taiwan. the alternative is go through the application motions and receive a “surprise” rejection. that would be a complete waste of time , money, and cause a major inconvenience to the company.

so, either way, this miserable 5 month drama is drawing to a favorable close. i will probably visit immigration on monday. any thoughts or predictions ??


#18

Nice, no jail time at least.


#19

[quote=“troubledcat”]Is this you, by any chance?

english.tcpd.taipei.gov.tw/ct.as … &mp=108002[/quote]
Sometimes it looks like nothing important happened in Taiwan, so they have to talk about noodles or things like that in the news…


#20

Immigration would normally revoke the right to return, no?

In general, a mere criminal case raised against you is enough to have ARC extensions for re-entries revoked, is it not so?

I was going through a divorce, and there the accusations throw against me would under today’s rules have been enough for them to be able to ask me to leave.