The level of corruption in Mexico is a common question.
I’m not going to say that all policemen in Mexico are really dirty but the general rule unfortunately in this country is that, if you are stopped for a traffic violation, you can give them a “tip” to settle the ticket. This is public knowledge, so everybody knows about it.
This is beginning to change in Mexico. The Mexicans from my generation are trying to stop this corruption. We’re really against it.
It is one thing to a person money to change the direction of a certain process or a certain procedure. Giving a “paralegal fee” means giving a tip to a government official to skip a process or accelerate a process. While “corruption” means deleting a fine, a paralegal fee could mean giving a tip to avoid having a fine. So in this connection and making this clarification we have in Mexico corruption and we have the payment of the tips, which is in theory a little different.
The police in Mexico will not stop you if you have not broken the law in order to get money out of you. There are a lot of police who do this in other countries, but it’s very, very strange that this happens in Mexico. Usually the general rule is that when you commit certain violation, when you’re driving or when you’re doing something else, and you’re caught, then you have the opportunity to get out of the situation by means of paying the tip, but this is a usual practice. However, it is very rare that a police officer will make something up like saying that you were speeding, when you were not.
When you’re operating a business, you’re going to have to have the proper licenses. If one of the licenses is missing, then of course, the inspectors will go to your business and try to shut your business down, or they will ask for a tip, but they would never create anything where they cheat on something just to create a problem. No; they are very, very eager to find a business that is lacking a permit or lacking a license or lacking something and when they find that, they will visit you. But no, they will never create something just to put some pressure on you.
(Sign for policeman, Mexico, pictured.)