Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

If you are aware that a U.S. citizen is under arrest in Honduras, please ask the authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. The U.S. Embassy can work to help protect the person and ensure fair treatment and they will also visit the prisoner; provide information about the local legal process, as well as a list of local attorneys; and notify family and friends.

It is important for all U.S. citizens arrested in Honduras to be aware that Honduran legal procedures and traditions differ greatly from those to which most Americans are accustomed.

Judicial procedures are not always clear or easily understood by foreigners, and significant delays during the investigation and trial dates are common. U.S. citizens, as well as Hondurans, are often held in jail for months, and sometime years, while awaiting trial.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.

The Embassy cannot advocate the merits of a citizen’s case, secure the citizen’s release, or act as legal counsel.

The U.S. Embassy will make every effort to ensure that all American citizens are treated equitably according to the laws of Honduras and international humanitarian standards.

The Embassy must emphasize that American citizens -whether tourists, business people or residents of Honduras- are guests in a sovereign country and are subject to the laws of Honduras. American citizens should also be aware that Due Process and other Constitutional guarantees that they are accustomed to in the United States, for the most part, do not exist here.

Under the Vienna Convention and the Bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights of 1928, the Honduran government has the obligation to notify the American Embassy of an American citizen’s arrest. Following notification, an American Consular officer will visit the arrested citizen as soon as possible. A list of local attorneys will be provided and will gladly notify the next-of-kin of the arrest if the citizen desires. A local attorney will be able to provide specific information about legal options and possible strategies to address a particular situation.

The U.S. Embassy cannot:

  • Get U.S. Citizens out of jail overseas
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.S. citizens overseas

The U.S. Embassy can monitor your case, but we cannot provide legal representation, defend you in court, or provide you with legal guidance.

As such, you should consider hiring a local attorney for appropriate guidance. Legal procedures in Honduras differ significantly from those in the United States.

While the Embassy cannot recommend specific law firms or lawyers, we provide you a list of attorneys (PDF 114 KB) who have expressed interest in representing U.S. citizens.