We’ve all heard the stories of the Tijuana police. And while many of them are corrupt in Mexico, there are quite a few that are trying to follow the law. We were unlucky enough to get a ticket, from some very honest police officers, who did not default to the normal road-side bribery tactic.

Instead they just gave us a ticket and fined us for parking on the wrong side of the street.

Many, many people drive cars in Tijuana with San Diego plates. It’s not difficult, as long as your car is registered and plates are up to date.

If you get a ticket from a Tijuana police officer and your car has San Diego plates, you may fall into a loophole. A lucky loophole that allows you to get away (at least temporarily) without paying your fine. At the moment, they have no efficient way of tracking you with San Diego plates. So, as you can imagine, most people ignore the ticket and move on.


We decided a long time ago to teach our boys to be accountable for the community, so let’s see where this story goes.

In fact, we did break the law that beautiful summer day, by parking on the wrong side of the street. So we talked it over.

Let’s do the right thing.

Take responsibility.

Be accountable for our actions.


The next day while I was at work, my husband decided to visit the local judge to pay the fine.

We’ll be out within an hour he explained, the office being very close to us, maybe 5 minutes away in Playas.

Day 1: Husband arrives with three toddlers in tow, and asks the kind receptionist how to pay the fine. Kind receptionist tells us we are out of luck for the day, the judge is out of the office.

Day 2: Husband arrives three toddlers in tow, and inquires with the kind receptionist if the judge is in today. He’s told to take a seat in the waiting area and wait for the judge. Judge never appears… after 2 hours. They opt to return another day.

Day 3: Husband arrives three toddlers in tow, and alerts the kind receptionist they are ready to pay the fine, is the judge available? Kind receptionist recognizes the same monkeys pulling on his arms, informs him to have a seat and the judge will call you when ready. An hour later the judge calls them into her office

Judge: What can I do for you today (in Spanish of course)

Dear Husband: We’d like to pay the fine on this ticket.

Judge: Why? Nobody with California plates actually PAYS the tickets.

Dear Husband: Well, we broke the law by parking on the wrong side of the street. We think we should pay the ticket as a responsible citizen. It’s the honest thing to do.

Judge: Oh my! That is impressive that you guys are so honest. I really wish there were more people like you in our community. How about this. You give me $20 and we’ll just call it even, okay?

Lesson learned: I’d rather pay off the officers on the side of the road, than handle a traffic ticket in office. However, in an effort to encourage better pay for the policia in Mexico and less corruption, it would be even better to pay your tickets from the United States, by mail.

So many people are worried about cops asking for cash on the side of the road – I just call it convenience.

Leave a Reply