What to Do if You are Stopped by the Police

This information came from a meeting with Yucatan and Progreso officials in February, 2018, and is current as of November 2018.

I:  The Traffic Stop

A traffic stop in Yucatan should be about the same as it is Up North, with a few unique twists we describe on this page.  You may be stopped because the police officer saw you commit an infraction, or they may be looking for someone else in a similar vehicle.

In a typical stop, you will be pulled over and asked for identification, and told what (if anything) you did wrong.  In the latter case, the officer should write you a ticket, give it and your ID back to you, and might ask you for additional documents.  They may also ask you to step out of the car so they can inspect the interior.  One thing  that is different from up north is that the officer may take your drivers license, and/or take one of your license plates off of your vehicle, to be returned to you when you report to pay the fine or contest the ticket.  They must note this on the ticket; keep this in the car as it substitutes for the plate and license.

(An alcohol-related stop will be more involved; as is often the case in the US and Canada.)

Most police officers are not bilingual.  If you do not understand or speak Spanish, use Google Translate (you can download the dictionary to your phone ahead of time so it does not have to use data to work) or call a bilingual friend.  But you may not need Spanish at all; the officer should just write you a ticket, possibly take your plate and/or license, and send you on your way.

According to Mexican federal law, a police officer must NEVER ask for or accept money, for anything.  If the officer appears to be trying to get money from you, politely say you wish to have a ticket.  (“Quiero el boleto, por favor.”)  Photograph or write down their name and badge number and the big 4-digit number on the side and back of their vehicle.  (Get more details in the Q&A section below.)

II.  Paying the Fine or Contesting the Ticket

If you receive a ticket from the State Police, it will take five days before the ticket will be entered into the system so you can pay the ticket online. This only works if the State Police have not taken your license plate or your driver’s license.
To pay a ticket online, go to https://www.multasdetransito.com.mx/infracciones/yucatan
You can also pay at the offices called USE which you can find in the malls in Merida.  Locate the nearest one at http://aafy.yucatan.gob.mx/centros.php
If the officer took your plate or license, then you must visit the appropriate office in Progreso or Merida to pay or contest the ticket and retrieve your items.  The addresses are at the bottom of this page.

III.  Questions and Answers

Do I have to have a Yucatan driver’s license?  No, a valid driver’s license from any Mexican or foreign jurisdiction is sufficient.

When can the officer take my license or plate?  It depends on which police agency is involved:

If you receive a ticket from a Yucatan State Police officer, and you have current Yucatan plates AND a current Yucatan driver’s license, then they should not take them from you.  But if either license or plates are from any other jurisdiction, they have that right.

If the ticket is from the Progreso Municipal Police, then they have the right to seize the plate and/or license, regardless of where they were issued.

If they take my license or plate, how do I get them back?

If you received a ticket from the Progreso Municipal Police, you should be able to pay your ticket within four hours of receiving it at the office listed at the bottom of this page.  For a ticket received from a State Police officer, it will be ready for payment within 24-hours if you go to the office in Merida, or within 5 days if you wish to pay online.

If you are pulled over by an officer for failing to have a plate on your car, show him/her your ticket and explain you are driving to the office to pay your fine. When you pay your fine, you will immediately receive your plate or license.

What should you do if a police officer suggests it might easier to “pay the fine now” to avoid the hassle of paying the ticket?  And what if you, as the motorist, offer to “pay the fine now” to avoid the hassle of paying the ticket at a later time? 

It is against the law for a police officer to handle money, under any circumstances. It is also against the law for anyone to offer money to police officers. If a police officer suggests that you pay the fine directly to him/her, politely refuse, and tell them that you want the ticket.  Use your cell phone to take their photo, including the name on the shirt, and also a photo of the patrol car that shows the large four numbers on the sides. Or write down the numbers of the patrol car.

You are permitted to take photos of the police and their patrol cars. Send the information identifying the police officer who requested money along with the date, time and location of the incident to team@beachareanews.com and we will forward the information to the appropriate officials. Or you can send this information directly to the Yucatan security officials identified at the bottom of this page.

While it might be tempting to avoid the hassle of going to Progreso or Merida to pay a traffic ticket, offering to “pay the fine now” only perpetuates a system that encourages officers to demand payment directly, rather than following the law.  If fewer motorists offer to pay the police directly, and instead reported offending officers to their supervisors, it will not only help the department remove “bad apples”, it will encourage remaining officers to follow the law.  Police officers in Yucatan have had their employment terminated because they were caught demanding payment from motorists directly.

IV.  Locations to Pay or Appeal a Traffic Ticket

To pay or appeal a ticket given by a Municipal Police officer:
Policía Municipal Progreso
Calle 37 por 14 y 16, Fraccionamiento Héctor Victoria, Puerto Progreso, Yucatán.

To pay or appeal ticket given by a Yucatan State Police officer:
Centro de Servicios de Yucatán.
C. 20 #284 x 3C y 49 diagonal, Xcumpich, Mérida, Yucatán, C.P. 97119
Tel.: 930-32-3000 extensión 40502, 40503, 40504.
Mon-Fri from 08:00 till 19:30 & Saturday from de 08:00 till 17:30


Comandante Jorge Albert Camargo, Chief Operating Officer of the Integrated Centers
for the Yucatan State Government, Coast Area. He reports to the Security Secretary (Cmdt. Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda) who in turn reports to the Governor.
Cell phone: (999) 351 4055

Comandante Luis Varguez Chacom – Head of the state police officers who patrol the beach area.  He  reports to Cmdt. Albert Camargo.
Cell phone: (999) 129 5768