My unfortunate experience in a Serbian jail and court…

08 Mar

I never claimed to be a perfect person…:) …

The police in your home country can be a terrifying experience. Now imagine you are in a country that you have had a recent war with and you get confronted by some BIG, MEAN looking Serbian cops!!! If any of you have recently watched the propaganda filled movie “Land of Blood and Honey” you would expect the Serbian cops to throw you down, break your fingers, kick you in the face and shoot you in the head… I have always been a good boy and have had very few run-ins with the police… with the exception of about 20 driving tickets! 🙂 I am not a good or a responsible driver and will never claim to be. Out of every country I have traveled to I have never had to deal with the police… UNTIL NOW……..

A few weeks ago… a friend called me and invited me to hit the Lion Pub here in Zrenjanin for a few beers.. It was a boring, snowy Sunday night and I quickly agreed… The Lion Pub is not far from my house and they serve an 8% red beer that is only 120 dinars…. We sat down and drank our fair share…. It hit me pretty hard because I usually drink 5% beers. We left the bar pretty late and there were police at the corner of the street.. They asked to see our I.D and I refused because I had done nothing wrong and was walking home. They didn’t speak English well and walked up to me asking me for “passport and police registration card” .. I again said “NO, I didn’t do anything wrong.” It pays to know the laws in a country before confronting the police. ahahahha.. They turned me around, handcuffed me and stuck me in the back of the cop car. They took me to the police station in downtown Zrenjanin. I was there for the night and early on Monday morning they came into my cell with an officer that spoke English and said “we must see your passport. we will take you to get it”  I was very nervous because as an American you are allowed 90 days in Serbia before you must exit and return. I had forgotten about it and let my 90 day visa expire…. I told the officer that spoke English about my issue.. He said “you will have to go to court and see the judge” We drive to my apartment and get my passport and police registration card…. They look it over and take me to the courthouse… They ask me ” how much cash do you have on you?…. because the judge will fine you and you must stay in jail until you pay.” I only had 150E in my wallet and they said it will probably be enough… I nervously waited my turn… FINALLY! He sends his assist out to get us… We walk into the room . There are three cops, one judge, translator and clerk… The judge is VERY kind and respectful! He had heard of me and listened to my excuses for letting my visa expire and for not showing the cops my I.D.. Back in my state of Illinois… you are not required to show a cop your I.D unless you do something wrong… I told him my sister worked for the Illinois State Police and I do respect the police. I told him that my sister would slap me for my stupidity. He thought it was funny.  We sat in the chambers for around 2 hours while they typed up my sentence, punishment and fine totals. He said it would be 310E and I must leave Serbia in 7 days and return with a fresh stamp and registration card to avoid deportation and a suspension from entering Serbia for 5 years… I quickly agree to fine and he gives me till the following Monday to pay the rest of the fine. WHEWWWWWWW!!!!!

The police in other countries have always been a HUGE fear of mine. Every travel guide, government website, personal blogs and many movies show nothing but corrupt cops and horrible treatment and disgusting jail conditions. I can say that the Zrenjanin police were nothing but extreme professionals! They treated a rude foreigner with nothing but respect and decency! The judge was also one of the most professional, fair and friendly judges I have have ever encountered!! I went back to the police station and court to apologize a few days later for my stupidity!!! I have learned a lesson and will never let my visa expire nor refuse to show my passport! 🙂

JA SAM GLUP!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Through my eyes


Tags: , , ,

29 responses to “My unfortunate experience in a Serbian jail and court…

  1. SnowBunny

    March 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    You are not stupid, just dumb and very funny…….. Hahahahhaha.

    • cather76

      March 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      AHAHAHAHAHAH.. love ya.. thanks for your honesty!!

  2. Justanotherguy

    March 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    It could happen to anybody, especially if they’re drunk. 🙂 It even happened to me the first time cops asked me for my I.D. even though I am Serbian citizen 🙂

    So – enjoy in beautifull city of Zrenjanin. And make sure to show your IDs next time 😉

    • cather76

      March 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      ahahahahahah… glad i am not the only one.. hahha.. thanks for your funny comment… have a great one..

  3. AnAngel´sHeart

    March 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    hm wait he fined you with 310 euros? what is it for?

    • charles cather

      March 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      hahaha.. all i know is 1000 dinars was court costs… the paperwork is in cyrillic…

  4. AnAngel´sHeart

    March 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    am puzzled

  5. Dalibor T.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Lol ! U r lucky this didn’t happen in the nineties! Back then they would have beaten you black and blue just as you finnish saying :NO.
    After that they would ask you again to show your ID and after you would do so, they would slap you across the face just for good meassure.
    But hey… You learn something new every day!

    Take care Charles and be a good boy. 🙂

    • charles cather

      March 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      ahahahha.. thanks Dalibor.. i have heard that!!! hahahahaha… Thank God its 2012!!! It will never happen again.. i have my i.d in my pocket!!!! hahaha

  6. Kiki

    March 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Man.. I told you a long time ago to watch out about that. That you’d need all of that valid 24/7. You still got lucky. Don’t push it next time. Visas are the only way to go. No other way since technically you’re only allowed 90 days every 180 days without a visa.

    • charles cather

      March 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      I know, Kiki… you did… I always go about things the hard way… I know of 3 other Americans that are here doing the same thing I was… I have warned them..;)

      • Kiki

        March 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        I have told everyone from the beginning – that just because others get away with doesn’t mean you will. It’s always better to be safe (aka legal) than sorry…

      • cather76

        March 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        i remember one of our first conversations… you did tell me to do it.. thanks for nothing.:) hahha

      • Kiki

        March 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        One of these days people might actually start listening to the advice I give when it comes to legalities here in Serbia… I’ve warned too many now that still get in trouble. Make sure you get a visa this time if not it can, and more than likely will, get uglier if you’re caught again without proper documentation. The leaving every 90 days does not work anymore. They can and will deport you if they feel the need.

  7. БелиОраоСрбија

    March 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    So for you its ok to violate the laws of the country your staying in? I think that this is sending the wrong message that anyone who wants to break the law here in Serbia can do that. And like dalibor said your lucky this did not happen in the 90`s..
    As a guest in this country you should provide your ID when asked for it, if a Serb got caught in the US doing the same thing you did/do they would be thrown in jail and deported and refused entry in the the US for 10 years.
    Thats the law in the USA, you got lucky.

    • Dario

      March 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Ajde bre ohladi malo. It’s not like he killed someone, who hasnt broke one law or another.

      Not showing ID, come on.

      • charles cather

        March 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

        thanks man.. this guy is always on me… i wish i could get rid of him.. he is a huge critic of me…

    • charles cather

      March 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      i have yet to see a positive comment from you.. i am all for negative comments and criticism but I am tired of yours…. its not a matter of being arrogant and thinking i am better than anyone.. i just didn’t know it was required… create your own blog and make it PERFECT like you are… i am not perfect…

      • Dario

        March 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

        Charles, I bet he is a Serb who lives abroad and likes to teach people how to be a great Serb, there are alot of those, biggest patriots and not even living in their own country, i bet you know more about Serbia than he does.

      • cather76

        March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        ahah.. its funny you mentioned that.. my friends in Zrenjanin and I were discussing some of them yesterday.. they have the same view as you do.. ahhahha.. thanks Dario.. you are a nice guy

    • Zeljko

      February 8, 2013 at 3:56 am

      Ne lupetaj gluposti, momak je vise nego normalan a mi sredili sve probleme i kriminalce jedino ostala njegova nevazeca viza…… It’s a not big deal that you breach a visa low, mainly birocracy matter. Cheers and come back again. Zeljko

  8. downthelines

    March 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I would not mess with Easyern European Police! I drove through Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and believe me Bulgarians are the creepiest and most trouble seeking ones…Serbians were surprisingly kind and asked no money, contrary to croatians who ask for “bakshish”…yep, just don’t cross the border towards Sofia! By the way vote to my polls pls!

  9. Justanotherguy

    March 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    @Dario Exactly.

    @БелиОраоСрбија Come on, give guy a break. He did that because he wasn’t familiar with our laws. Can you promise that it couldn’t happen to you if you were visiting, for example, Japan or Brazil?

    It’s an honest mistake. He paid 310e of fine, and he knows what to do next time. As i said before, it happened to me the first time cops asked me for my ID, and I am born here. It could happen to anybody.

    This isn’t a topic worth of arguing.

    Browse this blog, it’s full of great and interesting stories of how an American guy sees our country. I could agree in almost 95% of things that he wrote. I wish more of us (serbs) were like this guy.

    Greetings to Charles

    • charles cather

      March 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      thanks a lot… this guy comments negatively towards everything I do… i have never claimed to be perfect or know everything about this country and its customs… thanks for understanding… Respect to ya!!!

      • Avram

        March 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Beli orao is just jelly 😀

  10. AnAngel´sHeart

    March 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Don´t pay attention to those like this white-eagle-person here -.- Serbia is full of those suckers who don´t have probably anything else to do than sit all day long and spit upon others! They are the ones who send the ugly picture of Serbia out to the world!

    • cather76

      March 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      thanks sweetie… i agree… he is a very angry man..

      • Marsi

        October 5, 2016 at 2:03 am

        Samo napred i ne obracaj paznju na ovakve slucajeve,ti si ok covek.
        Imas podrsku iz Krusevca.

  11. Marsi

    October 5, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Podrzavamo tvoj rad,svaka cast za iskrenost i objektivnost u realnom zivotu.
    Ti si dobar covek,iako si Amerikanac 🙂
    Pozdrav iz Krusevca


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