Legal Issues

Discussion in 'Expat Life' started by Wolfboi, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Among other things.

    Hiya folks :)

    I've been looking at moving to Prague for awhile now and I've been doing some research, chatting with folks online, checking out websites, etc. I've posted some of this on other sites, if any of you are wont to visit other sites you may have seen em, but I'm looking always for fresh, hopefully definitive, answers.

    My first issue is a big one and requires a bit of background. To begin with, I live in the US. 10 years ago I met a girl in a bar. We dated a few times. I hadn't seen her in awhile, when I was suddenly arrested. Turns out the girl was underage (a very mature looking 14). She'd used a fake ID to get into the bar. Long story short, I was given 10 years probation and I'm now a registered sex offender. For those of you who perhaps don't know what that means in practical terms, suffice it to say that my life here is a nightmare. I've lost everything, my business, home, car, money. I have only a few months left of my 10 years of probation, and I've decided to leave the country.

    My first choice for possible destinations is Prague. I want to avoid Western Europe, where I'll receive little better treatment than I do here. I want to attend a TEFL course (I've been looking at the Language House). I was in Germany in the Army (about 20 years ago) and I travelled around Europe a bit, so I'm not concerned about any sort of culture shock.

    So here are my questions. First and foremost, can anyone state with authority what sort of issues my record will cause me? Again, the girl was 14, and the crime was a felony. From what I've heard, it will only become an issue if I try to get legal, but apparently I need to get legal to work in most of the schools there. What are the practical ramifications of lying and filling out the affidavit stating I haven't committed a felony? Is there any way to work my way around it without lying? I'm not just looking for the 'travel abroad' exerience. I want to move someplace and settle down for the rest of my life. I don't plan to return to the US except perhaps for visits to family if I can ever afford such.

    My second concern, as you can well imagine, is one of finances. As stated, I've lost nearly everything and conditions here have made it next to impossible for me to find steady work. I'll sell off the last bit of personal possessions (tv, DVD player, stuff like that, as I would imagine it would be easier to replace there than to ship over and worry about converting to 220v. It's 220 in CR right?).

    I'm used to living a simple life. I work, I go home. I'm not into partying anymore and I don't have expensive taste. About the only thing I spend money on is the occassional movie and books. So can I make enough of a living teaching in Prague to afford to live alone, slowly replace the basics I'd be leaving behind (tv, furniture, etc) afford internet, and still be able to put a little bit aside to eventually retire? Can expats get anything resembling a 401k over there?

    I'd really like to get a clearer idea, if possible, of what I'd be making there. I've heard an average of 18000k a month.... is that right? If so... is anyone able to translate that to a sum I can make sense of? I heard the equivelant of $20 an hour to teach, is that right? Also along this line, I've heard it's a good idea to make sure you bring enough money with you to get you through the first month or two while you get situated. What is that amount of money? I had originally thought I'd need about 5k for the trip. The plane seems to be about $1,000 (any suggestions on how to get cheaper flight?). The TEFL school is approx $1,500. Then I figured about another $2,500 to get me situated and cover me for a month or so. Is that about right or too low?

    It's an iffy sorta proposition, leaving everything behind, going over there for school and hoping you get a job before you starve. Seems it would be better to arrange a job first, so you had that out of the way. Are there places that will hire you with the proviso that you'll be aquiring TEFL certification before your start date? Also, back to my original problem, is it possible to get legal 'before' relocating there? I'd hate to get there and find out I'm screwed in that regard. Also, quickly, if it turns out that it's an insurmountable issue, does anyone know of someplace where it wouldn't be an issue? Russia perhaps? Costa Rica? China?

    Well, this is just growing incredibly long, so I'll go ahead and leave it here for now. I have other questions I'd love to ask, but I can save them for later. I certainly appreciate any help answering these questions. Thanks for your time.
  2. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    ooh, lol. You know what? Last month opliticians wanted to change ago af consent to 14 years here, lol. The airfare should be around $500(from New York) i think. Check out website of czech airlines For living, for paying for the apartment 10 000Kč (around $500) should be ok, you should try to find the apartment yourself. Tefl can provide you the apartment, but the price is much more bigger. As I talked with someone who did tefl in ITC ( they paid around 40 000Kč for the apartment and they wanted to stay in Prague and found much morew cheaper apartment on internet. Btw, I think this school is ok, they all liked it.
  3. brook

    brook Well-Known Member

    For cheaper airfare try AESU:

    It is geared towards students and faculty, but others can benefit from their prices as well. Summer prices will of course be higher but maybe closer to $800 rather than 1,000.

    Before moving your entire life to the Czech Republic (or any country) I recommend reading about this guy's experiences:

    He has written a book about his experiences moving to the Czech Republic and also has information available on his website.

    I know you said that you want to move for good, but I highly recommend having a return plan. You just never know. It doesn't mean that you aren't determined or anything, but having some money saved and a rough idea of how you would return to the States might come in handy should things not go as you planned (which is usually how things go in a foreign country). Also, I would not recommend lying about your past. It could come back to bite you and then you could even be deported. Not fun.
  4. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Thanks for the advice. I'll certainly read what you suggested. I've actually come to the conclusion myself in the last few days that I should go ahead and take advantage of this situation to see a bit more of the world. I'm thinking a year here, a year there, travel around for 5 or so years before I decide on a place to settle.

    Thanks again.
  5. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    its a huge problem, and if you ask my advice, dont move. Your felony conviction is logged with Interpol and you will have to live on the edge and NEVER can you become legal...forget about working, unless it is under the table. Dont mean to bust your bubble, but at your age, this is a poor plan. Just my 2 cents, good luck
  6. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Never? So does anyone know of anywhere I could move where this wouldn't be an issue? I simply can't stay in the US. I have zero future here.
  7. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    Yes, never. A felony conviction is considered grounds for not approving a visa, which you would need to live abroad. Without a visa, you must live the life of a backpacker, going to the border every 90 days, working illegal jobs for low pay, etc....

    There is a statue of limitations on your conviction, isnt there? Personally, I am sure you find it unbearable to live there, but trying living abroad once the authorities find out (and they will) that you have been charged with a crime against a minor...

    My nephew was 21 and took a girl to a hotel in Fla.
    Turns out she was a prositute, aged 16. She tried to extort money from him, when he didnt pay up, she called the cops. He was facing 20 years in jail, got off with probation due to the fact that she was well know for her corrupt mindset.

    A 16 year old in Alabama was charged with child rape after he and his 15 year old girlfriend had sex...our laws are designed to protect, but often fail...

    Maybe try Canada?
  8. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Canada, unfortunately, is just as bad. As is Western Europe and Australia for the most part. I thought by going into Eastern Europe I'd be leaving that behind. In fact, I hadn't been aware that Interpol operated in those countries.

    As far as a statute of limitations, I think that only applies for unreported crimes. As far as being a registered sex offender in the US is concerned, it's for life. There are still a couple of states where registration is only required for 10 years, but that will soon change.

    If it becomes necessary to live the 'backpacker' life, then that's what I'll do. You talk about low wages and having to travel to the border every 3 months, that's still better than no wages (nobody wants to hire a 'child molester') and not being able to leave the county without notifying 2 or 3 different agencies. And those are the least of the issues I have to deal with here. In fact, the 'backpacker' life sounds mighty attractive.
  9. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    A statute of limitations is a limit on how long a prosecutor has between the time a crime is committed to the time a person is officially charged for the crime. Such statutes apply only to certain types of crimes (e.g. murder has no statute of limitations). Perhaps what you're thinking, KJP, is that for certain (perhaps all?) misdemeanor crimes, your criminal record is wiped clean after a certain number of years. Wolfboi says his crime was a felony, and those records stay with you for life (even without the sex offender registry).
  10. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    I wouldnt really know, I have never been convicted of any crime, nevertheless a felony.

    But I am not so sure you are correct: rape is a felony!

    posted December 9, 2005

    The attorney for former Chattanooga Police Sgt. Gerry Davis said all charges should be dismissed against him based on an expired statute of limitations.

    A Nashville jury on Thursday found Davis innocent of rape, but convicted him on attempted rape.

    Attorney Lee Davis said the statute of limitations on rape is eight years, and the incident occurred seven years ago. He said a rape conviction could have been sustained.

    But he said the statute of limitations on attempted rape is four years.

    also note:

    I hesitiate to discuss it further, for I cannot say definatively if he truely was wrongfully convicted. My examples above were intended to highlight that not all sex offenders are pedophiles...the law just doesnt work sometimes.

    I had sex with my girlfriend when I was 16, she about to turn 15. I cant imagine how I would feel, how it would have affected my life, if the cops found much for freedom, eh?
  11. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Again, the statute of limitations only deals with unreported crimes. In the case cited below, the crime went unreported for 7 years. My 'crime' was reported by the parents one month after the last time I saw their daughter. I've already been convicted, and trust me when I tell you it was a felony.

    But all this is beside the point of course. The point is finding a country where I can get 'legal'.
  12. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    I didn't mean to imply that rape was not a felony. Rather I was trying to say that (in general) some misdemeanor crimes are erased from your record after some years. From your information, I gather that there is a statute of limitations on rape and attempted rape; however, as Wolfboi says, this does not apply to him, since the statute had not yet expired when he was tried and convicted.
  13. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    I seem to have misunderstood that post myself. To clear up one point, I wasn't charged with rape.
  14. southie

    southie Member

    You can become legal here. I know an American who has several felony convictions in the States and even one here in the Czech Republic. And he didn’t have any extraordinary problems getting a work visa and trade license. He operates a moderately successful business here and is presently beginning the process of applying for Czech citizenship. Which he will probably get (eventually). (And he has no Czech ancestry.)

    In regards to the 90-day tourist visa, yes, that’s the law on paper, but in real life, it’s not applicable. As a tourist, no local legal body has the right to examine the dates in your passport (unless you commit a crime here). Only the US Embassy and International customs agents have that right. But more to the point, it’s a law that nobody wants to enforce because it’s bad for business. Let’s use a little logic. A foreigner with money helps the local economy. Why would the CZ gov’t want tourists to leave? In real life, as long as you have money to pay your bills, you can stay here as long as you like.

    Working with a tourist visa (current or expired) is a little different. But only a little. You have to get caught “red-handed” in the act of working illegally. I would fear getting hit by lightning more than getting caught in the act of working illegally in the CR.

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans working illegally in the CR.

    And off the books/illegal jobs are not necessarily low paying. Some of them can actually pay middle-class wages. I know this from first hand experience.

    When becoming legal here, one thing I found interesting is that none of the officials were interested in the veracity of my paperwork. They were only concerned that the paperwork was filled out correctly. Some times, the officials actually told me to lie. Nothing very significant; one example, on the visa application, you’re supposed to list your point of entry. I originally wrote down the name of a border train station whose name I no longer remember. The Czech officials at the consulate told me, “no, write Ruzyne, you have to write Ruzyne.” Which is the name of the airport in Prague. I tried to explain that I had never been to Ruzyne. I entered the country by train. It didn’t matter. I had to write Ruzyne.

    You won’t really know what the CR is like until you come here.
  15. Wolfboi

    Wolfboi Member

    Thanks a lot, Southie. First glimmer of hope I've had in a month.
  16. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    That is bad information, sorry. The Czech Police have EVERY right to ask for your passport while walking down the street. I dont carry mine, and have never had a problem showing just my drivers license. AS far as your friend from the USA with felony convictions, he lied. He either lied to you, or to the embassey when he filled out the affidavid stating that he was never convicted of a crime. Short of that, he is not legal.

    For the few hundred Americans that live here, life is going to get tougher also:

    Svoboda chce zpřísnit kontrolu turistů z USA ... z-usa.html

    This in all liklihood, is in retaliation for our resistence to lift the Czech visa requirement, but whatever, they are starting to look for those here illegally, and while the odds are low that you would be caught working illegally, if it does happen, you best know someone at the border where you will end up. Two buses leave Prague daily for the border with illegals, mostly Ukrainians....
  17. southie

    southie Member

    The Czech Police THINK they have that right, but they don’t. Welcome to the EU! I’m too lazy to look up the Euro version of the law, but the American one goes something like this: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. It’s called the 4th Amendment. And there is an EU version of it.

    I’ve been asked for my passport on the street by Czech police officers, and I just walk away. There is nothing legally they can do.

    Also, when filing visa paperwork, you don’t do it at the embassy, you do it at the consulate.
  18. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    its not a search, nor a seizure! It is a form of identification, and they have every legal right to ask anyone for identification. You are suppose to carry your passport, but it is not punishable if you dont have it (although I believe it can be, it is not enforced).

    I have a hard time with the "you just walk away"...possible this may have occurred once, but try that one numerous occasions and you will see otherwise. If they cant speak English, they may hesitate to stop you further, but common sense must prevail.

    In order to gain a visa, you must prove that you have not been charged with crimes within your home country(on top of numerous other docs that must be submitted), but this too is only obtainable at the US embassey (if already in the CR). It is an affidavid stating that you claim no crimes, it is not looked into, you must sign it in good faith. You get the visa at consulates, the affidavid from the embassey.

    Are you American?
  19. wer

    wer Well-Known Member


    There is'nt Euro version of this law.

    But you're right Czech police has no right to check your identity unless having legal reason.

    This is relevant paragraph in Police law:

  20. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    your right:prokázání totožnosti

    You will be held for up to 48 hours if you cannot prove your identity.

    For legal reasons can be any reason...comon sense prevails. I have asked for my passport while walking down Vaclavak, about 10 times in 6 years...debate it with them while you try to tell them you will not, but you will debate it from a holding cell....

    Now back to the visa for Americans issues, todays looks like the 90 days for free might be repelled. Maybe "just walking away" is annoying them?

Share This Page