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Drugs and customs

Legal questions

Rossminster
post 5.Mar.2012, 07:53 PM
Post #1
Joined: 11.May.2011

Returning to Sweden I somehow attracted the attention of a sniffer dog as I exited the plane and was thoroughly searched. (They found nothing because, of course, I was not carrying drugs!) But a couple of legal questions occurred to me about the procedure. Perhaps someone with a legal knowledge might answer me.

1. During the walk to the search area, and during the search I was questioned repeatedly about my (non-existent) "drug habits" - do I smoke marijuana, etc. I was not cautioned, i.e. warned that what I might say could be used as evidence. What would be the legal status of any reply I gave?
2. I was asked if I would object to a urine test. (I happen to think it is grossly intrusive on the basis of a dog sniffing my trousers, but I said no, I would not object. As it turned out, I was not tested.) Here's the hypothetical: if I had consumed illegal drugs and traces had been present in my urine, what would be my legal position, given that, presumably, the drug consumption had not happened in Sweden but before I got on the plane?
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johnjohn
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:08 PM
Post #2
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

Sweden has a zero tolerance drug policy. If you are under the influence of a drug, i.e. have a detectable amount in your system it is a crime. If you say you smoked some pot you testified to a police officer you committed a crime. It is like saying I stole from someones house for example. With this they can request you to provide samples for analysis. However the aim is to stop your drug use. If found guilt of simple possession of small quantities of drugs or under the influence you can be fined and made to go into a drug rehabilitation program. The next level, simple possession over 50 grams is mandatory jail time. The third degree, as in trafficking or producing drugs is a very lengthy mandatory jail sentence often longer in duration than rape or murder. It is serious as a heart attack here. Be forewarned. Go to Wikipedia and it will list the Swedish drug laws. Now relax and have a spliff. .
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wendist
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:26 PM
Post #3
Joined: 14.Feb.2010

QUOTE (Rossminster @ 5.Mar.2012, 06:53 PM) *
1. During the walk to the search area, and during the search I was questioned repeatedly about my (non-existent) "drug habits" - do I smoke marijuana, etc. I was n ... (show full quote)


AFAIK swedish police do not have to caution you when questioning you. Anything you say in conversation with a police or customs officer may be used against you.

Does this kind of legislation exist anywhere outside of the UK/US?
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Streja
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:29 PM
Post #4
Joined: 10.Jul.2006

Yes it does. The UK/US is not the world or the only democratic country in the world.
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johnjohn
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:30 PM
Post #5
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

The reason they asked about your drug habits was to give them a probable cause to test and search you. If you had said yes I smoke on occasion that is enough to detain you for tests and a most friendly and intimate search.
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johnjohn
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:33 PM
Post #6
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

QUOTE (Streja @ 5.Mar.2012, 08:29 PM) *
Yes it does. The UK/US is not the world or the only democratic country in the world.

Yes but the U.S. has the best democracy that money can buy. wink.gif
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Streja
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:37 PM
Post #7
Joined: 10.Jul.2006

smile.gif

Anyway, this is the info given by US gov.:

QUOTE
Special Warning About Drug Offenses Abroad

Every year, several hundred Americans are arrested abroad on drug charges. Persons caught with illegal drugs in a foreign country are subject to the drug laws of that country, not those of the U.S.; as always, ignorance of the law is no excuse. In many countries, the burden of proof is on the accused to show that he or she is innocent of the charges.

Some Americans take advantage of an offer of an all-expenses-paid vacation abroad in exchange for carrying a small package in the luggage. When, to their surprise, they are caught, the fact that they did not know that there were drugs in that package will not reduce the charges against them.

Every aspect of a drug arrest abroad can be different from U.S. practice. For instance:

* few countries provide a jury trial
* many countries do not permit pre-trial release on bail
* pre-trial detention, often in solitary confinement, can last several months
* prisons may lack even minimal comforts, such as beds, toilets, and washbasins
* diets are often inadequate and require supplements from relatives and friends
* officials may not speak English
* physical abuse, confiscation of property, degrading treatment and extortion are possible.
* persons convicted may face sentences ranging from fines and jail time, to years of hard labor, and even the death penalty
* penalties for drug possession and for drug trafficking are often the same abroad, so possession of one ounce of marijuana could result in years in a foreign jail

As with any arrest of a U.S. citizen abroad, consular officers perform a variety of services (see Arrests Abroad, above). For more information about arrests abroad, see http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emerge...ncies_1199.html.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html#arrest
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byke
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:54 PM
Post #8
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

Imagine if you had similar situations in a real democratic country.

UK Customs officer has a casual conversation with a person who has been abroad and refuses to divulge that any information given would be taken down and used in evidence.

Customs officer : I see you have been to Sweden ... I have always wanted to go there as I have seen it on top gear and some of the roads look amazing.

Traveller : yeah it's great over there, there's some really nice cars also.

Customs officer : oh right, did you get to test any of them out?

Traveller : Nah, just the rental from Avis HAHAHAHA ...

Customs officer : don't tell me, you couldn't switch the bloody lights off HAHAHAHA ...

Traveller : exactly (chuckles) ... Although the good thing is you are allowed legally to drive / text and talk on your mobile phone at the same time in Sweden.

Customs officer : yeah really, did you try it wink.gif

Traveller : yeah I couldn't help myself ... When in Rome ...

Customs officer : right, your nicked anything said from now on will be taken down and could be used in a criminal court. Your phone will be confiscated, and records obtained to show you committed what we class as a criminal offence in the UK, while you were abroad.
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Rossminster
post 5.Mar.2012, 08:54 PM
Post #9
Joined: 11.May.2011

Interesting. So even entering the country with traces of, say, marijuana in one's urine is an offence? Even if the offence was committed outside of Sweden? Blimey. Why don't they just automatically test every under-30 returning from Amsterdam? They'd have a field-day!
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corduroykid
post 5.Mar.2012, 09:03 PM
Post #10
Location: Uppsala
Joined: 5.Jul.2011

QUOTE (byke @ 5.Mar.2012, 08:54 PM) *
Imagine if you had similar situations in a real democratic country.Customs officer has a casual conversation with a person who has been abroad and refuses to divulge that any ... (show full quote)

Why would UK law (or any other country's law for that matter) apply in Sweden? Surely if you are following the laws of the country you are in that is enough. Why must you also follow the laws of your home country when abroad? And what if you have dual citizenship?
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wendist
post 5.Mar.2012, 09:12 PM
Post #11
Joined: 14.Feb.2010

QUOTE (Streja @ 5.Mar.2012, 07:29 PM) *
Yes it does. The UK/US is not the world or the only democratic country in the world.


Can you name any country that has this kind of legislation? I am genuinely interested because i have never heard of it outside the UK/Commonwealth and the US.
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johnjohn
post 5.Mar.2012, 09:12 PM
Post #12
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

The police have a very heavy presence from the second the door opens on that Amsterdam flight as well as for example on the trains from Copenhagen. Again their aim is not specially the casual user but anyone who might be trafficking drugs. They know of the countless users who enter on every flight but they will take a bust where ever and whenever they can. When I first came to Sweden it was relativity relaxed. There is little distinction now between drug types, hard or soft. I read a recent case where a man in his mid sixties was given 3 years in jail for growing 3 or 4 plants. They went easy on him due to his age.
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johnjohn
post 5.Mar.2012, 09:18 PM
Post #13
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

QUOTE (corduroykid @ 5.Mar.2012, 09:03 PM) *
Why would UK law (or any other country's law for that matter) apply in Sweden? Surely if you are following the laws of the country you are in that is enough. Why must you ... (show full quote)

You must also follow the laws not only in the country you are in but your home country too. For example, sex with a 14 year old might be very fine and dandy in a foreign country. A U.S citizen can be charged and convicted of statutory rape and child molestation for this offense upon return. It does happen.
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byke
post 5.Mar.2012, 09:31 PM
Post #14
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

http://www.thelocal.se/38630/20120121/

Makes you really question the legitimacy of the swedish judicial system.
Fair trail?

Or guilt by simply labelling.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 5.Mar.2012, 11:16 PM
Post #15
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (byke @ 5.Mar.2012, 09:54 PM) *
Imagine if you had similar situations in a real democratic country.UK Customs officer has a casual conversation with a person who has been abroad and refuses to divulge that a ... (show full quote)

Does not work like that though. In order to be convicted of a crime in Sweden that was committed abroad, it must be illegal both in Sweden and abroad. Cannabis use is not illegal in many countries, such as Denmark or The Netherlands, and you can not be convicted in Sweden if you you were using drugs in those countries, no matter what a urine test shows.
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