Today my husband could go to jail

One of the dangers of living in a foreign country is that, because of bureaucracy, things can get kind of hairy sometimes. You know, for example, the powers-that-be might have changed the rules on what kind of international driver’s licenses are accepted and you wouldn’t know it until you were stopped and charged with driving without a valid license. They don’t exactly publicize these types of things very well.

So, it is true…my husband could go to jail today, because just a few weeks ago, in an accident that was not his fault, he was charged with driving without a valid license. For the past eight years we’ve used the AAA international driver’s license. We’ve been stopped at checkpoints. We’ve registered our cars and performed all DMV related activities using these driver’s licenses. But, because the police department has recently computerized their system (I know, what is this, 1985?), they will no longer recognize the AAA license.

Apparently in Brazil, driving without a valid license carries a fine and a sentence of 6 months to a year detention. I am alternately laughing at the ridiculousness of this and furrowing my brow at the possibility that someone along the process will either want to punish the American or extort money from him.

I’ll let you know what happens…

In other news, I’m seriously coveting a trip to the SCBWI LA conference and the Lee Bennett Hopkins morning Poetry Workshops. Lee is unofficially my poetry godfather (as I imagine he is for many of you). He recently accepted 2 of my poems for an easy reader anthology he’s compiling and I’ve had a blast bantering back and forth with him about the poems. But alas, the workshop is out of the question for me this year. . . hmm. . . unless. . . perhaps Lee has always wanted to visit Brazil? : )


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29 thoughts on “Today my husband could go to jail

    1. Thank you. I really am feeling calm. I know conceivably things could turn ugly but I just can’t believe they would actually put him in jail. Things are just never consistent here though, so we have no way of knowing what they will do!

    1. Not yet. We contacted a Brazilian judge that we know well, which ultimately might ensure more help than the embassy at this point. If things go poorly, I’ll be on the phone with the embassy this afternoon.

      1. but your honor, I went to driving school at SEARS!!! SEARS!!! I tell you!!!

        I assume the wheels of politics in Brazil are also greased by the almighty dollar.

        Let us know if we can do anything to help!

  1. That’s scary. I know that living in a foreign country can be unpredictable. I’ll be thinking of you guys!! Good for you to keep your sense of humor! As always, you know it’s great feed for the writing mill!

  2. Extorting money seems like the more likely scenario to me. I hope it turns out not to be a ginormous deal.

    Congrats on getting your poems accepted (mine weren’t. Sigh.) But Lee is a truly lovely man.

  3. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this today. My fingers are crossed that everything works out smoothly.

    (And congrats on the anthology. How cool!)

    1. Wishing all good things for your husband and you, Kristy. Yikes, what a nightmare! And a major WA-HOOOO on LBH accepting your poems for his book. Now that’s a dream come true 🙂

  4. Oh dear!

    We’ll be thinking of you up here in South Carolina! Yikes. As for SCBWI LA – I am going to be there, but I won’t be in the poetry strand – I already want to attend about three workshops each session…

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