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RULE §3.29Procedures and Policies Relating to Diplomatic and Consular Officials

(a) General policy. Diplomatic and consular officers should be accorded their respective privileges, rights, and immunities as directed by international law and federal statute. These officials should be treated with the courtesy and respect that befit their distinguished positions. At the same time, it is a well-established principle of international law that, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect local laws and regulations.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (1) Career diplomatic and consular officers--Can be identified by credentials issued by the state department and by other locally issued official identification papers.

  (2) Consular officers--Consuls-general, deputy consuls-general, consuls, and vice consuls.

  (3) Diplomatic officers--Ambassadors, ministers, minister counselors, counselors, first secretaries, second secretaries, third secretaries, and attaches.

  (4) Family members of consular officers--Do not enjoy the same privileges and immunities with respect to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state as do diplomatic and consular officers. If the relative is a juvenile, as in all juvenile cases, the subject should be released to the parent diplomatic or consular officer.

(c) Immunity.

  (1) Diplomatic officers. Diplomatic officers should not be arrested or detained for any offense.

  (2) Consular officers.

    (A) Under prevailing international law and agreement, a foreign career consular officer is not liable to arrest or detention pending trial except in the case of a grave crime (felony offense that would endanger the public safety) and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority. His immunity from criminal jurisdiction is limited to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions and is subject to court determination.

    (B) Honorary consuls have no immunity other than for official consular duties.

    (C) The following procedures are in effect for handling selected incidents, violations, or minor offenses by consular officers.

      (i) When a consular officer is stopped for a moving traffic violation, the officer on the scene, upon being advised by the driver that he is a consular officer and ascertaining that he possesses the proper credentials, should exercise discretion based on the nature of the violation and either let him go with a warning of the danger of his actions or proceed with issuance of appropriate citation. Under these circumstances, the mere issuance of a traffic citation does not constitute arrest or detention in the sense referred to in this section.

      (ii) The primary consideration for driving while under the influence should be to see that the consular officer is not a danger to himself or the public. DPS officers may elect to assist the consular officer by one of the following options: take him to the station or a location where he can recover sufficiently to enable him to drive safely; take him to a telephone so that he can call a relative or a friend to come for him; call a taxi for him; or take him home.

      (iii) While consular officials are immune from arrest, they are not immune from prosecution and the case should be presented to the local prosecutor when the facts so justify.

Source Note: The provisions of this §3.29 adopted to be effective February 6, 1981, 6 TexReg 414

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