Staying safe in Poland
Moving to Poland often means that you have to partly adapt to the culture and prevailing customs, but what's the most important - you have to always obey the law. It is essential that you know the basic laws and restrictions, as to not become an accidental victim or perpetrator of a crime - which might not always be the case in other countries you've lived in.
Here we present a couple of tips on how to stay safe in Poland and save your nerves (and potentially a lot of money).
Only cross the streets on marked pedestrian crossings, and at green light - putting pure common sense aside, we know that crossing an empty street with no traffic at red light can be tempting and time-saving, but we do not recommend that, as it might result in a fine of up to 500PLN if you're caught.
Public drinking is illegal in Poland (unless you pay for the alcohol in a restaurant/pub or other licensed premises). Furthermore, if you are seen on the streets while drunk (disturbing the peace etc.), the police may lock you up in the nearest police station until you've sobered completely. This usually costs a few hundred PLN.
DUI (Driving under influence) is a major problem on Polish streets. The zero tolerance policy applies to those whose breathalyzer test shows even the tiniest amount of alcohol in the exhaled air. Drink half a beer and get behind a wheel (any kind of wheel - this rule also applies to cyclists) - there's a high probability that you will end up at the police station because of this.
It is important to remember that the ticket you buy in the ticket machine near bus/tram stops is not valid until you stamp it in validating machine in your selected means of transport. That is why you have to always validate your travel ticket (Travel passes such as City Card are an exception - you only need to validate it once) as soon as you get on the bus/tram. If you do not do it and get caught, you will have to pay a fine of several hundred PLN.
Remember not to leave your bags unattended anywhere in Warsaw, as it may (and probably will) create a security alert.
It is illegal to be in possesion of any illegal substance, e.g. cannabis.