The severity surrounding criminal accusation in Spain makes hiring an attorney essential. However the increasing number of foreigners in Spain often entails communication problems for clients who do not speak Spanish and are often unaware of the severity of their situation. Legal Advisors provides assistance in the client’s own language and ensures that they are perfectly aware and understand all the information regarding the accusation.
Our experience is reinforced by our solid background in criminal law, specifically in the practice of defence and prosecution of crimes involving heavy sentences. Whatever your situation, we will make an immediate evaluation and assist you at police stations or courts of justice in any city in Spain according to our availability.
We initiate different types of allegations and lawsuits against companies and individuals following a comprehensive study into the case, and of the documentation submitted by the client. Our service include, legal assistance for defence, or specific accusation for the following crimes:
From the moment you receive a subpoena (citación), or put simply, a judge or a policeman accuses you, you’ll need a lawyer. Otherwise, you will not be able to make any official statement, however this does not prevent the police from citing anything you say “off record”, to the benefit of the Prosecutor.
Getting your own lawyer is an obligation because even if you refuse to do it, the court house or the police will ask the government for a state lawyer (abogado de oficio) who will be imposed on you. By the time you realize that someone who you don’t even know is representing you, you still will have the opportunity to reject his services and appoint a private attorney, but from the moment the state lawyer was imposed on you, until the time you rejected his services, you will be obligated by law to pay the state lawyer’s fees. If you do not do this, he will be free to seize your assets. This is because in Spain a state lawyer is not free unless you have no income, or your income and the income from relatives who live with you, are less than approximately 1.310 Euros. The law is designed this way because the court could not process any police report or complaint filed without a legal representative.
Filing an official complaint with the Police (denuncia)
In Spain, every criminal procedure starts with filing a complaint at the police station, Prosecutor’s office or court, and this could be done by anyone. This way it is not necessary for injured people and crime victims to feel pressured.
One of the points that differentiates the criminal procedure from the civil one, is that once the prosecutor has notice from any illegal issue, it automatically becomes a state case against the offender. For this reason even if the victim withdraws charges, it is absolutely useless, without the collaboration of the prosecutor. The only exception would be in the case of a libel suit (injurias y calumnias).
Investigation of the Crime
The first formalities to be presented in court are basically the accused and witnesses statements. Afterwards, the judge decides if there is need for more formalities to be presented to enable him get more information about the case. At this point, the defendant’s lawyer and the prosecutor has the right to ask the judge for any formality (a witness to be questioned, a document or request a report from any state office), and then, the judge would consider it.
If there aren’t any more outstanding formalities or the judge denies processing any other suggested by the parties, the judge decides:
- To dismiss the case, or
- If he thinks that there is enough evidence proving the crime committed, he closes the investigation stage and asks the prosecutor to go ahead with the penalty or absolution request.
When the process is about more serious crimes the judge closes the investigation stage before asking the Prosecutor and starts a brief intermediate stage.
Trial of the Case
Once the Prosecutor sends his penalty request, the judge gives a deadline to the lawyer in order to make a statement defending his client’s innocence, or an agreement arrangement with the Prosecutor. Afterwards, a trial appearance hearing is scheduled. If the accused doesn’t accept any prosecutor deal, then the trial has to include the entire documentary evidences list, as well as the witnesses to be questioned during the trial.
The client has to be represented during the whole process, so if at any stage the lawyer decides to resign, then the procedure gets paralyzed until the state or the client appoints another lawyer.
In the event the client is convicted after the trial, he will be able to submit an appeal in ten days, which will stop automatically the enforcement of the verdict, unless he is already in preventive prison.
These types of agreements are very common in the sort of crimes that by law stipulates that due to overwhelming evidence in the police report, defense could not be admitted. For these types of cases even if defence were to be allowed, there are not any real chances of winning the case, for instance driving under the influence of alcohol. After a review of the police report, the accused could only admit to being guilty of the accusation in question, which automatically yields a conclusive consequence for the defendant, a conviction without trial. This option simplifies quite a lot the process and saves the court time, human and material resources.
That’s why when the accused admits the police statement; the penalty is reduced to a third of the regular, if the attorney of the accused negotiates with the prosecutor before he submits his penalty request. In the event the accused or the lawyer decide to start the conversations with the prosecutor later than this stage, the prosecutor won’t give this advantage, but they’re always willing to offer a lower penalty to avoid the trial.