all, calm down and chill. It sounds stupid, I know, but many people freak out
when dealing with the Police. It has no point, no purpose and no advantage. And
the adrenaline will bring you down once it wears out.
note that cops would only make an arrest if they suspect or there are signs a
crime has been commited. Again, it may sound banal, but let me point out that
in case of misdemeanor, the Police would not take you into custody, but only take
your statement or summon you at the station. An arrest by the police implies
the suspect is involved in an alleged crime or felony that, as a rule, entails
more than 6-months prison sentence.
(of course, the
Police might decide later on that the facts only constitute misdemeanor and not
an actual felony, but that is a different and unfortunate matter…)
case, if you get arrested you will be taken to the Police Station. Most
people have a general idea about their rights, especially if they have seen
a lot of cop or court movies, but please allow me to provide some insight about
the Spanish system.
Once in the
Police Station, as a rule, the Police will inform you about your rights. Of course,
you have the right to an attorney. After latest reforms, the lawyer is allowed
to meet you before, during and after making a statement. You can make a
statement without being assisted by a lawyer, but please note it is completely
unadvisable. I am not saying this for professional reasons: in general, your
statement in Police quarters has little influence on the procedure.
reason why we lawyers usually advise not to make a statement during the police
enquiry. We usually deem advisable to make the statement in front of the Judge,
for he shall decide about the procedure and your personal situation (i.e. whether
you shall be formally accused and, furthermore, whether you should remain
As a rule,
the whole “Police procedure” takes up to 24 hours before taking you to the
Judge on Duty. But Law allows keeping you in custody up to 72 hours should the
investigation require it.
note (Barcelona and surroundings): in case you remain arrested, Barcelona
Police usually takes detainees to a couple of determined Precincts wherefrom the
Police vans take the prior day’s detainees to Court Hall.
custody, you have the right to ask for medical assistance and for a translator,
at no cost. Please note that this might take time, of course (depending, among
other, on the time of the day, and the tongue…). Therefore, make you
sure you really need them.
to your consulate or Embassy: you have the right to inform of your arrest. Any
delay on this regard is usually due to its public servants.
addition, you have the right to inform your family or friends of your arrest
and to make a call.
I forgot to
mention that, should you not know or have the means to a lawyer, the Bar
Association shall provide one.
All in all,
here is what happens:
police custody you will know very little about the case against you. Police
will tell you (and your lawyer) about the alleged offence, date and time of arrest,
some of the facts. We lawyers might not have access to the whole report until
short before Court appearance, and we might not have access to all facts and
evidence used against you (witnesses, recordings and police statements). This information,
as well as your rights, will be given also in writing.
On your first
court appearance, you and your Lawyer are formally and thoroughly informed
about the allegations against you. The lawyer has access to the whole police
report and case file.
appearance, the Judge will assess about the case and the accusation, and will decide
about your situation, i.e. whether you should remain in custody for the time
being. As a rule, the crime must entail a prison sentence longer than two
years. The reasons to keep the defendant in custody are the following:
that the defendant will fail to attend their trial (absconding)
of evidence tampering
of repeating offence
of danger to the victim or witnesses
that these reasons must be argued and well founded.
The judge shall rule whether the procedure shall go ahead and, in addition,
whether the accused remains in custody or is released. In this case, it might
be under certain conditions, such as:
restraining order to go to certain places or contact certain people
to the police under a regular basis,
to drive vehicles,
it. Any further steps on the procedure belongs to another chapter...