Homicide in Spain
Spain has one of the lowest homicide rates in Europe. However, sometimes homicides do occur. The law in this area is complex and we advise you to contact one of our skilled lawyers if you require more information on this matter. Our lawyers created this article to give you a basic idea of the requirements of homicide under the Penal Code and the consequences of committing such a crime.
The Penal Code
Under this article, a person who is convicted of killing another shall be sentenced to imprisonment from ten to fifteen years.
Homicide is a result crime. Therefore, the accused´s conduct must be judged objectively, from an ex-ante perspective. In addition, the difference between attempted homicide and malicious injury is the accused´s animus necandi (willingness to kill) versus the accused´s animus laedendi (willingness to injure).
According to Article 139, when a person kills another with any of the following circumstances that person shall be guilty of murder. Consequently, the punishment is imprisonment for fifteen to twenty years. The circumstances are as follows:
- With pre-meditation.
- For a price, reward or promise.
- With cruelty, deliberately and inhumanely increasing the victim´s suffering.
However, if more than one of the circumstances set out in Article 139 occurs in a murder, then Article 140 states that the punishment is imprisonment for twenty to twenty-five years. This is known as a form of qualified murder.
In short, this section of the Penal Code introduces the forms of provocation, conspiracy, and solicitation to commit the offences under the previous Articles, for which person shall be punished with a penalty lower by one or two degrees than stated as the correct punishment in the preceding Articles.
Moreover, this section of the Penal Code sets out three circumstances which carry their own individual punishment. The three circumstances are as follows:
- Murder caused by serious negligence: Whoever causes the death of another by serious negligence shall be convicted of manslaughter and punished with a sentence of imprisonment of one to four years.
- Manslaughter committed using a motor vehicle, moped or a firearm: When the manslaughter is committed using a motor vehicle, a moped or a firearm, the punishment shall also, and respectively, include deprivation of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds or deprivation of the right to own and carry weapons from one to six years.
- Murder caused by professional negligence: When the manslaughter is committed due to professional negligence, the punishment of special barring from exercise of the profession, trade or cargo shall also be imposed, for a period of three to six years.
Similarly, this section sets out four more special circumstances in which there are specific punishments for different situations. The circumstances are as follows:
- Whoever induces another to suicide shall be punished with a sentence of imprisonment from four to eight years.
- A sentence of imprisonment of two to five years shall be imposed on whoever co-operates in the necessary acts for a person to commit suicide.
- Punishment shall involve a sentence of imprisonment from six to ten years if such co-operation were to reach the point of death ensuing.
- Whoever causes or actively co-operates in the necessary, direct acts causing the death of another, at the specific, serious, unequivocal request of that person, in the event of the victim suffering a serious disease that would unavoidably lead to death, or that causes permanent suffering that is hard to bear, shall be punished with a punishment lower by one or two degrees to those described in Sections 2 and 3 of this Article.
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