ROBBERY AND THEFT IN SPAIN
I’ve been accused of theft and/or robbery in Spain, what do I do?
Someone has accused me of theft or robbery, what do I do now?
So, someone has accused you of theft or robbery here in Spain, what is your next step?
Firstly, and most importantly, you should call a lawyer. Here at Piñera del Olmo we have many bilingual lawyers who can help you get through the processes of Spanish law.
The differences between theft (hurto) and robbery (robo)
The distinctions between theft and robbery in Spain are based on whether violence is used in the act.
Theft: Otherwise known as hurto in Spanish, theft consists of seizing the personal property of others.
However, it is done without any form of violence, intimidation or force. This also counts if goods have been taken from a home but there was no forced entry.
Robbery: In Spanish ‘robo’ is when violence, force, and/or intimidation are used to gain goods that do not belong to you.
With robbery, there exists various escalations to the basic charge.
A robbery ‘con fuerza’, or with force, signifies violence has been enacted against an object. For example, breaking a window to get into a house, or forcing a lock.
The other type of robbery in Spain is called ‘robo con violencia’ meaning violent robbery. In contrast to the other form of robbery, this is when violence is used against a person rather than an object.
Charges for theft
With theft, if the amount of goods stolen are above the value of 400 euros, punishment can be up to a 6-month prison term.
Below this value, the sentence goes down to a fine for 1 to 3 months. The amount to be paid each day is then left to the discretion of the judge, who decides it based on considerations such as the income of the accused.
Charges for robbery
As robbery includes force, charges increase considerably from theft. For instance, robbery with force or violence hold sentences from 1 to 3 years in prison.
However, if there is intimidation such as the use of weapons, and/or the crime is in a house with people inside, the sentence can reach up to 5 years. Important to note is the fact that fines are not used as punishment for robbery, unlike in theft cases.
One aspect of Spanish law that can play in the favor of supposed theft and robbery cases are the prospect of suspended sentences.
If you have no prior convictions, any sentences under 2 years will be suspended. This means that you will not have to serve the sentence, unless you re-offend within 3 years.
Since with theft and some robbery charges, the sentences can be under 2 years. So, a short enough sentence does not necessarily mean prison time.
How a lawyer can help you
In a theft/robbery trial the burden of proof always falls on the prosecution. This means they will have to have sufficient proof to show you committed the crime.
A good lawyer can make sure all proof that has been admitted to the judge has not broken the chain of custody. The chain of custody is clearly very important in these cases, as if there has been any break in it, proof might not be admissible. It is important to note that this could mean a shorter sentence.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not definitive. For up-to-date advice relevant to your case please contact our Spanish lawyers.