Court criminal


Navigating Spain's Court Criminal

 A Comprehensive Guide for English Residents

Spain’s Court Criminal system is a complex and often intimidating aspect of Spanish law, especially for English residents unfamiliar with its intricacies. Whether facing a criminal charge or seeking to understand the criminal legal process, guidance from seasoned professionals like Fenus Legal is essential. This page offers an in-depth insight into the Court Criminal in Spain.


The Court Criminal in Spain plays a pivotal role in resolving criminal matters. It’s imperative to understand its structure, jurisdiction, and processes.

Understanding the court criminal's structure

Spain’s Court Criminal system is multifaceted and designed to deal with the complexity and seriousness of criminal offences. It functions through a hierarchical structure of courts, each dealing with different types of criminal matters. Here’s a comprehensive look at the various levels of the Court Criminal system in Spain:


  1. Criminal Court of First Instance

The Criminal Court of First Instance, known in Spain as «Juzgados de lo Penal,» is where the majority of criminal cases commence.


These courts handle less serious criminal offences, often referred to as misdemeanours. Their authority includes crimes punishable by imprisonment of up to five years.


Cases are usually tried by a single judge, and decisions can be appealed to the Provincial Criminal Courts.


  1. Provincial Criminal Courts

Provincial Criminal Courts, known as «Audiencias Provinciales,» are appellate courts for less serious criminal matters and trial courts for more serious offences.


These courts have jurisdiction over crimes punishable by imprisonment exceeding five years, including more severe crimes like homicide and sexual assault.


The Provincial Criminal Courts typically consist of three judges for trials, ensuring a more meticulous examination of the facts and the law. They also handle appeals from the Criminal Court of First Instance.


  1. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, or «Tribunal Supremo,» is the highest court in Spain for criminal matters.


It serves as the court of last resort for criminal appeals, ensuring the consistent application of criminal law across the country.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Chamber hears appeals on points of law and has the power to overturn decisions from lower courts. It plays a crucial role in shaping Spanish criminal jurisprudence.


  1. Other Specialized Courts

There are also specialized courts in Spain for certain types of criminal cases, such as the National Court for terrorism and international crimes.


These courts have specific authority over certain categories of crimes, depending on the national interest and the nature of the offences.


The process in these courts is tailored to the unique nature of the cases they handle, often involving special procedures and expertise.

The process of the court criminal

Facing criminal charges in Spain requires understanding the legal procedures of the Court Criminal.

Investigation Phase

This initial stage involves police investigation, evidence gathering, and possibly detaining the accused if necessary.

Preliminary Hearings

Preliminary hearings in the Court Criminal aim to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The defence may negotiate or challenge the charges at this stage.

Trial Proceedings in the Court Criminal

The criminal trial is a multi-stage process that includes presenting evidence, cross-examination, final statements, and the judge’s decision.

Sentencing and Appeals

If found guilty, sentencing follows the trial. An appeal can be lodged if there are legal grounds to challenge the decision.

Legal Representation in Court Criminal

Effective representation in the Court Criminal is essential. Our legal experts ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.


If applicable, our team can engage in plea negotiations with the prosecution, possibly reducing charges or penalties.


Fenus Legal also supports victims seeking justice through the Court Criminal. We advocate for your rights and guide you through the criminal legal process.


With our deep understanding of the Court Criminal in Spain, Fenus Legal is equipped to guide English residents in Spain through this challenging legal landscape.


Our lawyers are experienced in handling criminal cases, with a strong track record in the Court Criminal.


We believe in working closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and provide tailored solutions in the Court Criminal.