Because of the high incidence of road accidents, traffic offences fines are strictly enforced in Spain.
It is compulsory for non-residents to pay the traffic fines on the spot.
Any traffic ticket issued on imposing the traffic fine must contain the following items:
- Description of the vehicle’s offender (plate number;).
- Details of the offender.
- Description of the offence.
- The police agent identification number.
- The term for appealing and for informing traffic authorities who was the driver at the time of the offence.
Speed limits in Spain are as follows: 20 kph in residential areas, 50 kph in built-up areas, 90 kph in country roads, 100 kph in dual carriageways, 120 kph on motorways, 80 kph for cars towing a trailer on divided highways and 70 kph on other roads.
2. Fines for offences that the Spanish traffic law provides
Traffic fines in Spain are calculated on the severity of the offence. Often, the speeder doesn’t know he has passed a radar or photo checkpoint until he gets his printed notice in the mail box.
The traffic fines for speeding range up to € 600 . The offenders may also face the penalty points system.
There is a system of points loss (a driver starts up with a total of 12 points, 8 points for new drivers-up to three years) to punish traffic infractions, which applies along with the monetary fines. Once a driver has lost all of his points, his driving licence is revoked. The way to get a driving licence back is attending a traffic sensibilization and reeducation course.
For instance, driving along roads with a prohibited vehicle for that road may imply a loss of 4 points, as well as driving without the relevant permit. Using a mobile or hearphones while driving may imply a loss of 3 points, etc.
- Which other traffic infractions can make you lose your points? Among others:
- Drink driving if the alcohol level found in breathalysing tests is above 0.25mg% but below 0.60mg%.
- Drug driving.
- Rash driving endangering other people.
- Exceeding the number of persons permitted to ride in a vehicle. These shall not exceed 50% the maximum approved for the specific vehicle.
- Not respecting the right of way, ignoring a red traffic light or not stopping at a STOP sign
- Exceeding maximum lawful speeds; at least 20 kph over the speed limits, according with the following chart:
It is mandatory for Spanish cars to be fitted with seat-belts. It is required for all occupants, whether in the front or back seat of a car using the vehicle safety belt. You can be fined for not fastening it.
The offender may get a 50% fine reduction when paying the fine within 20 days since getting the penalty fee.
If you lose all your points, you can recover some of them (up to four) if you pass a recycling course that you can carry out only once every two years
These are only general guidelines and not definitive statements of the law. Any questions about the law´s applications to individual cases should be directed to a Spanish lawyer.
3. If you are charged with a traffic offence in Spain
3.1. General information
Police are empowered to collect fines on the spot. Normally commission of traffic offences are notified on the spot, however, in some justified reasons, this may be noticed afterwards. e.g. the fine may be imposed when the vehicle was parked.
Foreigners non-resident must pay on the spot unless they can present a Spanish bail bond or an address in Spain or company who will guarantee payment of the fine. If the fine cannot be paid or guaranteed, the vehicle will be impounded. Normally there is a discount of 50 percent for immediate settlement. You should pay the fine first, it is necessary for the policeman to permit you to continue your trip.
Provided that you are Spanish resident, if you do not receive written notice from the Spanish Traffic authorities within 3 months from commission of a minor offence, or 6 monts since commission of a serious or most serious traffic infraction, the traffic fine, which should have been imposed, will then be extinguished.
Who is responsible for committing the traffic offence?
- The vehicle’s owner is responsible for those infractions referring to the vehicle’s documentation, the vehicle’s safety conditions and non-fulfilment of the mandatory vehicle inspection (ITV).
- The driver is always responsible for the traffic violation, regardless who is the owner of the vehicle. First step upon receiving a traffic fine, is informing to traffic authorities who is the offender.
- If the offender is under 18 years of age, either his parents, tutors, or those persons in charge of the minor guardianship, will be jointly responsible for the economic fine he is been imposed.
3.3. How can you dispute the traffic fine?
If you want to challenge the fine, you have 20 days to dispute it. You should have previously provided an address in Spain for such purposes.
If your dispute is rejected, there is a further chance to dispute (recurso de alzada) within one month since their rejection. You may also appeal against the second resolution of Spanish traffic authorities before Spanish courts.
These are only general guidelines and not definitive statements of the law, all questions about the law’s applications to individual cases shall be directed to a Spanish lawyer.
4. Driving related crimes in Spain
Some traffic offences may entail the commission of a crime, the offender then may pay an indemnity for the damages or injuries he had caused, as well as the legal punishment he may be charged with.
- Driving a motor vehicle in Spain under the influence of alcohol over the level of 0.60 mg% is penalized with either imprisonment or a fine or social works, and with deprivation of the driving licence for up to 4 years.
- Speeding exceeding 80 km/h over the legal limit in motorways, or exceeding 60 km/h over the legal limit in city roads will be penalized with the punishments aforementioned.
- Refusal to cooperate to take a breathlizer test to analyse the amount of alcohol in their blood will be treated as disobedience, punishable by a term of imprisonment of 6 months up to 1 year and deprivation of the driving license.
- Rash driving endangering other people may be punishable by a term of imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years and deprivation of driving licence for a term of 1 to 6 years.
In case you are involved in a criminal procedure for any of the reasons related to traffic mentioned above, the assistance of a lawyer will be required. We provide specialized legal assistance on this matter.
5. Seizure of your vehicle in Spain
Spanish police may seize your vehicle in any of the following circumstances:
- In the event of an accident, when the vehicle cannot continue moving.
- If the vehicle is believed to be abandoned.
- If the vehicle is illegally parked.
- If the foreigner non-resident refuses to pay the fine he is being imposed.
The car may be released after paying the corresponding fees. The owner is entitled to recover any fees paid from the individual who was responsible for the car accident.
6. Getting legal help
Our lawyers provide solid legal advice regarding traffic fines and vehicle-related issues in Spain:
» Ask an English-speaking Spanish lawyer now.