If you have been charged with an offence or have simply been called to the police station to make a statement which may lead to you being charged, don't leave anything to chance.
If you are simply being questioned, you may choose whether to call a lawyer to be by your side. In many cases, people feel that they need to make a statement ("declarar"), when they do not. They may misunderstand what their rights are and feel that by being cooperative they are helping matters along. This is not always true, and if your Spanish is not perfect, you could be making things more complicated.
If you are charged, you have the right to be assisted by a lawyer either when you are detained at the police station or once you are before a judge.
Under no circumstances should you make a statement or plea without the presence of a lawyer who has briefed you in detail about the ramifications of each course of action.
The ideal situation is for you to have the services of a lawyer with several years of experience doing just that.
You may well be offered a legal aid lawyer, an "abogado de guardia/de oficio" (like a duty solicitor in the UK). However, you are unlikely to be assisted by the same lawyer throughout the process, and he or she is not guaranteed to have the level of English to be able to put things accurately in your language.
But you do have the right to choose a lawyer who you can trust and who will be on your side and fight your corner.
Marta Moreno, Emma Romero and Ignacio García have years of experience working as duty lawyers and liaising with the courts and police stations, where they are well-respected.
Criminal proceedings in Spain can take years to reach a conclusion: they are complicated and hard to understand, especially for a foreigner and even more so if you do not have perfect Spanish yet.
It is, unfortunately, always a difficult and stressful experience. You need someone who you trust to assist you, with clean hands and honesty.
Even a minor charge can have disastrous consequences regarding your residence status or criminal record.
We can provide you with a trustworthy and cost-effective legal assistance in all criminal matters, including the most serious.
While relatively rare in England and Wales for example, private prosecution is quite common in Spain.
Bear in mind that if you have been the victim of a criminal offence, you can also be represented in an “acusación particular“ (private prosecution). Your case against the perpetrator can be pursued in the same court as the criminal case, in which you have the right to act as the injured party. You do not have to initiate a separate civil case. In this respect, Spanish Law is firmly on the side of the victim.
Please get in touch if you would like to talk to an expert about this issue.