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Defendants (criminal proceedings)


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Can I appeal against the decision at the trial?

Yes, if you disagree with the judicial decision your lawyer may file an appeal.

Can I appeal against the sentence?

Yes, if you consider that the sentence is unfair, you may appeal against it.


You must appeal file and appeal with a Higher Court, which will hear the case.

What time limits apply?

The time limits vary depending on the procedure. It could be five or ten days.

What are the grounds of appeal?

The grounds that may give rise to the remedy of appeal are the following:

  • Infringement of fundamental rights, possible lack of proper defence
  • Breach of rules
  • Violation of procedural rules
  • Mistake in weighing up the evidence
  • Infringement of the presumption of innocence

What happens if I appeal?

If you file an appeal against the decision, the judge may or may not change. The court of appeal may ratify the first decision or change it.

What happens if I am in prison when I appeal?

If you are in prison when you appeal, you must remain in prison for a maximum period of half of the sentence which you are appealing against .

How long will it be before the appeal is heard?

There is no specified time limit.

Can I produce new evidence for the appeal?

In certain cases, yes, you can. Evidence that is relevant to the outcome of the case, which you did not know about until after the trial, or that had not been taken before, may be produced.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

At the appeal hearing only the sentence being appealed will be discussed. You must bear in mind that it is not a second trial.

What can the court decide?

The court of appeal may decide to reverse, uphold, or deliver a new judgment which is different from the judgment which you appealed against.

What happens if the appeal is successful or unsuccessful?

The judgment will be final whether the appeal is successful or not.

If the appeal is successful the decision of the court in the new judgement will apply, if it accepts totally or in part the arguments made by your lawyer.

If the appeal is not successful, what the court of appeal decides will apply, whether it confirms the previous judgment or it modifies it.

Is there a right to appeal again to a higher/different court?

Yes, you can appeal to the Constitutional Court or to the European Court of Human Rights if your fundamental rights have been infringed.

If the first decision was overturned, will I get any compensation?

In principle, no. However of you wish to do so, you may claim compensation before the contentious-administrative court.

If my appeal is successful, will a record be kept of the conviction?

If the appeal is successful, no record will be kept of the conviction nor will the criminal record for this offence count.

Is further appeal possible if the first appeal fails?

You may exceptionally appeal at a review trial before the Supreme Court, if new or previously unknown facts come to light.

When is the conviction final?

When no further appeal is possible.

I am from another Member State. Can I be sent back there after the trial?

In principle, you will not be sent back to your country. If the conviction is for less than 6 years, it may be replaced with deportation; you may serve the sentence in your home country.

Is transfer automatic?

No, you should request the transfer.

If I am convicted, can I be tried again for the same crime?

No, you cannot be tried twice for the same crime under any circumstances.

Can I be tried in another Member State for the same crime?

No, you cannot be tried twice for the same crime under any circumstances.

Will information about the charges and/or conviction be added to my criminal records?

If the outcome of the appeal is a conviction in which you are considered the offender, this information will be added to your criminal record.

How and where will that information be held?

The information will be recorded in the Central Register of Convicted Offenders.

How long will it be held?

Until it is cleared, depending on the duration of the penalty.

Can it be held without my consent?

The information will automatically be held without your consent.

Can I object to the holding of the information?

You may not object to the holding of the information.

What are my rights if I am sent to prison?

You have the right to:

  • life;
  • not to be discriminated against on account of race, sex, religion, opinion, nationality or any other personal condition;
  • right for your wellbeing to be safeguarded by the government;
  • respect for your physical and moral integrity;
  • respect for your dignity and privacy;
  • to keep in contact with your family and friends;
  • to be visited (if appropriate);
  • to work and be paid for your work;
  • to take part in the activities of the prison;
  • to receive benefits for good conduct;
  • to make claims or complaints and to receive information on your prison and procedural situation.

What are my obligations?

You are under obligation to remain in prison at least until otherwise notified, to comply with the rules and instructions, to actively co-operate in prison co-existence, respect inmates and authorities, appropriately use the prison premises, wash yourself and dress properly, and to take part in the activities organised at the prison.

If I fall ill, can I got to hospital?

Yes, if necessary, you will be transferred to a health care centre.

When will I be released?

When the Court that convicted you or the Penitentiary Judge so decides.

Will I receive financial aid?

If you lack financial resources when you come out of prison, the Government will supply you with some money to go home and will pay for your initial expenses. You are also entitled to unemployment benefit.

Related links

Spanish Criminal Code

Last update: 11/03/2020

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