Sometimes it is necessary to make a “denuncia”. Other times you will be denounced. It is important to know how this functions. The denuncia is the declaration, verbal or written, where you communicate to some authority any act that may be a breach of law. If you know about any such presumed breach of law, you are even obliged to denounce it. on the other hand, the person presenting the complaint has no special responsibility and need not prove the breach. However, a person presenting a false denuncia may be punished.
A denuncia may be presented
- at the Municipal or National Police, or the Guardia Civil
- at the Juzgado de Paz in your municipality or the nearest Juzgado de Instrucción
- at the Public Prosecutor (Fiscal)
You will be asked to identify yourself, describe the case, submit any documents and name the person you denounce. A report will be written and you will be asked to sign it. Any minor infractions must be denounced within six months of the incident.
If you are the victim or perjured by the offence, you have the right to be informed about
- your right to be part of the process
- your right to free justice
- your right to damage and restitution, as well as compensation for damages
- your right to be informed about the case
How is the complaint processed?
If you present a complaint at the police, they normally will make preliminary investigations and gather testimony from possible witnesses.
If it is presented at the public prosecutor, they also make preliminary investigations and if they see that indications of a criminal offence exist, they will send it on to the court.
So all denuncias land in the end in the Juzgado de Instrucción
There the judge will examine the case and decide;
- to file it (archivar), if he considers there is no proof of infraction
- to put it on hold (sobreseimiento provisional), if there is an apparent penal act, but it has not been possible to identify or locate the person responsible
- to send it on (trasladar) to another court or to proceed with the case