New Spanish Criminal Code

The new Spanish Criminal Code has features to care about by those with corporate interests in Spain, tourists and residents from abroad.

New Spanish Criminal Code
Although the new Spanish criminal code that is entering into force on July 1st  2015  dedicates most of its new Articles to internal issues, such as illegal financing of political parties, criminal actions during strikes and demonstrations,  or the imposition of life sentences for very serious crimes or terrorist attacks, some of the new laws might affect foreign nationals and companies.


This new penal code substitutes the one approved 20 years ago (November 23rd 1995) and has some new features that should be taken into consideration by those with corporate interests in Spain, tourists and residents from abroad, such as the following:


  1. A new law specifies that a citizen of the European Union may be expelled from Spain if they represent a serious threat to public safety. So far this measure could only be applied to foreigners who are not citizens of EU countries.
  2. The age of sexual consent is raised to 16 years of age, instead of the previous 14 years required for having sex being an adult (An exception is provided where there is consent and it is between people of a similar age.
  3. Animal abandonment will entail the payment of a fine, while for the first time the penal code criminalizes exploitation or abuse of animals, such as in cockfights or dogfights.
  4. Corporate Compliance Programs. Article 33 of the new Spanish criminal code sets forth the 6 elements to be met by a Compliance Program established by a national or foreign company which would exempt legal entities from being held criminally liable. In Spain, since 2010, an officer or employee of a company can be held personally liable for the following offences:
  • Crimes against privacy and computer trespass (art. 197)
  • Proper and improper scams (art. 251 bis)
  • Punishable Insolvency: uprisings and punishable contests (Article 261 bis.)
  • Computer hacking and damage (art. 264)
  • Crimes against intellectual property (art. 288)
  • Offences against the market and consumers (art. 288), which is a wide are that includes:
    • Discovery and disclosure of company secrets (arts. 278-280).
    • Shortage of raw materials (art. 281).
    • Misleading advertising (art. 282).
    • Fraud investors and credit (art. 282 bis).
    • Mispricing (art. 283).
    • Handling market prices (art. 284.1 and 2).
    • Insider Trading (arts. 284.3 and 285).
    • Illegal access to radio and television (art. 286).
    • Corruption between private business and sports (art. 286 bis).
    • Money laundering (art. 302).
    • Offences Against the Treasury and Social Security (art. 310 bis).
    • Crimes against the rights of foreign citizens (art. 318 bis).
    • Crime on spatial planning (art. 319).
    • Crimes against natural resources and the environment (art. 327 and 328).
    • Offences relating to nuclear energy and ionizing radiation (art. 343).
    • Crimes risk caused by explosives (art. 348).
    • Bribery (art. 427).
    • Trading in influence (art. 430).
    • Foreign Official Corruption (art. 445).
Provided that the Compliance Program has been adopted before a crime is committed by any of its officers or employees and includes the following components:


  1. Risk assessment of the crimes that should be prevented.
  2. Standards and controls to mitigate any criminal risk.
  3. Financial management system in place to prevent the economic crimes.
  4. Obligation to report to the Compliance Body any violation of the standards and controls.
  5. Disciplinary system to sanction the violation by officers and employees of the Compliance Program.
  6. Periodical review of the Compliance Program, making the necessary adjustments when serious violations occur or when the company undergoes organizational, structural or economic activity changes.

In addition, the Spanish Criminal Code establishes that any foreign company will need to prove that it’s officers and employees have received proper training on the compliance program, in order for it to be effective.

19 Lawyers Offering Services in Spain

Testimonials for Criminal Law
  • Jessica Evans
    Jessica Evans, Mallorca

    Rosa was very clear & explained everything very clearly step by step a true professional a pleasure to deal with.

    Nov 03, 2020
  • Elin Dahms Konig
    Elin Dahms Konig, Seville

    I recommend Rafa who helped me through a tough situation where I was wrongly accused in a case of fraud. His advice, support and professionalism were outstanding!

    Feb 28, 2020
  • Stefan Olivier
    Stefan Olivier, Ibiza

    Rosa was incredibly helpful and also patient with me. I would recommend her to anyone as she is incredibly professional and knows how to advise a distressed client brilliantly.

    Sep 07, 2019
  • Jason McNabb
    Jason McNabb, Fuengirola

    Very professional and a first class service at very short notice.

    Everything was under control in a short space of time. Alvaro was a man of his word. Anything he said he would do he done it. Me and my family appreciate everything you done for my brother thank you so much.

    Jul 16, 2019
  • Clare Parlour
    Clare Parlour, Mallorca

    Initially I had a lot of communication but as time went on it was difficult to get prompt responses and I felt frustrated by the Spanish system and lack of understanding.

    It has now been transferred to the UK but this was done through the court and not the solicitor. it took 3 months for our file to turn up in the UK and I think that was more by luck.

    More regular communication especially as we didn't know the Spanish legal system.

    Jul 09, 2019
  • Andy and Diane Heston
    Andy and Diane Heston, Fuengirola

    We have recently had to employ the services of a lawyer, to deal with a very serious and distressing problem. We found Alvero and made a phone call to him ,within seconds of speaking to him he proved to be the lawyer to represent us.

    His knowledge of our particular problem was in depth and precise he listened carefully and gave us really sound and honest advice. His professionalism in handling our case has been impressive to say the least but he has also remained sympathetic and constantly kept us up to date with everything he has been doing at every stage.

    This has helped to minimize the stress at this extremely stressful time I would have no hesitation in recommending Alvero. His professionalism and whole attitude towards his clients is second to none

    May 24, 2019
  • Rhys Keely
    Rhys Keely, Mallorca

    Rosa was very understanding and helpful in all matters. She explained everything and went above and beyond to assist.

    So lucky to have found her at a difficult time.

    Jan 29, 2019
  • David Grundy
    David Grundy, UK

    Jose was very polite and we received an excellent service from him.

    Nothing was to much trouble and his communication was 2nd to none. Highly recommended!

    Aug 24, 2018
  • John Wedlake
    John Wedlake, Murro de Alcoi, Spain

    Very satisfied with Jose-Antonio's service, in particular I appreciated the completely honest appraisal of the situation. Will definitely use this service again.

    Jul 30, 2017
  • Andriy Shevchuk
    Andriy Shevchuk, Ukraine, Lviv

    Jose Antonio is a very professional lawyer. He have very good experience and clear vision of case. Also digging deeply in all details.

    Very professional Lawyer.

    Apr 05, 2017
  • Kenneth Madden
    Kenneth Madden, Gran Canaria

    Very professional, very helpful and always responded promptly to any queries I had.

    Oct 23, 2016
  • KSC
    KSC, Ireland

    She was very helpful, always happy to assist.

    I was very satisfied with the service.

    Oct 18, 2016
  • Martin Rawlings
    Martin Rawlings, Baza

    I am very pleased with the time and trouble taken by Álvaro in advising me and acting on my behalf.

    His English was more or less fluent and I would definitely use his services again.

    Apr 07, 2016