Criminal Record Check Spain

Need a criminal record check or Police Clearance Certificate in Spain? Learn about clearing criminal records or cancelling a conviction record in Spain, not easy in many cases.
Article Published: 20 Apr, 2020, Updated: 08 Oct, 2023 under Criminal Record Check

The Spanish Criminal or Police Record is a Certification issued by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, confirming whether a person has a “NOT CANCELLED” criminal offence after conviction by a Spanish Criminal Court OR NOT. It contains convictions for all crimes (delitos) and also misdemeanours (delitos leves).

1. Spanish criminal record check/police clearance certificates

Known in Spanish as the ‘Certificado de Antecedentes Penales’, this Certificate can also show:

  1. If the person has been imprisoned;
  2. If the conviction has been fully spent;
  3. Type of parole - if it has been granted.

The criminal record system in Spain is organized in the form of the “CENTRAL CRIMINAL RECORDS REGISTRY (Registro Central de Penados).

It is not publicly accessible. Only a few public agencies and no private agencies have access to it. It is only accessible to judges, public prosecutors and the judicial police for investigative purposes. Also to Guardia Civil for gun permits and border control police. Also, an individual may request a copy of their personal Conviction Records or a person authorized by him/her.

In Spain, conviction records are not expunged as they are not erased completely but rather are cancelled in a process known as “cancelling a conviction record”- once conviction records are cancelled or ‘spent’, the individual will possess a clear criminal record. To cancel a conviction record in Spain, the following requirements must be met, namely,

  1. a period of time having served the sentence must have elapsed (6 months, 2 years, 3 years or 6 years depending on the sentence);
  2. No further crime has been committed in the interim;
  3. Civil compensation has been paid or the person has been declared to be without money.

2. European criminal records information system (ecris)

Criminal Record Check in Spain or in any other European Union member country: the European Union Criminal Records System is a computerised system established in 2012 to create an efficient exchange of information on criminal convictions between member States.

The system provides judges, prosecutors and police information on the criminal convictions/history of persons concerned, no matter which Member State that the person has been convicted in the past.

So when citizens ask for an extract from their criminal record in Spain, it will include also criminal records in case of conviction in any of the member States.

If you are a not an EU-citizen, it is currently not possible to determine whether they were previously convicted in other Member States without consulting them all.

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