If you have lived in Spain or visited regularly you may have heard the word denuncía – this means to ‘report’ a crime or a dispute. Generally, people make a denuncia when they’ve been mugged, or lost their passport and need official confirmation so the Consular authorities can issue an emergency travel document or replacement passport.

If you have been victim of, involved in or witness to a criminal offence, car crash or any of the above, simply attend your local police station and report what happened or what you saw. You can attend your local Guardia Civil or you can call the denuncia hotline on 902 102 112. Alternatively, there is an internet site at https://denuncias.policia.es/OVD/.

It is very important to read the information carefully as you are making a criminal allegation and need to ensure that you are clear and sure of your facts beforehand. It is sensible to pen what you propose to say in advance so that you don’t confuse, omit or forget key information. The same applies if you are using the phone service.

Thereafter, the denuncia will be forwarded to your nearest national police station which you’ll need to attend within 48 hours to formally sign the report. One should note that the denuncia hotline is for reporting criminal offences rather than civil infractions, so for example a noisy neighbour or unpaid bill are Civil matters and not criminal allegations.

Upon reporting your matter to the police, they will make preliminary enquiries of possible witnesses, compile any evidence and prepare a file. This may take some time.

Where sufficiently serious, the matter will be referred to the court. If the judge decides that no criminal offence is made out, the file will be archived; if he or she considers that an offence is made out but the perpetrator cannot be readily established, the file will be shelved pending further evidence. The Judge can then open preliminary investigations – diligencias previas. The purpose of this is to investigate and to decide if the matter should proceed to a full criminal trial.

For more information or a confidential consultation please contact De Cotta Law, Calle Diputación, Nerja.   Call 952 527 014 or email info@decottalaw.net