European Arrest Warrant

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The last decade has seen great progress within the European Union, but above all it has seen an increase in international cooperation in criminal matters and has seen excellent results in managing these processes and speeding up legal proceedings.

What is it?

The European Arrest Warrant, or EAW, is essentially a court order issued by a judge of a Member State of the European Union. The intention of this warrant is to detain a wanted person in another Member State of the European Union and subsequently hand them in for prosecution or for the execution of a custodial sentence or detention order in a juvenile detention centre.

Where is it regulated in Spain?

In Spain, it is regulated by Law 23/2014 of 20th November 2014 on the mutual recognition of criminal judgments in the European Union.

Who is the competent authority to issue it?

The competent authority for issuing the warrant is the judge or court dealing with the case in which such a warrant is issued.

The competent authority for executing a European Arrest Warrant is the Central Investigating Judge of the National High Court (Audiencia Nacional).

When the warrant involves a minor, the Central Judge for Minors shall have jurisdiction.

Which countries can implement it?

All countries that are members of the European Union.

How does it work?

To initiate the warrant, the legal authorities of the Member State requesting the arrest must get in contact directly with the legal authorities of the country where the person to be arrested and surrendered is located.

When making an arrest, the authorities must always respect the procedural rights of the person under investigation in accordance with the legal system of the country where the arrest takes place, such as the right to legal counsel or free legal assistance if necessary, the right to have an interpreter and the right to information.

What is the time limit for the decision to be reached?

The final decision must be reached within a maximum of 10 days if the defendant consents to surrender, or 60 days if the defendant does not consent to surrender, although these deadlines may be extended by an exceptional period of 30 days.

Are all offences included?

Different requirements apply depending on the offence for which the warrant is issued, but Article 20 of Law 23/2014 dated 20th November lists 32 categories of offences for which it is not necessary to prove that the act is considered a crime in both countries, as long as it is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of at least 3 years in the issuing country.

Please note that this information is for general use only. For accurate advice and guidance, we strongly recommend that you book an appointment with an experienced lawyer.

For further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Pellicer & Heredia on +34 965 480 737 or email us at info@pellicerheredia.com.

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