What rights does a person have when detained?

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When an arrest has taken place there can be a lot of confusion and uncertainty. Most people are unsure how to react to these events, which is why it is important to understand the rights of the detainee in order to demand that they be respected.

In Spain, the rights of the detainee are found in Article 17 of the Spanish Constitution and in Article 520.2 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

So, what are their rights?

  • At the time of arrest, the detainee shall have the right to be informed immediately and comprehensibly of their rights and the reasons for the arrest.
  • The detainee shall always be guaranteed the assistance of a lawyer and the right to choose their own.
  • The detainee shall have the right to remain silent, not to testify against themself, and not to confess to anything.
  • The detainee will be able to access and review all documents relating to their case and arrest.
  • The detainee has the right to promptly contact any person of their choice, as well as to have their relatives informed of their situation and, in the case of foreign nationals, they may contact the consulate of their country who may communicate with and visit the detainee.
  • In the case of foreign nationals who do not speak or understand Spanish, are deaf or hard of hearing, or have language difficulties, they are entitled to be assisted free of charge by an interpreter so that they can be correctly informed of their rights. In this case, they shall be given a written statement of their rights in a language they understand.
  • If the detainee is in need of medical assistance, they shall have the right to be examined by the forensic doctor or their legal substitute.
  • Last but not least, the detainee shall be informed of the maximum legal length of time that they can be kept in custody until they are brought before a court, and of the procedure through which they can challenge the legality of their arrest.

Please note that this information is for general use only. For accurate advice and guidance we strongly recommend that, in the event of an arrest, you contact an expert lawyer as soon as possible.

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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