Fines and sanctions
Councils who have delegated the management of traffic fines to the Diputació de Tarragona
Alcanar, Alcover, L’Aldea, Altafulla, Amposta, L’Arboç, Batea, Calafell, Camarles, Cambrils, La Canonja, Constantí, Cornudella de Montsant, Creixell, Cunit, Deltebre, L’Espluga de Francolí, Falset, Flix, Gandesa, Montblanc, Montbrió del Camp, Mont-roig, Móra d’Ebre, Els Pallaresos, El Perelló, La Pobla de Mafumet, La Pobla de Montornès, Prades, Riudoms, Roda de Bera, Roquetes, Salou, Santa Bàrbara, La Ràpita, Sant Jaume d’Enveja, Santa Coloma de Queralt, Santa Oliva, La Sénia, La Selva del Camp, Tarragona, Torredembarra, Tortosa, Ulldecona, El Vendrell, Vandellòs-Hospitalet, Vila-seca, Vilallonga del Camp and Vinyols i els Arcs.
Infringement of road trafic rules
Driving offences can be minor, serious, or very serious according to the Ley sobre tráfico, circulación de vehículos a motor y seguridad vial (Law on Traffic, Motorised Vehicles and Road Safety). Royal Decree 6/2015, of 30 October.
- Minor offences are liable to a fine of up to 100 €.
- Serious offences are liable to a fine of 200 € (except speeding offences).
- Very serious offences are liable to a fine of 500 € (except speeding offences and failing to identify the driver, where the fine is double that of the corresponding minor offence, or three times that of the corresponding serious or very serious offence, and use of radar inhibiting devices which carries a fine of 6,000 €).
The following cases will be sanctioned with a fine of 1.000 €:
- Driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
- Driving with a blood alcohol rate higher than the maximum level established by law when the driver has been fined for the same concept the immediately prior year.
- Driving with twice the blood alcohol level allowed by law.
- Refusing to submit to an alcohol and drug test when the individual is involved in any traffic or infringement incident.
These amounts are standardised and independent of the body imposing the fine or the place where the offence was committed.
Fines for failing to identify the driver who committed the offence
The LSV envisages the following to identify the driver:
The registered owner, whether an individual or a legal entity, can identify the driver who committed the offence, but at present there is no obligation to do so if the reported offence concerns parking, even in the case of a legal entity. Legal entities are only obliged to identify the driver if the reported offence involves a moving vehicle.
The fine for failing to identify a driver when one is obliged to, or any case in which identification is false, is calculated in relation to the original fine:
- For minor offences the amount is double that of the original fine (for example, if the fine is 70 €, the final amount for failing to identify the driver is 140 €)
- For serious or very serious offences the amount is three times that of the original fine (for example, if the fine is 200 €, the final amount for failing to identify the driver is 600 €, or if the fine is 500 €, the final amount is 1,500 €)
The individual who is held liable is the person responsible for an act, taking into account the following cases:
- If a pillion passenger does not wear a helmet, liability is transferred to the driver of the vehicle.
- If the driver is not identified at the time of the offence or afterwards, the liable person is the individual who appears in the Registro de conductores habituales (Register of habitual drivers) or, failing that, the registered owner of the vehicle.
- In the case of rented vehicles the liable person is the rentee.
- It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure that the person driving the vehicle holds a driving licence. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure that a foreigner driving the vehicle is authorised to drive in Spain.
If fines are paid within 20 days after notification, a 50% reduction will be applied, except for fines involving failure to identify the driver and fines for using radar inhibiting devices.
When a traffic offence is committed, a green ticket, the report slip, is handed to the driver if possible or attached to the vehicle. Reports can also be generated by image capturing devices (video and photo-radar).
In the majority of towns the fine for exceeding the time limit for parking in a blue zone can be cancelled by paying the corresponding amount at the ticket machines, but this is generally not possible if the fine is for not having a ticket on display in a parked vehicle.
A sanction procedure starts
- When the notification is handed over by an officer at the time of the offence, which means that that notification has been given and the sanction report has been initiated.
- If it is not possible to issue a ticket at the time of the offence, notification of the report will be sent to the address of the habitual driver, long-term rentee or the owner who appears in the registers of the Dirección General de Tráfico (Highway Administration).
There are two kinds of sanction procedure: the short and the standard procedure.
Once notification has been received, the offender has 20 days to pay the fine, with a reduction of 50%, or submit a statement of dispute:
- If payment is made before the 20-day deadline, the administrative procedure finalises and statements of dispute may not be submitted. Any statements that are received are disregarded. Only litigious appeals can be lodged directly. SHORT PROCEDURE.
- If payment is not made before the 20-day deadline and a statement of dispute is submitted, a sentence will be pronounced. Rejection of the statement involves a sanction proposal and there is a 15-day period for submitting further statements of dispute to present new evidence. If no further statements are submitted, the sanction sentence stands and the administrative procedure finalises. An appeal for revision can be lodged against the sentence, or a litigious appeal can be lodged directly at the administrative court. If further statements are submitted after receiving the sanction proposal, a sanction sentence is issued and the administrative procedure finalises. An appeal for revision can be lodged against the sentence, or a litigious appeal can be lodged directly at the administrative court. STANDARD PROCEDURE. Reductions do not apply to amounts in sanction proposals and sentences.
- If in the standard procedure a statement of dispute is submitted within the 20-day period, the sanction procedure is interrupted until a sentence is pronounced on the statement.
There are two deadlines for paying fines concerning minor, serious or very serious offences that do not entail loss of driving licence points, when the ticket is handed to the offender on the spot, or sent to the offender's official address (except fines involving failure to identify the driver and fines on the use of radar inhibiting devices):
- If payment is made before the first deadline (a 20-day period), the amount is reduced by 50% and the offender relinquishes the possibility of submitting statements of dispute and identifying the driver, if this was required.
- No reductions are applied for payment before the second deadline. If payment is not made and no statements of dispute are submitted, an enforcement procedure is initiated. If payment is not made but a statement of dispute is submitted within a 20-day period, the procedure is interrupted until a sentence is pronounced. Resolution does not admit Appeal for reversal.
Offence reports concerning failure to identify the driver, having radar inhibiting devices as well as serious and very serious offences notified at the offender's address and entailing loss of driving licence points are always dealt with through the standard procedure.
Payment before the deadline
If a traffic offence ticket is not handed over on the spot by the reporting officer or the alleged offender does not submit a statement of dispute, BASE-Gestió d'Ingressos gives notification of the offence report, in a period of three months from the date of the offence for minor offences, and six months for serious and very serious offences.
BASE-Gestió d'Ingressos sends notification through the post to the vehicle owner's address as stated in the registers of the Dirección General de Tráfico (Highway Administration). If notification can not be given, a second attempt is made on a different day and time. If the second attempt also fails, the notification is published in the TEU (Official Gazette) , and notification is considered notified and will begin disciplinary proceedings.
Once notification has been received or published, there is a 20-day period for payment with a 50% reduction (except for cases specified in the traffic laws) or to submit statements of dispute. If a statement of dispute is drawn up against the offence report, the offence report number, the vehicle's registration number and the date of the offence must be stated.
Several fines can be imposed on the same day involving different stretches of road. For example: on different stretches of a single road, there may be several speed-check radars or traffic lights.
A vehicle is considered "stopped", not parked, when it is not moving for a short period of time to let people get in or out, or to load or unload objects. The driver needs to remain inside or by the vehicle, ready to move it if required to do so. One case where a vehicle is not considered "stopped" is when it is double parked.
A vehicle is considered "parked" when it is not moving for a long period of time and left under the conditions specified in the regulations. The vehicle must be left in such a way as to not be able to move on its own account or be moved by a third party.
Offences involving drink driving or that require roadside breath tests are categorised as very serious. Blood alcohol content resulting in an offence according to Royal Decree 1428/2003 of 21 November:
- Motorists and cyclists: over 0.25 mg/l alcohol in a breath sample (0.5 g/l in blood).
- Drivers of lorries with a maximum weight of over 3,500 kg, buses, public service vehicles, school buses, emergency vehicles, special transport and drivers transporting minors, dangerous goods as well as drivers of any kind of vehicle whose driving licence is less than two years old: over 0.15 mg/l alcohol in a breath sample (0.3 g/l in blood).
Driving offences related to driving under the influence of narcotics, psychoactive medication, stimulants or any similar substances, as well as refusing to a undergo breath test are categorised as very serious. This applies to motorists and cyclists who have ingested or introduced into their bodies psychoactive substances, stimulants or similar products, including medicines and other substances that alter the physical or mental abilities of a person to drive safely.
Period for final demand procedure
When the deadline for payment of the fine has passed, the period for enforced payment is initiated.
The final demand procedure starts with a final demand notification specifying the unpaid debt, issued by the BASE-Gestió d'Ingressos treasurer and sent to the liable individual. Enforced payment surcharges are added and the debtor is summoned to make the payment. If the liable individual does not pay before the established deadline, assets are seized.
The enforced payment surcharge is 5% and is applied when the outstanding debt is paid after the initial deadline and before the final demand notification.
If a final demand notification is issued, a reduced surcharge of 10% is applied if payment of the outstanding debt along with the surcharge is made before the second deadline along with the surcharge.
The standard surcharge is 20% of the outstanding amount. The standard surcharge is compatible with interest charged for late payment, calculated from the deadline date. If payment is not made before the deadline established in the final demand an order is issued for the seizure of assets and rights.
BASE-Gestió d'Ingressos inspects any accounts the liable person may have to seize the outstanding amount. When a seizure order is issued, the corresponding amount is retained in the account for 20 days. The seizure process is only stopped if an appeal is lodged along with a bank guarantee.
If it is not possible to cover the debt through seizure of a bank account, a warrant is issued for the seizure of the vehicle. Seizure of other assets is also possible.
Reasons for making claims after the deadline
The following claims will be considered against the final demand procedure:
a. Payment or settlement of the debt.
c. Payment in instalments or deferral.
d. Failure to notify the required amount or suspension of the notification
e. Death of the liable individual.
f. No other claims are admitted.
Only the following reasons for claims against a seizure order will be considered:
a. Expiry of the debt or prescription of the right to demand payment.
b. Failure to notify the final demand.
c. Non-compliance with seizure regulations specified in the General Tax Law.
d. Adjournment of the debt collection procedure.
Prescription and expiry
Minor offences prescribe after three months, serious and very serious offences after six months. Calculation of prescription starts on the day of the offence report and is interrupted by any administrative action the liable individual has knowledge of.
The procedure expires if, one year after initiation, no sanction statement has been issued.
The right to demand payment of a fine through a final demand procedure expires four years after it becomes enforceable.
Payment of traffic fines
The amount of the fine must be paid in full within a 15-day period from the day after the notification of the sanction ruling, or, in those cases where a ruling is understood to have been issued, after 30 days from the notification of the driving offence report.
If the fine is not paid before the deadline, the enforced payment process is initiated and surcharges, interest and applicable costs are added to the debt.
Where and how must it be paid?
At the collaborating entities listed on the official payment form using one of the following methods of payment:
- In person, at branch offices of the financial institutions.
- ATM, if the collaborating entity offers this service.
- Phone banking, if the collaborating entity offers this service.
- Internet, by bank transfer or using a debit or credit card.
The offence report or the notification, sent by BASE via certified mail with acknowledgement of receipt, is needed to complete the transaction. If you do not receive it you can request a copy from any of the BASE offices.
Regulation of traffic fines
Traffic fines are regulated by:
- The Texto refundido de la Ley sobre tráfico, circulación de vehículos a motor y seguridad vial (Comprehensive text of the Law governing Traffic, Motorised Vehicles and Road Safety), approved by Royal Legislative Decree 6/2015, of 30 October.
- Regulations on sanctions procedures for traffic, motorised vehicles and road safety, approved by Royal Decree 320/1944, of 25 February; ;
FAQs - Frequently asked questions
1. Must traffic offences be notified at the time they occur?
In general, the driver is notified at the time of the offence. They can be notified at a later date only for specific reasons, such as the absence of the driver, or when the vehicle cannot be stopped on the spot. The reason should be stated in the notification of the offence.
2. Where should notification of a traffic offence be sent to?
The address the notification is sent to is that expressly designated by the interested party. If one is not expressly designated, the notification is sent to the address which figures in the register of drivers and driving offenders, and of vehicles, respectively.
3. Must I notify change of address?
Yes. Change of address for both driving licences and ownership of vehicles must be notified to the offices of the Jefatura de Tráfico (Traffic Board).
4. What is the time limit for sending in dispute statements once the offence has been notified?
Statements of dispute and evidence that the presumed offender considers adequate as a defence must be sent in within a period of 15 days from the day after notification of the offence.
5. What should be done if the driver is not the owner of the vehicle at the time of the presumed offence?
When the owner of the vehicle receives notification of the driving offence, they must identify, within 15 days, the driver presumed responsible for the traffic offence.
Failure to comply with this obligation may be considered a serious offence, carrying a fine of between 301 and 1,500 euros. The same fine may be applied to the owner of the vehicle if, as a result of their action, it is impossible to notify the driver they have identified.
6. What is the prescriptive period of the offence?
The limitation for minor traffic offences is three months, six months for serious offences, and a year for very serious offences.
This period is interrupted by notification of the offence or any action by the public administration to make the presumed offender aware of the offence or to find out their identity and address.
7. What is the time limit for resolving a presumed traffic offence?
The time limit is one year from the start of the procedure.
If sentence has not been pronounced within this time period, the file is closed and can be archived at the request of any interested party or by the official competent to dictate the sentence.
This is not the case when the procedure is held up due to action by interested parties or suspended due to legal or administrative procedures carried out by other administrations with sanctioning powers.
8. Can an appeal be lodged against the fine?
Yes. Within a month from the day after receiving the notification, an appeal can be lodged, at the mayor’s office, against the sentence to pay the fine for an offence against the rules and regulations in the Ley de Seguridad Vial (Road Traffic Law).
An appeal must be lodged if the interested party plans to go through the process of administrative litigation.
9. What is the prescriptive period once the fine has been imposed?
Fines through public administration prescribe after one year, but the period is interrupted by actions taken to execute the sanction.
10. Is the owner of a vehicle obliged to notify its transfer?
Yes. Transfer of a vehicle must be notified at the offices of the Jefatura de Tráfico (Traffic Board), within 10 days. Articles 32 and 33 of the Reglamento General de Vehículos (general regulations regarding vehicles), approved by Real Decreto (Royal Decree) 2822/1998, 23 December, lists the necessary documentation, which includes the vehicle licence.
Until the person who transfers the vehicle complies with this obligation, they will still be considered the owner of the vehicle when it comes to legal matters of traffic, circulation and road safety, and a corresponding sanctions procedure may still be opened.
11. What is the procedure for collecting fines not paid within the deadline?
Fines not paid by the deadline are collected through final demand procedures, regulated in the Reglamento General de Recaudación (rules on tax collection), approved by Real Decreto (Royal Decree) 939/2005, 29 July.
The corresponding surcharge and interest for late payment are added at the start of the period of enforced collection.
An appeal can be lodged against a final demand, for the reasons stated in article 167.3 of the Ley General Tributaria (General Tax Law), within one month from the day after receiving notification.