The Spanish criminal law defines assault as any type of harmfulness which impairs one’s physical or mental health. Article 147.1 from the Penal Code differentiates the types of assault based on the medical treatment received by the victim and therefore, highlights the penalties correspondent to each category type: “the one that, through any means, impairs the bodily or mental integrity of a person, will be held liable, as the criminal, with a penalty of imprisonment from 3 months to 3 years or a fine from 6 to 12 months, given the assault objectively imposes a medical or surgical treatment for the victim’s health, in addition to an initial, voluntary medical consultation.

The sole monitoring of the injury or the performing of an unnecessary medical procedure – will not be considered medical treatment.” Therefore, the medical treatment required by the victim identifies two types of physical assault: a misdemeanor assault, which results in a criminal fine (DELITO LEVE DE LESIONES), and a felony assault which implies much harsher legal consequences, such as imprisonment (DELITO DE LESIONES).

How to denounce physical assault

Regardless of the type of assault experimented by the victim, the crime can be reported to the authorities through a complaint. The victim must go to a medical clinic as close to the moment of the crime as possible and obtain a certificate that attests the medical assistance received. Even if the injury is not serious (a scratch, a bruise) or it doesn’t expose any physical signs, it must be reported at the time of the medical inspection. The certificate of medical assistance can validate the discomfort whether there are signs of the injury or not. This document will be then submitted to the police, where the victim will file the criminal complaint.

At this point, the person assaulted must report the crime. Although it is legally not mandatory to be assisted by a lawyer, the lack of a legal consultant at the time the report is formulated is not recommended, as the possible mistakes committed by a person with no legal expertise can affect the entire process that follows. The lawyers at Marin& Pasalodos in Barcelona are at your service for all legal assistance regarding the crime of physical assault, in the scope of obtaining a satisfactory result.

Physical Assault

Physical assault as a misdemeanor 

For the crime of assault to be considered a misdemeanor and to impose a lesser penalty, the injury must not demand a medical or surgical treatment as a result of the initial consultation – thus, if the victim does not require a second consultation or does not show visible signs of injury it is possible that the crime will be punished with a fine.  

In addition to the fine the aggressor must pay, the victim is entitled to a compensation (civil liability). The value of the compensation will be determined based on the injuries provoked, the time needed to reach full recovery and other significant consequences that have arisen. The compensation will also include the cost of personal damage such as glasses, phone, clothes, if they were destroyed at the moment the crime was committed.   

To calculate the amount of the fine to be paid, the financial capacity of the accused is to be considered (their income). To calculate the sum of the compensation, the severity of the injuries, the number of days the victim requires for full recovery (medical discharge), and the consequences risen by the crime in the daily life of the victim are analyzed by the authorities.

Physical assault as a felony

Physical assault is penalized with imprisonment when the aggressed person requires a medical treatment and therefore, their wounds necessitate more than one consultation from the doctor. If the victim is hospitalized, demands a surgical intervention, stitches, if an arm or a leg is in plaster or they are in need of physiotherapy treatment, the crime is regarded as a felony.

In this instance, the victim is again entitled to compensation. The physical assault which leads to a medical or surgical treatment is punished with imprisonment from 3 months to 3 years or a fine from 6 to 12 months.

The serious assault offence (DELITO DE LESIONES AGRAVADO) is defined as the act in which the aggressor uses dangerous guns, objects, or methods in order to inflict violence on victims under 12 years old, on vulnerable persons, or on former romantic partners. This type of assault is punished with 2 to 5 years in prison, and if the injury involves the loss or permanent damage of a major organ, impotence, sterility, or a serious deformity, the aggressor can be condemned to 6 to 12 years of imprisonment.

Domestic violence in Spain

The Spanish law distinguishes domestic violence from other types of physical assault through the principles underlined in the legal category „Violencia de Genero.” According to these principles, the violence committed by a man against a woman, specifically if she is or had been the man’s romantic partner and regardless of the living conditions of each party (if they had or had not lived together), is a crime punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year and/or restricting order.

If the physical aggression act is not an isolated case and the repetitive character of the domestic violence is acknowledged, the possible punishment for the crime will be increased from 6 months to 3 years in prison. The penalty could reach 5 years of imprisonment if the wound caused necessitates medical treatment (stitches, surgical intervention, fractured bones, rehabilitative or physiotherapy treatment).

In the case of child involvement, the aggressor can be penalized with a restriction of visiting rights, as well as the loss of their right to participate in the child’s health and education for a period of up to 5 years.

No matter the legal principles which define the act of physical assault experienced, the competent authority will impose a restricting order from when the complaint is filed and until the solutioning of the case. If the Court finds the accused guilty of gender violence, the order can be extended from 4 months to 10 years. 

If you consider that the legal circumstances previously expanded upon are applicable to your situation, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at the law office Marin&Pasalodos in Barcelona. The team of Romanian lawyers, specialized in criminal law, civil law, family and work law can offer you assistance and legal guidance with the end goal of solutioning all possible legal issues. We are at your service at the phone number (0034) 932006766 and through email at the address We thank you for your trust!

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