Minor threats in Spain: Concepts and types of offences

The crime of threats includes the action or expression that anticipates the intention of harming or endangering another person. It's typified and regulated in the Spanish Penal Code in articles 169 to 171.

Crime of threats

The crime of threats contains expressing the intention to cause future harm to an individual or their relatives.

The Penal Code states that anybody who threatens to cause harm to another person, their family and other persons with whom the latter is intimately linked may be committing the crime of threats.

Anybody who threatens another person with harming them, their family and other persons with whom they're intimately linked, which constitutes crimes of homicide, injury, abortion, against freedom, torture and against moral integrity, sexual freedom, privacy, honour, property and socio-economic order, will be punished:

1. A prison sentence of someone to five years, if the threat has been produced by demanding a sum of money or imposing any condition, even if it is not unlawful, and the guilty party has achieved their aim. If he has not succeeded, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a term of half a year to three years.

The penalties lay out in the earlier paragraph shall be increased by half if the threats are created in writing, by telephone or in the slightest of communication or reproduction, or for real or supposed entities or groups.

2. With a prison sentence of between six months and couple of years once the threat wasn't conditional.

Article 169 of the Criminal Code

However, a crime is not necessarily committed when threatening another person. The Penal Code specifies the requirements for threats to become criminal offence or not.

Requirements for a threat to become a criminal offence

This really is one of the very most subjective of all offences contained in the Criminal Code.

One individual can understand as a risk something that someone else might not do; therefore, it is essential to have reliable proof what happened (documents, witnesses, recordings, etc.) in order to manage to clarify ahead of the judge what each individual understands as a risk and under what circumstances it's occurred. As well as this, there must be certain requirements within the threat itself for the act to be understood as a crime.

Along with carrying out the action of threatening, the alleged perpetrator must carry out the threats with actions that constitute a crime.

Put simply, it is insufficient simply to threaten to commit the offence. It can be necessary that the action that is likely to cause harm to a different, that action with that your threat is created, is classified as a criminal offence.

An offense of threats is committed when, as well as the threat, this threat constitutes a crime of: homicide, injury, abortion, against freedom, torture, against moral integrity, against sexual freedom, intimacy, honour, patrimony or socio-economic order.

Example: when a person says to a different person "I'm going to kill you!", he is threatening and, furthermore, the very fact of killing takes its crime of homicide, so we are working with a crime of threats.

Example: when a person says to a different person "I'm not speaking with you any longer, don't ever talk if you ask me again!", this threat doesn't constitute a crime and therefore can not be classified as a frightening offence.

Forms of threatening offences and penalties

● Threats made by demanding an amount or imposing a number of conditions, even if these conditions aren't an offence. Example: "I'll kill you if you do not pay me your son's debt" ;.
○ When the offender achieves his objective: 1 to 5 years imprisonment.
○ If the offender doesn't achieve his objective: 6 months to 3 years imprisonment.

● Threat produced in a non-conditional manner. Example: "I'll kill you and your loved ones!
○ Sentence of 6 months to 2 years imprisonment.

● Threats made towards populations, ethnic, cultural or religious groups, a collective or some other band of persons:
○ Penalties higher in degree than those foreseen above.

● If the threats publicly necessitate the commission of terrorist acts:
○ Penalty of 6 months to 3 years imprisonment.

● Threatening with an evil that will not constitute danger when they're serious and with the objective assessment of the important points:
○ Penalty of 3 months to one year imprisonment or a fine of 6 to 24 months.

● If the offender achieves his objective: The penalty will be imposed in the top of half the sentence.

● When the threat consists of receiving an incentive in trade for not publishing or disseminating facts about the private life or family relations of another:

● Once the offender achieves his objective: Penalty of 2 to 4 years imprisonment.

If the offender does not succeed: 4 months to 2 years imprisonment.
If a risk is made to report a crime:

The prosecutor may not charge the offence if the offence is punishable by 2 years' imprisonment or less.

For more details check out insultar es delito (insulting is a crime).

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