If you are the owner of a spanish registered road vehicle, you may already know from personal experiences just how erratic the system of being awarded, and receiving fines for motoring offences can be here in Spain.
Such fines are usually given for speeding or parking offences, but can extend to other infractions such as not wearing your seatbelt, not having your lights switched on where necessary or having defective equipment or travelling with an unsafe load.
It is not unusual for the owner of a vehicle to receive notification of such a fine (known in spain as 'multas') being issued through the post many months after the event. In these circumstances the owner can often have no memory of such an offence being committed - or even if they were driving the vehicle themselves.
It is also possible that your vehicle may have been cloned, and that it is the 'impostor' that has occurred the fine - in most cases miles away from where you and your vehicle are based and in a place where you have never even been to.
There have also been cases where notifications were sent out in the post, but never received by the owner and it can be many months later - usually upon selling the vehicle - that the owner is made aware that there are outstanding fines to be paid, often with penalties for overdue payment of a fine that you never knew you had !
Even the process of buying a second hand vehicle can be a tricky : as spanish law dictates that any such fine is attached to the vehicle itself, any new owner can find themselves liable for a number of outstanding fines which can make a seemingly good bargain become an expensive nightmare.
By who and how are fines these administered ?
First of all, it needs to be said that because the bureaucracy and administration surrounding such fines is so erratic, there is no definitive answer - and as such this article is intended as a generic guide only.
Moving on, because different police forces take responsibility for different infractions and resulting fines, it also means that different multas need to be checked with different agencies. the various 'multas' have been split into parking fines (generally administered by the Policia Local and collected by the appropriate Ayuntamiento) and speeding & motoring offences (generally administered by the Guardia Civil, and collected by the Dirección General de Tráfico). Note the use of the word 'generally'.
If you wish to find out about any existing fines that may have been administered against any vehicle you may own (or may be about to purchase) you can do this by clicking here.
you will need to enter the NIE number of the registered owner and the registration number of the vehicle itself and the website will search official journals to check your details for outstanding fines.
If your check returns notification of an outstanding fine you can contact the relevant ayuntamiento directly to arrange payment, or appeal against the decision. it is not unheard of to receive notification of a parking offence from a town that you have never heard of. Sometimes this is simply a typing or handwriting area, more rarely from a cloned vehicle. If you do contest the fine make sure you write asking for a copy of the original ticket, keep a copy of all correspondence and send your letter by certified mail.
# This is not an official government website and is owned and operated by a third party who scan official newsletters & bulletins
# You can choose to enter your mobile phone or e mail address to receive notification if and when your details appear on such bulletins
# It also covers any fines when the owner could not be immediately contacted (ie speed cameras)
# The small print of the website notes that the service only covers outstanding fines where the owner had not already been notified by post (ie if the notification had been posted but not received it may not appear here.
Speeding & motoring offences
Generally you will already know if you have received such a fine as they are issued to you personally (unless in the case of being caught by speed camera, in which case see above) and as such the process of how to pay the fine (or appeal against it) will appear on the back of the ticket itself.
As of may 2010, it has been possible to pay such a fine online by credit or debit card simply by clicking on the dgt website here and entering your document number. If you chose, you can also pay by going into any branch of the banco santander or post office. If payment is made within 20 calendar days the fine will be reduced by 50 %.
The fine can be appealed by writing to the tráfico (in any language) stating reasons for the appeal together with the document/ fine reference, however, any appeal must be made within 15 days and if your appeal should not be upheld you will not be eligible for the 50% reduction for prompt payment of the fine.