Unpaid fines in Spain

Spain has pursued a very successful policy in recent years to reduce road traffic fatalities. As part of this policy, controls on speeding, drink-driving and the use of mobile phones at the wheel, among others, have been put in place. All drivers in Spain are obliged to respect Spanish traffic regulations.

What happens if I get a fine in Spain and I don’t pay it? Spanish traffic regulations establish three different deadlines for paying a fine:

  • Reduced payment: if you pay during the first 20 days from the notification, you pay only 50% of the fine. This period restarts when a second notification is sent, for example when the driver is identified. However, the details of the owner of the vehicle remain on file.
  • Full payment: three weeks after the person concerned receives the notification, the fine must be paid in full.
  • Increased payment: when six months have passed since the start of the period for reduced payment, the Spanish authorities can demand the full amount of the fine plus a 20% surcharge and the applicable legal interest.

Limitation period for fines in Spain

The legal statute of limitations for traffic fines in Spain is four years. The Spanish authorities keep a register of traffic offences which can be consulted by registration number and by vehicle owner or driver.

If you have an unpaid fine in Spain and are stopped by the Guardia Civil de Tráfico or any other Spanish authority you may be required to pay any outstanding fine on the spot. If you fail to pay on the spot the Spanish authorities can immobilise the vehicle until the debt is paid.

If you have an unpaid fine in Spain you can pay it by credit card or bank transfer.

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