The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirms that hundreds of British citizens are arrested across Europe each year whilst living in or visiting Spain. Most of whom have little or no understanding of the laws in Spain or their rights whilst detained.

To be arrested for most people is a daunting and upsetting experience being arrested abroad is far more disturbing. A person often faces a language barrier with no idea how to access any help. The single most important contact to make is with an English-speaking criminal lawyer. The multi-lingual criminal defence lawyers in Giambrone & Partners in our Spanish offices have a wealth of experience assisting British citizens following their arrest.

Gonzalo Butori, apartner, commented "if you are arrested in Spain you should not assume that the Spanish authorities will regard the reason for your arrest in the same way as the British authorities or that you will be treated in the same way as you would be in the UK." Gonzalo further remarked "also, if you are allowed to return to the UK this does not necessarily mean that you will not face trial at a later stage. On no account must you ignore a request to return to Spain for trial even if it is some considerable time after the incident. Our expert criminal lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with British citizens arrested in Spain and presenting plausible arguments for their release"

On arrest, you can be detained for 72 hours whilst the offence is being considered during which time you should contact the British Consulate and most importantly, an English-speaking Spanish criminal lawyer. A duty lawyer may be offered to you but there is no guarantee that the lawyer will have sufficiently good English to be of help to you. The British Consulate may be able to extend some assistance but their assistance is discretionary.

When the 72 hours have expired you will either be released or brought before a judge. Depending on the category of crime you are arrested for you may be permitted to return to the UK and recalled some months later to stand trial.

The case, reported today, of the British woman under arrest for an alleged personal injury scam, if found guilty is facing a sentence under seriousoffences (delitos) which will be at least six years' imprisonment, possibly longer, plus a substantial fine. If imprisoned she will almost certainly have to remain in a Spanish prison. In some instances, individuals can be detained in a British prison.

Our criminal defence lawyers are well-regarded for their assistance where they have successfully prevented the possibility of a custodial sentence for our clients.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.