Differences between Public, Private and Semi-public Crimes in Spain
In order to make the differentiation between public, private and semi-public crimes clearer, we establish the following differences based on three factors:
1.- Pursuitability is one of the clear differences between the three types of crime:
Public Crime: Ex officio and also any person or institution that has knowledge can denounce.
Private Crime: The authorities do not promote this criminal proceedings. A complaint from the affected person signed by a lawyer and solicitor is required.
Semi-public crime: To start the criminal procedure, a complaint from the victim is required. The Public Prosecutor's Office can act ex officio when the victim is a minor or a person with a disability who needs protection.
2.- The affected legal right is another element that facilitates the distinction between them:
In public crimes, a legal right of general interest is violated. It not only affects the victim, but the system.
However, in private crime it is absolutely particular. It is only the person the one directly affected by the crime. It has no general interest.
In the semi-public, the intimacy or autonomy of the victim is involved but there are social repercussions.
3.- The possibility of paralyzing the procedure is also a divergence between the three. When the affected person regrets filing the complaint or criminal claim against the alleged offender, the process will not always stop:
Public: The Public Prosecutor's Office does not paralyze the criminal procedure due to the forgiveness of the victim.
Private: It is possible to end the criminal procedure with the forgiveness of the victim.
Semi-public: Once the complaint is filed, the procedure will continue its course beyond the victim's pardon.