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Understanding Penalties for Minors in Spain



In Spain, the Organic Law on Juvenile Criminal Responsibility regulates the penalties that can be imposed on minors who commit crimes. On the other hand, the Penal Code establishes that any offense committed by a minor entails criminal responsibility, but with special conditions.


Juvenile criminal responsibility is demanded from the moment a juvenile commits an offense and according to the age of the offender. However, the age of the minor determines both the criminal responsibility and the legal framework that applies.


Penalties or sanctions for criminal responsibility imposed on a minor in Spain have an educational and preventive objective. Due to this, and depending on the severity, custodial measures may or may not be applied.


The Organic Law 5/2000, dated January 12, is responsible for regulating juvenile criminal responsibility in Spain. This law applies to individuals under the age of eighteen but over fourteen who commit acts classified as offenses or crimes in criminal laws or the Penal Code.


The Spanish legal system considers individuals accountable from the age of 14, but due to criminal policy reasons, it is considered unnecessary to apply the same legal consequences as those imposed on adults.


The Juvenile Criminal Responsibility Law (JCR Law) establishes an age range between 14 and 18 years old. Within this range, minors are declared criminally responsible but are subject to a special legal framework.


Article 19 of the current Penal Code establishes that the age of criminal majority is eighteen. Furthermore, it requires the express regulation of the criminal responsibility of minors of that age according to juvenile criminal law with an independent law.


The penalties or sanctions for criminal responsibility that can be imposed on a minor in Spain have an educational and preventive purpose. Due to this, and depending on the severity, custodial measures may or may not be applied.


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