Drivers to jail. These are the 6 traffic crimes punishable by imprisonment

Since March 2, after its publication in the Official Gazette, the list of traffic crimes that can lead a driver to jail has been increased. And is that not only punish the most serious negligence, but also some of the less serious if as a result of the accident that has occurred severe injuries, but not invalidating any user of the road.

By land and air, the deployment of means with which the DGT monitors us

New criminal types are also introduced, such as the omission of the duty of relief, or hardships and penalties in the most extreme cases in which there are many fatalities. Thus, it is more than foreseeable that the nearly one million crimes against trafficking and 600,000 convictions counted from December 2017 until the entry into force of the new reform, will increase considerably in the coming months.

To date, according to the latest report “Crimes and road crime” published by the Línea Directa Foundation, there are 1,200 drivers in prison serving sentences for crimes against road safety.


What traffic crimes are punishable by jail


  • Independent crime of omission of the duty of relief. Penalties will range between 3-6 months in prison if the accident
    It is fortuitous and 2-4 years if it is the result of recklessness.
  • Serious imprudence and hardening of sentences as a consequence . Below you can review how the most serious indiscretions such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or speeding are typified. However, what has changed now is the harshness of the consequences if, in that situation, an accident is caused:
    The penalty of imprisonment of 4 years, goes to 6, if in the loss two people die or there is a dead person and a serious wounded.
    However, when there are multiple deaths in the accident – something to be decided by a judge – the new maximum prison sentence for a traffic offense is set at 9 years in prison. To these the 4 years could be added by omission of the duty of aid in case this happened, reaching 13 years of prison in such an extreme case.
  • Speeding. Exceeding the speed allowed in 60 km / h on urban roads and 80 km / h on interurban roads.
    Penalties of between three and six months in jail .
    In addition to a fine of three to six months (payment of a daily fee that is usually established based on the purchasing power of the driver, works to help the community for a period between 30 and 90 days and the withdrawal of driving license of one to four years.
  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs at the wheel . Driving with an alcohol rate higher than the allowed one can be infraction or crime. If the figure in expired air exceeds 0.60 mg / l or if driving under the influence of drugs and narcotics, the penalty is three months’ imprisonment .
    In addition, a fine of six to 12 months is paid, community assistance works for 31/90 days and withdrawal of the permit between one and four years
  • Reckless driving . It is understood by such driving with manifest temerity. Here are different considerations:
    • Driving at speeds or with alcohol rates higher than those considered a crime. In these cases, the prison sentence ranges from six months to two years, plus the withdrawal of a driver’s license between one and six years.
    • Driving with manifest contempt the life of others raises the minimum penalty of imprisonment to two years and the maximum penalty to five years. In addition, in these cases the vehicle is requisitioned and the driver faces a fine of between 12 and 24 months and the withdrawal of the driving license for up to 10 years. It would be, for example, the case of the kamikaze driver who caused a serious accident on the A-8.
    • Driving recklessly but without endangering the lives of others leads to prison terms of one to two years, a fine of six to 12 months and withdrawal of the permit from six to 10 years. The vehicle with which the infraction has been committed is requisitioned.
  • Refusing to pass a control . If the Civil Guard stops you and you refuse to take the alcohol or drug test, you will be committing a crime punishable by six months to one year in prison.
  • Create risk for circulation . This crime is much more difficult to define but if the traffic agents consider that your behavior poses a risk to the traffic they can accuse you of a traffic offense that can take you to prison between three and six months. Perhaps you will be free of this, but not of paying a fine for one or two years and of carrying out community support work for a period between 10 and 40 days.
  • Driving without a license . Losing all points of the permit or driving after a judge has prohibited you from doing so is a crime (here is a handy to know how many points you have left). It is also to get behind the wheel of a car if you have never taken the permit or if yours has lost its validity. The penalty is imprisonment between six months and two years, the payment of a fine of up to two years and community support work between 31 and 90 days.

What has to happen for a driver to go to jail


17% of Spanish drivers admit to having committed a crime against road safety. The affirmation sounds strong , but is that driving having taken a couple of drinks or exceeding 200 km / h on a highway are crimes.

What they do not know is that these actions can lead them to spend a season in the shade .

Today, those related to trafficking account for 35% of crimes committed in Spain (above crimes of injury or theft). The proportion of trials that end in conviction has increased significantly in recent years, from 66% of trials in 2008 to 85% in 2015.

Now, this does not mean that all convicted drivers end up in jail.


The Penal Code establishes the possibility that the judge allows drivers who have been sentenced to less than two years of imprisonment not to be imprisoned as long as they do not have a criminal record .

Eye, that this does not mean that all the condemned to less than two years without antecedents are freed of its passage by prison, the decision remains in the hands of the judge. And although it is true that it is an extended practice, it does not always apply.

Mario Arnaldo, president of the association Automoviles Europeos Asociados (AEA) explains to us the great change that came in 2017. “With the new Penal Code, anyone who commits a reckless homicide as a consequence of a crime of trafficking has a prison sentence.”

Reckless homicide is punishable by imprisonment for between one and four years . This means that the judge can choose in that section the sentence imposed on the author of the facts. However, in 2007, it was decided that when the death was the consequence of a traffic offense (something that happens in 14% of road fatalities), the judge would have to impose a penalty higher than the upper half of the sentence, this is, 2.6 months.

“In this way it is possible that nobody who, for example, causes a hit with the result of death is left without going through jail,” explains Arnaldo.

The most common crime is to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs

crime,alcohol or drugs

Of the approximately 650,000 convictions handed down between December 2007 and April 2017, 60% were for alcohol and drug use. Behind are crimes by driving without driving license (27%), causing a serious risk to the circulation (7%) and refusing to do a drug or alcohol test (3.5%).

However, of the 1,200 inmates currently serving sentences in prison, 39% were convicted of driving without a permit and 22% were convicted of reckless homicide .

The Farruquito case, a before and after

Farruquito case

On September 29, 2003, a BMW skipped a red light at high speed (it was running at 90 km / h in a zone limited to 40 km / h). As a result of his imprudence, the driver ran over a young man of 35 years. I kill him.

The case occupied many headlines because the driver who committed the crime against the traffic was Farruquito, a well-known flamenco dancer .

Three and a half years later, Farruquito was sentenced to three years in prison , two for reckless homicide and one more for failure to provide assistance.

Of the 36 months of sentence, he only spent 14 in prison. His case opened the debate and was the driving force behind the reform of the Criminal Code, which was approved a few months later. Many say that the bailaor was the victim of an exemplary sentence , but the truth is that since the legislative reform was approved almost 3,000 people have lost their lives on the asphalt because of the criminal behavior of other drivers.

X-ray of the condutor-delinquent

The last report of the Línea Directa Foundation shows that although young drivers aged between 18 and 24 years old recognize that they have committed more crimes at the wheel, most of the sentences correspond to men between 41 and 50 years old.

The report also shows that although 1.2 million drivers admit having exceeded 200 km / h on a motorway, only 0.6% of convictions are for speeding (this would call into question the effectiveness of the radars of the DGT, do not you think?).

By autonomous communities, the Balearic Islands, Murcia and Galicia , are the regions with the highest number of drivers sentenced to prison for crimes against traffic. On the opposite side are Cantabria, Extremadura and Aragon , with rates much lower than the Spanish average.

By type of crime, Catalonia turns out to be the Community with the highest proportion of convictions for speeding and for refusing to carry out alcohol or drug detection tests. For its part, the Balearic Islands leads the ranking in driving offenses under the influence of alcohol and drugs and Murcia, driving without a license.