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How long does it take for a complaint to reach you?

Criminal law
How long does it take for a complaint to reach you?

Whether you are the complainant or the defendant, you may wonder how long it takes for a complaint to arrive.

If you are the one reporting someone else, it is because you are seeking to protect your rights against conduct that harms you.

But if you think you may have been reported, you are probably worried about the consequences of a report and when you will receive it.

In this article we explain what a report is and how long it can take for you to be notified. 

What is a report?

Anyone can file a complaint, which is a statement in which you inform the authorities of conduct that is contrary to the law or regulations.

The complaint can be of two types, criminal or administrative.

- With a criminal complaint you inform the authorities of a conduct constituting a crime or misdemeanour as defined in the Penal Code.

- With an administrative denunciation you reveal certain infractions that contradict the provisions of administrative laws.

You can report different types of conduct: from an assault or a fight, to theft, drink-driving or verbal aggression such as threats or insults.

How long does it take for a complaint to reach you?

There is no exact answer to this question, because it depends on many factors involved in the process leading up to the notification of the complaint to the defendant.

As criminal lawyers we know that it can be very stressful to wait for any notification if you think you may have been reported.

From the moment someone has made a complaint, the legal procedure for processing the complaint begins, and one of the steps in the process is to notify the defendant of the complaint.

What factors influence the time it may take for a report to reach you?

The report may take more or less time to reach you, taking into account the following factors, such as:

- The pending work of the court where the complaint has arrived, which may delay the notification process.

- The place where it is processed (for example, more complaints are processed in a court in Madrid than in a court in a smaller town).

- The facts that are the object of the complaint (an administrative offence is not the same as a complaint for a crime against persons, which is considered much more serious).

- Lack of information or evidence, which can delay notification when the facts of the complaint are unclear or confusing.

- Delays by the postal service notifying you of the complaint.

Generally speaking, the average time for you to receive a complaint can be between two weeks and six months, depending on the specific event and the factors listed above.

The notification of the complaint is quicker in cases such as breathalysers when you are stopped at a checkpoint, where the police officers can notify you of the complaint at the same time in order to go to a speedy trial for breathalysing. 

Keep in mind that in these cases the deadlines are very short and it is essential that you contact a lawyer specialised in breathalysing as soon as possible. 

The same applies to cases related to gender violence, where the procedure is much faster in order to protect the victim.

In these cases the notification of the complaint is usually practically immediate, in order to process the speedy trial for gender violence as soon as possible. 

How do I know if I have been reported?

Most commonly, you will know that you have been reported when a notice arrives at your home.

Notifications also depend on the type of offence or criminal conduct.

In the most delicate cases, you will receive a notification for a procedure opened as a result of a complaint relating to a serious offence, where you will be notified to appear in court accompanied by a criminal lawyer.

Another possibility is when you are notified of the opening of a "Diligencias Previas", informing you that an investigation has been launched into some reported facts that may constitute a crime.

How do you know if you have been reported if you have not yet received the notification?

Imagine that you have been involved in a typical fight in a nightclub with other people.

You may think that you may have been reported, and this waiting time without news can be very stressful.

What can you do in these cases?

If you have been reported to the Guardia Civil or the Police, the officers will forward the proceedings to the Court, which will inform you of the complaint.

For your peace of mind and if you do not want to wait until you are notified to find out, you can go directly to the Court to get information.

There, by presenting your ID card, you can ask them to check whether you appear as a party in any open legal proceedings.

If the complaint has already been handed over to the corresponding court, you will be given information about the proceedings in which you appear.

What should I do if I think I have been reported?

For your peace of mind, it is important to know that many threats of denunciation remain just that, simply a "hot" threat, but do not become a reality.

If you are already aware that you have been reported, it is important not to lose your calm and to contact a criminal lawyer immediately to defend yourself.

In this way you can prepare your defence well and even consider reporting the other party if you have grounds to do so and have not done so until now.

This often happens in fights, where both parties are injured and report each other.

Your lawyer will explain the content of the complaint, and inform you of the procedure to ensure the best defence of your interests.

Criminal law

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