When you hear the agent talking on the street about the "gag law" they are referring to the Organic Law for the Protection of Citizen Security that came into force in March 2015.
Content and purposes of the gag law
Taking into account article 1 of Organic Law 4/2015, of March 30, on the Protection of Citizen Security, this regulation seeks to normalize actions of a different nature aimed at defending citizen security.
Other purposes of the gag law are:
- Protection of the free exercise of fundamental rights.
- Ensure the proper functioning of the institutions.
- Respect for the laws, peace and citizen security in the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.
- Defense of people and property with special attention to minors.
- Guarantee normality in the provision of public services.
- Prevent the commission of crimes and administrative infractions.
- Transparency in the actions of public authorities in matters of citizen security.
The authorities have the possibility of preparing orders and prohibitions, as well as carrying out the police actions that are essential to achieve the objectives that we have explained to you previously. For example, article 15.2 of the Organic Law provides that they may access homes in order to avoid immediate and serious damage to persons or objects in cases of catastrophe, calamity or other cases of extreme and urgent need.
Article 20 of the gag law states that external body searches or pat-downs of citizens may be carried out if the authorities have any indication or suspicion that the person in question may be carrying a relevant instrument or object.
Violations of the gag law
The gag law considers the following types of infractions:
A. Minor infractions: for example, consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces, when such practice disturbs public peace; let loose dangerous animals; lacking an identity document or the refusal to identify yourself when requested by the authorities; acts of obscene indecent exposure; illegal occupation of real estate; or damage to public or private property.
B. Serious offences: for example, blocking public roads with containers, garbage cans or cars; the possession or consumption of narcotic or psychotropic drugs; or the unauthorized use of images or personal data of authorities or members of the State Security Forces and Corps.
C. Very serious offences: for example, demonstrations or meetings that are not communicated or prohibited in facilities where basic services for the community or manufacture, storage, sale or use of regulatory weapons, cartridges or fireworks are presented.
There are three types of economic punishments, depending on the seriousness of the infraction you have committed:
1. Minor offences: they are punishable by fines of between 100 and 600 euros.
2. Serious offences: they are punishable by fines of between 601 and 30,000 euros.
3. Very serious offences: they are punishable by fines of between 30,001 and 600,000 euros.