Homicide is regulated in article 138 of the Penal Code. Homicide is considered when one person causes the death of another. If the perpetrator intends to kill, it is an intentional homicide. On the other hand, if the death occurs as a result of recklessness, it is an involuntary or manslaughter. This can be a traffic accident, or due to a fault or negligence, for example, an inexcusable error on the part of the doctor during a surgical operation, a death due to a work accident due to lack of security, etc.
Types of homicides and penalties stipulated for each one
The penalties will be different since killing someone on purpose is not as serious as doing it for not having taken sufficient care. When the homicide is involuntary, it carries a sentence of up to four years in prison, which can reach fifteen years if the homicide is intentional.
The section of penalties with which homicide is punished encompasses a very wide range, finding that reckless homicide is punishable with sentences of between 1 and 4 years and for when it is an intentional homicide, it ranges from 10 to 15 years in prison. .
Does the crime of homicide prescribe?
Article 131 of the Criminal Code states that the crimes prescribe:
- At twenty years, when the maximum penalty assigned to the crime is imprisonment for fifteen years or more.
- At fifteen, when the maximum penalty established by law is disqualification for more than ten years, or imprisonment for more than ten and less than fifteen years.
- At ten, when the maximum penalty established by law is imprisonment or disqualification for more than five years and not to exceed ten.
- At five, the other crimes, except minor crimes and the crimes of libel and slander, which prescribe after one year.
Likewise, this article indicates that the crimes of genocide and crimes against persons and property protected in case of armed conflict, except those punished in article 614, will not prescribe in any case.
And what is the crime of murder? Main differences with homicide
Murder is regulated in article 139 of the Penal Code and is conceived as a more serious form of homicide due to the criminal intensity it requires and the circumstances in which it is carried out.
The main difference between homicide and murder is that murder is considered an aggravated form of homicide due to the circumstances in which the death occurs: through treachery, cruelty, price or reward or promise, or when another is killed to facilitate the commission of another crime or avoid being discovered.
Why is murder more serious?
As we mentioned, the seriousness of the crime of murder is due to one of the following circumstances:
- Treachery: exists when the crime is committed using a form or means designed to deprive the victim of defense. It can be said that expressions of nocturnality (committing the crime at night when the defendant is prevented from defending himself) or wilderness (taking the victim to a place where he cannot ask for help and the attacker can benefit from it) are considered treacherous.
- Cruelty: occurs when the suffering of the victim is deliberately and inhumanly increased, causing suffering that is not necessary to cause his death. It could be considered cruelty to commit the act with repeated stabbing when it is the last stab that kills the offended person, but not, on the other hand, when it is the first stab, since, in this last case, the offended person no longer exists and no longer exists. cannot suffer.
- Concurrence of price, reward or promise: this situation occurs when the culprit acts for a reward or promise, the economic motive being the greatest seriousness that guides the death of the victim. They are all related to money, to the commercialization of the life of others.
- To facilitate the commission of another crime or to avoid discovery.
Stipulated penalties for murder
Murder can be punished with a sentence ranging from 15 to 25 years in prison, increasing the sentence to reviewable permanent prison when any of the following circumstances occur:
- That the victim is under sixteen years of age or is a person who is especially vulnerable due to age, illness or disability.
- That the murder be committed after having committed a crime against sexual freedom against the victim.
- That the crime is committed by a member of a criminal group or organization.
- That he has been convicted of the death of more than two people.
Does it prescribe a murder?
Pursuant to the provisions of article 131 of the Penal Code, crimes prescribe twenty years when the maximum sentence assigned to the crime is fifteen years or more.
But let us remember that the crimes of genocide and crimes against people and property protected in case of armed conflict will not prescribe in any case, except those punished in article 614, which punishes with imprisonment from six months to two years for those who, on the occasion of armed conflict performs or orders acts contrary to the prescriptions of the international treaties to which Spain is a party, relating to the conduct of hostilities, regulation of means and methods of combat, protection of the wounded, sick, shipwrecked, due treatment of prisoners war, protection of civilians, or cultural property in case of armed conflict.
reviewable permanent imprisonment
This is the maximum custodial sentence that exists in the Spanish Penal Code. It was approved by Organic Law 1/2015 of March 30, reforming the Penal Code.
Permanent imprisonment can only be imposed for murders in which there is a specific aggravating circumstance:
- That the victim is under sixteen years of age, or is a particularly vulnerable person due to age, illness or disability.
- That the act was subsequent to a crime against sexual freedom that the perpetrator had committed against the victim.
- That the crime was committed by someone belonging to a criminal group or organization.
- That he has been convicted of the death of more than two people.
The perpetrators of especially serious types of murders will be sentenced to a reviewable permanent prison sentence, a sentence of indeterminate duration, which implies that after the convicted person has served a significant part of the sentence -which will depend on the number of crimes committed, its nature, if it proves to be in a position to reintegrate into society – a review system will be applied that will allow the release of the prisoner if the requirements of article 92 of the Penal Code are met:
- That the prisoner has completed twenty-five years of his sentence.
- That it is classified in third grade.
- That the court, in view of the circumstances of the prisoner and the crime committed, consider that there is a favorable prognosis for social reintegration with a favorable prognosis for lack of danger.