Gone are the days when there was a very lax approach to committing motoring offences, though Spain is not yet at the draconian level of the UK where people are almost frightened to drive.
Speed cameras do exist, but in relatively small numbers though the use of mobile speed cameras is quite prevalent, so best not to exceed the limits.
Seat belts and crash helmets are compulsory, though there is still a hard-core of motorists not using either.
Paperwork is all-important in this bureaucratic society. You should carry registration documents, ITV card, road tax receipt, insurance papers and your driving licence. If you are wary about keeping originals in the car, then have notarised copies made. Photocopies may not be acceptable in all circumstances.
The law requiring motorists to carry all of the above has been repealed so it is no longer compulsory, but as frequently happens, the Policeman on the streets may not be aware of the changes. In any event, it is better to produce them at the time of asking rather than have to visit a police station later.
Similarly, you can be fined for having defective lights, so these should be checked regularly. Whilst the law no longer demands that spare bulbs be carried, it is prudent to do so.
Roadside checkpoints are very popular with the various police forces and they are very adept at leaving no escape route. Such check points are to be found at motorway tollbooths, on roundabouts and less often on normal roads. At a checkpoint, you will almost certainly be breathalysed, irrespective of the time of day; bear in mind that the limits are less than in the UK. A quick check of your car may be made and you can virtually guarantee that the paperwork will be scrutinised.
Parking in Spain is pretty haphazard compared to the UK, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it is a free for all. If you park in a prohibited area you may find your car missing when you get back to where you left it and in its place is a sticker advising you of which compound it is in.
Alternatively you may just receive a fixed penalty.
These are often at the discretion of the police officer with fines ranging from about 50.00€ to several hundred euros. There is normally a 50% discount if paid within 30 days. Payment is usually at a bank and is required in cash.
If your car has non-Spanish plates, and you are a holiday-maker, then the Police may take you to your bank in order for the fine to be paid immediately; this is in case you decide to go back to your county of origin without paying.
If you have a Spanish driving licence, points will be deducted from the 12 that we all start off with (0 points = no licence!). Where your licence is UK for example, a recent law has been implemented meaning that DVLA will be advised to put points on your licence.
If you live in Spain, you may be forced to change your licence to Spanish in order that sanctions can be applied to it
If you are banned from driving, your licence will be revoked. Technically the Spanish cannot do this to a non-Spanish licence, but they will!
If your car has been in Spain for longer than the 6 months allowed and you cannot prove otherwise, it may be impounded immediately in addition to any fine imposed. You cannot recover the car from the compound unless it is being taken to an ITV station to start the re-registration process.
In about 2016, the police were shown how to access DVLA and other licencing authorities to see if the vehicle is road legal in its origin country, meaning that it is also road legal in Spain. For UK vehicles, this means that it is taxed and has an MOT and not SORN. where the vehicle is not road legal, they are impounded and can only be recovered after provisional registration (green plates) has been provided.
So, in summary as with motoring everywhere, if you commit an offence then a fine or other sanction will follow. The Guardia Civil don’t mess about, generally do not speak English and appealing takes an awful long time and money. In short, drive safely and happy motoring
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