How to find out if I have been sued and how long it takes to receive a complaint

How to find out if I have been sued and how long it takes to receive a complaint
Published on: 12 September 2023

Table of contents

You may have recently had an altercation with another person. You did not go to the police after it happened, but perhaps the other person did. In that case, how can you find out if you have been reported; it is advisable to go to a criminal lawyer and in any case we will explain everything here.

The difference between complaint, lawsuit and lawsuit

This is the first thing you should know because we often tend to confuse these three concepts. Specifically, a complaint is only filed if the action to be charged is of a criminal nature, i.e. it is classified as a crime.

It is particularly difficult to distinguish between a complaint and a lawsuit. The reason? Both are related to the criminal jurisdiction. However, complaints only refer to crimes that are not associated with prison sentences, such as libel, slander or breach of trust.

Lawsuits, on the other hand, only apply in the area of administrative, civil and labour jurisdiction. Keep this in mind when determining how the altercation you have suffered could be interpreted.

How do I know if I have been reported?

Most people find out that they have been reported when they receive the court notice at their home address. This will be the best indicator that there is a complaint against you. However, not all notices are the same. You can receive any of these three:

  • Summary notification. The most serious of all. This is a summons for a serious offence, i.e. one punishable by more than 9 years' imprisonment. It obliges the accused to appear with the evidence he/she considers appropriate and, obviously, accompanied by a lawyer to defend him/her.
  • Notification of a minor offence. This is very similar to the previous one, but refers to offences punishable by less than 9 years' imprisonment. The requirements are exactly the same.
  • Notification of preliminary proceedings with abbreviated procedure. This is the least serious type of notification, as it basically warns that the facts that could constitute a crime are being investigated. However, the matter has not yet been clarified. You will be summoned to appear in court as a 'defendant' and accompanied by a lawyer.

How do you know if you have been reported if you have not yet been notified?

There are people who, after having experienced a certain altercation with another person (e.g. a fight in a bar), cannot remain in the anxiety of not knowing whether they have been reported. After all, the waiting time to receive the notification can be quite tortuous.

Keep one thing in mind. If the complainant has specifically named you as the perpetrator of the crime, the National Police or Guardia Civil are obliged to bring the complaint to the attention of the relevant court as soon as possible. If this has not been done, it will be necessary to wait to find out who was responsible for the crime.

In any case, when the complaint reaches the corresponding court, the judicial procedure is set in motion. The average waiting time between this occurrence and the notification being issued is 5 working days, although it depends on the municipality and the workload of the court in question. In some places, defendants have to wait up to 6 months.

That is certainly a long time. That is why, if you wish, you can go to the court with your ID card and ask to be informed about the court proceedings to which you have been a party. If your name is on any of them, you will know immediately.

Does the defendant have the right to know who has reported him or her?

The defendant is a party to the legal proceedings and therefore has the right to ask for all documentation related to it. So the answer is yes.

However, it may happen that the complaint is filed anonymously. In other words, the complainant contacts the competent authority and informs them of the possible criminal acts committed by him/her, but does not disclose his/her name. In this case, it is practically impossible to know who has reported you.

In short, we hope that we have cleared up your doubts about how to find out if I have a complaint. As we have already said, it is most likely that you will find out when you receive the judicial notification at your home address. However, if you cannot bear the uneasiness of waiting, you can go to the court and ask for information about the proceedings to which you are a party. Remember that if the complainant has given his or her name at the time of filing the complaint, he or she is entitled to know it. However, in many cases, complaints are filed anonymously in order to avoid reprisals.

Abogados online

A lawyer in less than 24 hours.
Lawyers - 24h A lawyer in less than 24 hours. We defend your interests
"Anywhere in Spain"

With our online appointment system you will have immediate advice without the need for face-to-face visits or travel.

One of our lawyers specialized in your area of interest will contact you to formalize an appointment and make your consultation by video call.

Available platforms

Do you need a lawyer in Madrid, we call you back

Fill in the form and we will call you as soon as possible.

* Required fields