Damage Offenses

Damage offenses are a group of crimes to which the Penal Code dedicates a specific chapter, in which Articles 263 to 267 are found. The basic conduct, set out in Article 263, is that of causing damage to another’s property and is punishable by a fine of between six and 24 months. It is important to know that if the amount of the damage does not exceed 400 euros the penalty is less and the accused will only face a fine of one to three months.

Conversely, the computer damages punishable under article 264 consist of deleting, damaging, deteriorating, altering, suppressing or rendering inaccessible computer data, computer programs or electronic documents of others, when the result produced is serious. The penalty for this is six months to three years imprisonment.

It should be noted that the computer-related damages regulated in article 264 can also be committed by legal persons. In this case, they will be punished with a penalty of two to five years or a fine of five to twelve times the value of the damage caused.

Article 265 specifically targets the conduct of destroying, seriously damaging or rendering useless for service, even temporarily, military works, establishments or installations, warships, military aircraft, means of military transport or transmission, war material, supplies or other means or resources assigned to the service of the Armed Forces or the Security Forces. The penalty for this type of damage is two to four years imprisonment if the damage caused exceeds one thousand euros.

Article 266 deals with aggravating circumstances in damage offenses. It establishes that whoever causes the damage of article 263 by means of fire, or by causing explosions, or by using any other means of similar destructive power or that generates a relevant risk of explosion or of causing other particularly serious damage, or endangering the life or safety of persons, will be punished with a prison sentence of one to five years. It is also prosecuted when the damage is committed with the provocation of explosions or the use of other means of similar destructive power and, in addition, the life or safety of persons is endangered.

Finally, Article 267 establishes that damages caused by serious negligence in excess of 80,000 euros shall be punishable by a fine of three to nine months.