Thursday, 18 July 2013

You've Sold Your Car - But Are You Still Responsible?

This is something that comes up on a regular basis and has been commented on various social media sites recently.

You have agreed a sale for your Spanish registered car, either by part exchange at the garage or by private sale to an individual. There is a piece of paper to show what you agreed, so it's all good. Or is it? Have you confirmed that the car documents have been transferred into the new person's name?

The system in Spain when you sell a vehicle is very different to the UK. You don't both just sign the V5C and send it off to DVLA, then a few weeks later the new owner gets a new V5 in their name all for the cost of a stamp and envelope. In Spain it is somewhat more complicate and generally requires the assistance of someone who knows what they are doing like a Gestor.

The person listed as the registered owner of the vehicle in the database at Trafico is the person considered to be responsible for anything relating to the vehicle. All Suma bills, fines, damage etc will come back to you. In addition, as the car is insured and not the person, you will be responsible for ensuring that the car is insured (this is a legal requirement).

You might think that by selling/part exchanging your vehicle at a garage this will all be done for you - wrong. You need to ask what they intend to do about the transfer. In some cases they will do the transfer straight away, but in others they will wait until they have a purchaser and do the transfer from you to the purchaser, so they don't incur additional costs. Yes, like everything else there is a cost. The costs depends upon a variety of factors including age of the vehicle, value etc.

Whilst some insurance companies will accept a sale/compraventa document to cancel the insurance, most of the Spanish companies will want the document that shows the transfer of ownership is in progress 'Justificante' or a copy of the 'Permiso de CirculaciĆ³n' in the name of the new person.

If you sell privately, arrange a time with the purchaser to visit the Gestor and arrange the transfer. This way you can get a copy of the Justificante and know that everything is being done properly, so no nasty surprises in the future.

Drinking and Driving in Spain - Do You Know the Consequences?

The sun is out, the sky is blue, evenings are warmer and longer so the temptation to get together with friends for a drink is probably higher up the to do list than normal. But how many alcoholic drinks can you have before you are over the limit to drive and what are the consequences?

Realistically, we all know the consequences and always intend to have 'just the one', but a second/third one won't hurt will it?

At present the levels of alcohol allowed in Spain before driving are as follows:

General Drivers - 0.3mg alcohol per litre of air or 0.5g alcohol per litre blood.
Young or Professional Drivers - 0.15mg alcohol per litre of air or 0.3g per litre of blood.

There has been talk of zero tolerance which is still under discussion.

As you can see by the limits above, the levels are not high. Reaction to alcohol will differ from person to person and the percentage of alchol in wine for instance can differ, so not one can actually say whether the limit is reached with 1 glass, 2 or more.

If you are stopped by the police and asked to take a breath test it is advisable to take the test and not refuse. As you can imagine in Spain, like most other countries there are penalties for refusing. If the first test comes up positive, you can ask for another test to be take 10 minutes later and then request the results be confirmed by a blood test.

So what are the penalties?
The penalty you receive will depend how far over the limit you are. At present the fines range between 300.15 - 601.01euros, but there is ongoing discussion to increase this to 1.000euros plus. In addition, you could be looking at loss of your licence for 3 months to 4 years, community service or imprisonment.

Is that extra drink really worth the risk?