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If you have been charged recently with a criminal offence as the state level such as DUI or domestic violence, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about what will happen next, who you can find to listen to your side of the events, what your legal rights are, and - most importantly - how this unfortunate incident will affect your personal life, your job and your family.
All of these things will be answered when you hire an attorney. The sooner you speak with a qualified lawyer, the sooner you will be able to reduce the effects of the charges against you and take action to help avoid legal mistakes. You need to quickly consult with a New Mexico criminal lawyer who has a proven history of defending cases that are similar to yours. You do of course have the right to remain silent until you have sought counsel and the sooner you meet with a potential attorney, the better off you will be. Bear in mind that not everyone who has been charged with a state offense has been found guilty. When you partner with a criminal lawyer, they will be able to protect you and your family throughout this time and give you information on what your various options and legal rights are. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation the first time you meet, so you will be able to get some of this advice up front.
Are You In Need of Trusted Defense for Criminal Charges?
Our criminal attorneys have expertise in a wide variety of criminal offenses from solicitation to kidnapping to DUI. We have lawyers who practice in diverse areas: fraud, weapons charges, theft, probation violations, white collar crimes and many more. You need to act quickly. It doesn't matter if you are already facing charges or you suspect that there may be forthcoming repercussions for a past act, the longer you wait around the more difficult it is to build up a good defense. Our New Mexico criminal attorneys know this and they also understand how the justice system works, especially at the state level. They will be able to offer sound advice when you come in for your initial meeting.
Build a Strong Defense for DUIs
One of the most common charges that people will face at a state level is the charge of DUI. The consequences of this can vary and can include everything from a night in jail and heavy fine to a suspended driver's license, alcohol education and other penalties.
If you are charged with a DUI, you will need a criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable about state laws and who has experience handling cases like yours. Our New Mexico attorneys will help to determine if you qualify as a first offender, how to design your defense, how this can affect parts of your life like your job, and what penalties you may face.
Concentrated on Different Areas of the Law
Our attorneys concentrate in specific areas of the law. They work in these areas as to gain an extensive knowledge and understanding of the exact criminal charges you face. They know the state laws that will come into play for your case and they know the most effective strategies to help with your defense. We will be able to match you up with the most qualified lawyer on the team who has the experience needed for your specific case.
What You Should Expect from Your Lawyer
At your first meeting, you will be able to speak with your criminal attorney about the facts of the case. He or she will be able to share their expertise of the law as it applies to your situation. You should always be honest and candid when speaking with your lawyer. They must keep all of your information confidential and will work with your best interest in mind. You should always take your lawyer's advice and be patient as you explore the steps of your case.
A Strong Reputation Counts
Our professional lawyers belong to numerous associations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Their work history is easy to track and all of them have been fully vetted as we want you to have the most competent and reliable attorney working on your behalf.
Choose Attorneys That You Can Trust
How do you figure out which is the most suitable criminal lawyer for you? The right criminal attorney for you is one who will work to provide you with an informed defense. They will build trust with you, work with the highest ethical standards and bring professional confidence into your case.
Our top New Mexico lawyers know will advise you on how to handle your personal case and will do so with care and diligence. Avoid mistakes in the near future by finding a lawyer as quickly as possible during this time in order to protect your rights and give yourself peace of mind. Call today and be connected with a reputable criminal attorney.
Are You Being Charged For Committing a Crime in New Mexico?
Being charged with a crime in New Mexico can be an intimidating and confusing experience, particularly if you have no background in criminal law as it is practiced in New Mexico or familiarity with its criminal justice system. For example, it is important to understand the seriousness of the charges against you or the possibility of mounting a strong defense. Because every set of circumstances is different, this information is best garnered from a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer.
New Mexico divides crimes into two broad categories based on factors such as the harm done to a victim, the value of any property involved, the amount of an illegal substance that may be an issue, and intent of the actor. This broad division also differentiates between crimes that carry a maximum punishment of one year and those with potential sentences longer than one year. These categories are called misdemeanor and felony, and felonies are more serious crimes.
Misdemeanors are further divided into two classifications. The first, called petty misdemeanors, are less serious crimes, but they can still result in a jail sentence upon conviction. Each petty misdemeanor has a different maximum sentence, and all other misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail.
Similarly, felonies are divided into classifications based on the severity of the crime. First-degree felonies are the most serious and fourth-degree felonies are the least serious, although an individual charged with a fourth-degree felony still faces 18 months in jail and substantial fines.
A conviction for any felony has long-lasting impacts on the lifestyle of an individual when it comes to lifestyle, relationships, and financial circumstances. The ramifications that follow conviction, even for a petty misdemeanor, disrupt the life of a convicted person and can have effects that reach far into the future. For this reason, any criminal charge should be taken seriously and defended vigorously.
Facing criminal charges in New Mexico? Find the best criminal defense lawyer in New Mexico here.
Five Common Crimes Charged in New Mexico
Every crime in New Mexico can be found in the written statutes of the state under a section dedicated specifically to criminal offenses. While more than fifty separate types of crime are addressed in New Mexico statutes, certain criminal activities are more commonly reported and charged than others.
What follows is a brief introduction and some basic information about five crimes commonly charged in New Mexico. Additional information about these and other crimes or specific questions relative to your criminal case should be elicited from a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer.
Lawmakers in New Mexico are well aware that drug possession, sale, manufacture, and trafficking are all significant problems within the state. This fact is reflected in the detailed and extensive criminal drug laws that exist here. Each stage of manufacture, transportation, and transaction that involves controlled substances is covered by a separate criminal statute.
While drug trafficking across the Mexican border is a particular problem in New Mexico, Texas, and specific other states, the most commonly charged drug crime is possession of a controlled substance.
New Mexico law contains broad prohibitions regarding the possession of any amount of any controlled substance – including certain compounds used to create specific controlled substances. However, the exact charges an individual will face are based on the type of drug involved and the amount found to be in the possession of the individual.
Each controlled substance is categorized by its addictive effect, and these categories are called schedules. While a drug attorney in New Mexico must know this classification system well and be able to determine where a specific drug falls within it, the possession of any amount of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug is a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, an individual can expect to serve up to 18 months in jail. The one notable exception is marijuana, which has its own possession and sentencing structure.
In New Mexico, marijuana is treated differently from other controlled substances. Possession and use for medical purposes are allowed, and any illegal possession charges are based on the amount in possession. Marijuana possession offenses are broken down like this:
Multiple offenses increase the potential severity of the charges. For instance, a second or subsequent offense of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana is a now a misdemeanor with a one-year maximum jail sentence.
Find a top drug crime lawyer in New Mexico.
In New Mexico, the crime of theft is called larceny. Unlike other states, New Mexico defines larceny in a very succinct and straightforward manner. It is defined simply as stealing the property of another person. Even so, the law does contain one caveat which states that, under the statute, the property must be something of value. Although this is not a requirement for larceny charges in other states, in New Mexico, even something worth one cent technically has value, and that extends the crime to encompass nearly any tangible and intangible property.
Within this broad definition, several categories of larceny are determined by the value of the property stolen and, at times, the type of property taken. The least serious offense, referred to as a petty misdemeanor, is the taking of property worth $250 or less, and it is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. While it is also a misdemeanor to take property valued between $250 and $500, a convicted person could receive a one-year jail sentence and/or be required to pay substantial fines.
When the stolen property is worth more than $500 but less than $2,500, the offense is charged as a fourth-degree felony. Also, the larceny of any firearm valued under $2,500 is considered a fourth-degree felony. The maximum sentence for this offense is 18 months in prison.
It is a third-degree felony to steal livestock of any value or to take any other property worth more than $2,500 but less than $20,000. As a third-degree felony, this offense is punishable by a maximum of three years in prison.
Lastly, the most serious larceny offense is referred to as a second-degree felony, and it is reserved for theft of property valued at more than $20,000. This classification addresses one of the most serious crimes in New Mexico and, as such, carries a harsh potential penalty that reflects this fact. A convicted individual can expect to serve up to a nine-year prison sentence for second-degree larceny.
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Sexual Assault and Sex Crimes
New Mexico Criminal Offenses are comprised of a large number of statutes covering sexual offenses. These New Mexico sexual assault laws prohibit such acts as sexual contact with minors, prostitution, and indecent exposure. These sex crimes range across the spectrum of offenses in New Mexico, with several of them being ranked among the most serious crimes in the state, while others are considered misdemeanors. The most commonly charged sex offenses in the state fall into the category of criminal sexual conduct.
Criminal sexual contact is defined as unlawful and intentional sexual contact with a legal adult without the consent of the victim. In New Mexico, criminal sexual contact is a misdemeanor offense and, as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Only in specific circumstances can criminal sexual contact be charged as a felony.
When criminal sexual contact is committed by force, coercion, or while the actor possesses a deadly weapon, the crime increases in severity and will be charged as a fourth-degree felony. In keeping with the increased severity of the crime, conviction results in a corresponding increase in the potential punishment. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 18 months in jail.
Two related crimes – criminal sexual contact with a minor and criminal sexual penetration – are both considered substantially more serious in New Mexico. Criminal sexual contact of a minor is always a felony which can be charged in the second, third, or fourth degree, depending on the age of the child and the relationship between the actor and victim. Criminal sexual penetration is similarly severe and may be charged as a first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree felony. If charged as a first-degree felony – otherwise known as aggravated sexual penetration – the defendant faces a sentence of life in prison.
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As in other states, New Mexico defines driving while intoxicated (DWI) as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08% or while under the influence of a controlled substance. For individuals under the age of 21, however, a BAC of 0.02% or higher is sufficient to be considered DWI. Similarly, New Mexico bases punishment for DWI on whether or not the convicted individual has prior DWI offenses and, if so, how many.
Under New Mexico law, an individual with a BAC under the legal limit could still be arrested if, in the opinion of the arresting officer, that person is too impaired to operate a vehicle. This option for officer discretion isn’t unique to New Mexico, but most other states clarify that this version of DWI is imposed only in cases where the driver has a BAC of 0.05% or higher; however, there is no such requirement in New Mexico.
A conviction for DWI results in both administrative and criminal penalties. A first-time offender faces a mandatory loss of his or her license, fines, and a potential community service requirement. Someone convicted of a second or third DWI is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail. Subsequent offenses also result in mandatory minimum sentences of 96 hours for a second offense and 30 days for a third offense.
Convicted of a fourth DWI? If so, your punishment is a mandatory six months in jail and has the potential of an 18-month sentence. A multiple repeat offender also faces significant fines that are only capped at $5,000.
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New Mexico is among the majority of states that still enforce the death penalty, and murder is one of the few capital crimes in the state. Because that is true, murder charges represent the most serious offense charged in New Mexico.
There are two degrees of murder under New Mexico law. Both are based on the same premise that murder is the intentional killing of another person without lawful justification. These elements alone will qualify the offense as a second-degree murder – which is the less serious offense. Murder in the first degree is an intentional and unlawful killing that is either:
Murder in the first degree is a capital offense, while an individual convicted of murder in the second degree faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.
If you are charged with murder – the most serious crime addressed in the State of New Mexico – it is essential that you hire a violent crime lawyer in New Mexico to handle your defense. A lawyer with expertise in violent crimes and the handling of these severe charges can be a huge benefit to defendants.
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The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are prepared to defend a variety of crimes in New Mexico. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state; rather, it extends to the defense of federal crimes as well as the pursuit of appeals to higher courts. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against charges of drug possession, robbery, or even murder, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Unlike lawyers from outside the state or those specializing in other areas of practice, New Mexico criminal defense lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws and processes in the state. In a system where the prosecution has the advantages of both experience and legal knowledge over the defendant, engaging a qualified criminal defense attorney is essential if one hopes to level the playing field. Often, however, newly charged defendants are often at a loss as to how and where to find capable and reliable criminal law firms in New Mexico.
If you don’t know where to turn for help in building your defense against criminal charges in New Mexico, turn to us.
You can find more information on the best criminal lawyers in New Mexico here.
[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]
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