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Criminal Law in New Mexico

You can look online for a New Mexico criminal defense attorney. Once you get the lawyer’s name and number, call right away. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime in New Mexico, the stakes are too high to take a “wait and see”approach.

When selecting your criminal defense lawyer, it’s okay to chat with a few offices and then make your choice. Criminal defense attorneys always offer free consultations so you can get your questions asked and then select an attorney you’re comfortable with.

We’ll provide some important background information for you, including:

  • New Mexico criminal laws;
  • What you need to know about criminal defense in New Mexico; and
  • How to work with your New Mexico criminal defense attorney.

New Mexico Criminal Laws

Criminal offenses are found in Title 30 of the New Mexico statutes. New Mexico statutes are written laws passed by the state legislature.

There are many crimes listed in Title 30, including conspiracy, DUI, credit card or debit card fraud, extortion, child neglect, fraud, computer crimes, identity theft, sexual assault, arson, drug possession, disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, hit and run, shoplifting, theft, burglary, rape, reckless driving, and drug crimes.

Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time. If the prosecutor doesn’t bring charges within that time limit, they cannot ever be brought. In New Mexico, the most serious crimes don’t have any statute of limitations.

In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for:

  • Murder is unlimited (N.M. Stat. В§30-1-8(H)).
  • Theft (“larceny”) is 1, 2, 5, or 6 years, depending on the facts of the case(N.M. Stat. В§30-1-8(A) or (B) or (C) or (D)).
  • Disordering Conduct is 1 year (N.M. Stat. В§30-1-8(D)).

While these examples may be helpful, ask your criminal law attorney what the statute of limitations is in your particular case.

If you’re like most people who have been accused of a crime, the threat of criminal punishment is at the forefront of your mind. For example, these are questions New Mexico criminal defense lawyers answer every day:

  • “What’s going to happen to me?”
  • “Will I go to jail?”
  • “Does New Mexico have the death penalty?”

Your attorney will analyze the charges against you as well as the circumstances of the alleged crime;your attorney will let you know what sentence you can expect, if convicted. New Mexico no longer has the death penalty.

For example, in New Mexico, sentencing guidelines call for:

  • 18 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for conviction of a first-degree felony. If the crime was committed against a child, with a weapon, or if you have a criminal history, the penalties will be enhanced.
  • Between 6 months and 1-year driver’s license suspension, up to a year in jail, drug and alcohol treatment, DWI school, alcohol evaluation, 1-year ignition interlock, and community service for a 1st offense DWI.

    New Mexico has some of the toughest DWI laws in the nation.

  • Up to 1 year in prison, up to $1,000 fine, 1 year of probation, community service, and driver’s license suspension for conviction of a misdemeanor.

Your defense attorney will explain the penalties you are facing in your specific circumstances.

What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense

Bottom line: Get help from a New Mexico criminal defense attorney.

  • You need a criminal defense attorney, even if you didn’t commit the crime you’re being accused of.
  • Ask the police if you can leave the station or wherever you are. If they respond, “yes”, leave; if they say, “no”, ask for an attorney.
  • Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it to your attorney.

How to Work with a New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyer

Throughout your representation, you need to be your own advocate and a team player. Be on your best behavior and follow this list. This is a necessary, but general, list. In addition, your attorney will likely ask you take actions specifically related to your individual case.

  • When your lawyer gives you advice, take it.
  • Be completely honest and open with your defense lawyer. (Your conversations are kept confidential. It’s the law.)
  • Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it.
  • Return all telephone law firm phone calls promptly.
  • Provide all requested information promptly.
  • Stay in contact with your defense lawyer’s office. Update your address and phone number if either changes.
  • To get all the facts, formulate your defense, or prepare you for court, your attorney may ask your difficult questions or challenge you. That’s okay.
  • To put forth your best interest, your attorney may be polite and cooperative with the alleged victims, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor. That’s okay.

Bottom Line: You need individualized advice and aggressive legal representation.

Your New Mexico criminal defense attorney will help you immediately, explaining how to post bail, protecting your legal rights, and formulating strong defense strategies. Your next step is to consult with the qualified New Mexico criminal defense lawyer of your choice, now.

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