Sex Crime Charges in Belen, New Mexico
Experienced Belen Sex Crimes Lawyers
Conviction of a sex crime often results in a long prison sentence along with the requirement to register as a sex offender. Even an unsubstantiated charge is tragic because of the social stigma attached to these offenses and because of the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality of large sections of the media and the public – especially in the #MeToo era. When you are charged with a sex crime, it is just as important to clear your name as it is to keep you out of prison.
The term “sex crime” can refer to a wide variety of offenses ranging from indecent exposure to rape. Maximum prison terms can range from months to decades behind bars. In many cases, however, there are realistic alternatives to incarceration even for someone who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a sex crime. In other cases, the prosecutor’s case has weaknesses that can be turned to your advantage by our skilled Belen sex crimes lawyers.
Sex Offender Registration
If you are convicted of a sexual offense in New Mexico, you will have 10 days after your release from incarceration to register as a sex offender. Failure to do so is punishable by prison time. In New Mexico, sex offenders are classified as Tier I (must register for 10+ years), Tier II (must register for 25 years), and Tier III (must register for life). Depending on the seriousness of the offense, Tier II and TIer III offenses typically involve offenses against children under age 13.
If you are declared a sex offender, you will be required to provide the following information:
- Your name, date of birth and current address
- Your social security number
- Your current place of employment
- Details about your conviction
This information will be available to anyone who searches for it. If you move out of New Mexico, you will be required to register as a sex offender in the state you move to; all 50 states plus D.C. maintain sex offender registries. As long as you are registered, you will have difficulty finding housing, obtaining federal aid, and finding a job. One of the main goals of our defense will be to keep you off the sex offender registry.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is entrapment?
Entrapment basically means that the police baited you into committing the crime and then turned around and arrested you for it. For the entrapment defense to apply, the police must have encouraged you to commit the crime, and you must have been a person not normally inclined to commit such a crime. If your entrapment defense is successful, you will walk free. Contact our Belen Sex Crimes Lawyers for more information.
What is the difference between ordinary rape and statutory rape?
Rape, known as “Criminal Sexual Penetration” in New Mexico, involves the forcible penetration of the victim. “Statutory rape,” by contrast, applies when the defendant engages in consensual sexual relations with someone below the age of 17. Certain exceptions apply based on the age difference between the two partners, and a reasonable mistake as to the age of the victim can sometimes be used as a defense.
What is the difference between statutory rape and child molestation?
“Statutory rape” applies when the defendant engages in sexual relations with a partner who is between 13 and 16 years of age. “Child molestation” (referred to in New Mexico as Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor) involves engaging in sexual relations with a victim under 13 years of age. Both are felonies that can be prosecuted even if the victim consented to, or even initiated, the sexual contact.
Can you be arrested for raping your spouse?
Yes, you can be. Although spousal rape has been illegal in New Mexico for less than 30 years, the penalties are the same as they are for any other type of forcible rape. In practice, however, it is more difficult for a spouse to prove lack of consent than it is in typical rape cases.
It’s Time to Start Your Defense
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Belen, New Mexico, the state of New Mexico has just declared war on you – and it’s not a good idea to march into battle alone. Missing a single critical deadline could fatally hobble your defense, as could simple misunderstandings or awkward applications of complex and nuanced rules of evidence and procedure.
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, our Belen sex crimes attorneys will fight with every resource in our legal repertoire to keep you out of jail, avoid sex offender registration, and clear your name. Call us or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with us. We serve clients from De Soto, Hilltop, Mesa and Aragon, Valencia, and elsewhere in Belen, and we can even meet you in jail, if necessary.