Can a Simple Assault Conviction Really Affect Your Life?
Being convicted of any crime will affect you the rest of your life – even if it is a misdemeanor. In some cases, you may be unable to renew a professional license, work in specific fields, or even qualify for state and federal-level aid.
It is imperative that anyone arrested for a crime speak with an attorney. Most defendants underestimate the actual consequences of being arrested (let alone being convicted) until it is too late.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, speak with an attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today. Our attorneys know that there is nothing “simple” about an assault charge.
Understanding Simple Assault Laws in Albuquerque
When you hear the term “simple assault,” you imagine a fight between two people that don’t result in serious injury.
In reality, the state of New Mexico looks at assault as a broad category of offenses, and someone may face simple assault and battery charges at the same time – depending on the case.
Furthermore, assault doesn’t require you to strike anyone physically. In fact, just threatening violence through actions or verbal cues is enough to be charged and convicted.
How New Mexico Defines Assault
In New Mexico, under statute NM Section 30-3-1, assault involves intentional threats, words, or acts that make the victim fear impeding violence. Using words to insult someone’s character or attempting to strike or harm someone is also considered assault.
Again, assault in New Mexico does not require physical strikes to occur. Instead, if you were to hit or harm someone, you are now entering battery.
Battery charges include unlawful touching, striking, or using force against a person. You do not have to punch someone to face battery. Instead, you could threaten to use physical force and then grab a person to control them – resulting in assault and battery charges.
Intentional Conduct Is Required
While you do not have to physically strike the person or cause serious injury to face simple assault or battery, you still must have intent. Without intent, the charges cannot hold.
The law requires that the threats or conduct you portray is intentional: you are not joking. The victim must have a reasonable fear that you are going to harm them. If a reasonable person would not perceive your actions as threatening their safety, then the court is unlikely to convict you of assault or battery.
What Is Simple Assault?
Assault is not a physical altercation, which you know now.
The state defines assault as intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing bodily injury, threatening to injure, or causing physical contact that is offensive.
Shoving someone with the threat of violence constitutes assault and battery.
How Harsh Could the Penalties be for a “Simple” Assault Charge?
Again, defendants underestimate the actual consequences of an assault conviction. Even if you did not harm a person or lay a finger on them, being convicted of assault is very serious. This is because with a conviction comes criminal, civil, and lifetime penalties you might not fully appreciate until they are in front of you.
The Criminal Penalties
When you are arrested for a crime, you hone in on the criminal penalties. After all, these are what will affect you immediately after conviction.
In New Mexico, assault convictions typically mean petty misdemeanor penalties, including up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
For some people, this seems relatively minor. For others, the idea of being incarcerated for six months or having to pay the court $500 can be extensive.
Furthermore, you may be required to serve probation after your jail sentence. You might also be required to do community service.
Lastly, you may be required to attend anger management courses – out of your pocket – as part of your rehabilitation.
The Civil Penalties
Here is one consequence you might not have thought of: civil penalties. Whether convicted or not, the victim may file a civil lawsuit against you for your actions. Civil penalties are not fines imposed by the court, though the court may require you to pay restitution if personal property was destroyed during the altercation.
Civil penalties are often much more than a courtroom fine – costing thousands of dollars. You may be required to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more. The civil penalties alone could bankrupt you.
The Lifetime Penalties
The long-term consequences are ones hard to appreciate, but necessary.
You might serve your jail sentence and be let out, but do you realize that you now have a permanent criminal record? While it is not a felony, a misdemeanor still may disqualify you for housing, job applications, or even entering the military.
Specific career fields, such as education and some medical industries, might exclude you from their applicant pool because of your misdemeanor assault charge.
The social stigma of serving time in jail also follows you. Friends and family members, as well as those in the community, might treat you differently – all for one mistake.
Therefore, serving your jail sentence does not mean you get out and life moves on. Instead, there are lifelong consequences – many of which that are out of your control.
Having the Right Attorney Is Critical
Now you know that there is nothing “simple” about a misdemeanor assault conviction.
The next step is to contact an attorney that equally appreciates the long-term consequences of a conviction and vigorously represents you against the state.
The attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can help you with your case. We work hard to clear your name, and to ensure the best possible outcome.
Schedule your consultation with our attorneys now at 505-375-4661 or request more information online.