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  • Can a Minor Be a Sex Offender in New Mexico?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    can a minor be a sex offenderThe criminal justice system deals with minors differently than it deals with adults.

    Typically, juvenile offenses carry less severe penalties than adult crimes.

    However, sex offenses are often considered one of the most severe types of crime.

    How does the state respond when a minor is accused of committing a sex crime?

    The answer varies depending on where you are located. Some states require sex offender registration for minors, while others do not.

    This can create lots of confusion for minors who are convicted of a sex crime. If you do not know what your obligations are, contact a lawyer for assistance.

    Our team of lawyers has extensive knowledge and experience representing individuals accused of sex crimes.

    If you have questions about minor sex offender registration in New Mexico, contact our office today. 

    New Mexico Sex Offender Registry: Is a Minor Sex Offender Allowed?

    In some states, certain crimes will land a juvenile on the sex offender registry. In New Mexico, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) can be found in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 29-11A-1.

    This Act outlines the requirements for juveniles in the state. Before 2008, SORNA included language that defined a sex offender as a person 18 years or older.

    Still, the Act does not expressly state which juveniles are subject to its registration requirements. Instead, SORNA defines “sex offender” as a person who has been convicted of a sex offense under state, federal, tribal, or military law. 

    Under New Mexico’s Children’s Code (§32A-2-18(A)), a juvenile judgment and adjudication only qualify as a conviction if it results in an adult sentence.

    Therefore, juveniles are required to register under SORNA if they receive an adult sentence for a sex offense. However, their information cannot be disclosed on public access websites.

    This means that, although registration is required, minor sex offenders in New Mexico will not see their information broadcasted over the internet, subject to one exception.

    If the judge finds that the juvenile sex offender “is a danger to the community” and not amenable to treatment, that sex offender’s information can appear on public access websites.

    What Offenses Will Land Me on the Sex Offender Registry in New Mexico?

    As stated above, any juvenile who commits a sex offense and is convicted can face sex offender registration requirements.

    Sex offenses in New Mexico include:

    • Criminal sexual penetration in the first, second, third, or fourth degree;
    • Sexual exploitation of a child;
    • False imprisonment to inflict a sexual offense;
    • Kidnapping to inflict a sexual offense;
    • Aggravated indecent exposure; or
    • Child solicitation by an electronic communications device.

    Criminal sexual penetration in the first degree qualifies as a first-degree felony, which carries the potential of up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $17,500.

    Sexual exploitation of a child qualifies as a fourth-degree felony and carries the potential of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

    Aggravated indecent exposure qualifies as a fourth-degree felony and carries the potential of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

    Remember, a juvenile faces the same sex offender registration requirements as an adult if they received an adult criminal sentence for their sex offense.

    What Information Does a Sex Offender Registry Include?

    A New Mexico sex offender must submit extensive information when they register. However, juvenile offender information is not published online unless they are considered not amenable to treatment and dangerous to the community.

    The registration process requires the following information:

    • Name;
    • Date of birth;
    • Social security number;
    • Current physical and mailing address;
    • Address of any place the sex offender habitually lives;
    • Phone number;
    • Place of employment;
    • Convicted sex offense;
    • Date and location of conviction;
    • Social networking information;
    • Name and address of any school the sex offender is attending; and
    • Copies of the offender’s passport and immigration documents.

    Additionally, the database needs a photograph of the offender, the offender’s fingerprints, a physical description, and a DNA sample. However, New Mexico does not publish all of this information on its publicly-accessible database.

    The information not available to the public includes:

    • Social security number;
    • DNA information; and
    • Place of employment, unless the sex offender has direct contact with children.

    Sex offenders must also disclose their status to their employer, if applicable.

    Consequences of Failing to Register As a Sex Offender

    Any sex offender that fails to comply with SORNA commits a fourth-degree felony. This is also true if the sex offender offers false information when complying with SORNA requirements.

    A fourth-degree felony carries the potential of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A second violation will result in a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony carries the potential of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

    When you move into New Mexico, you have 10 days to register with your local sheriff’s department before you can receive a violation.

    Questions About Minor Sex Offender Registration Requirements in New Mexico? Contact an Attorney Today

    Many states take a different approach to how they handle juvenile sex offenders within their system.

    In New Mexico, the state imposes a registration requirement on juvenile offenders. However, only select juvenile offenders will see their information on a public database.

    At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we understand how confusing these registration statutes can be. However, ignorance is no excuse. Failing to meet the registration requirements can result in more charges and additional penalties.

    Do not let this happen to you. Contact a lawyer at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today to learn about your responsibilities under New Mexico law.

    With over 30 years of combined experience representing criminal defendants in New Mexico, our attorneys have a detailed understanding of the juvenile sex offender registry requirements in New Mexico.

    If you or a loved one have questions about the sex offender registry for minors, contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.