Defenses to Rape in New Mexico
Sexual assault charges in New Mexico include rape, statutory rape, sexual abuse, molestation, and incest. Rape (also known as criminal sexual penetration) is a felony offense of the first or second degree. It is defined as forced sexual intercourse without consent and not limited to genital penetration. New Mexico imposes harsh penalties on convicted rapists, and even accusations can cause multiple legal headaches and hurdles for a defendant.
Legal Defense Options
Individuals who have been accused of rape need the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for their rights. The lawyer should have a thorough knowledge of both state and federal laws and should be willing to consider all possible defenses. The right lawyer will know which defense to use should the cases go to trial.
There are five main defenses a lawyer may use to exonerate a client:
- The first defense is to prove the sex was in fact consensual. In order for this defense to be effective, the accuser must be of legal age and not mentally ill or incapacitated during intercourse.
- A lawyer may use the “false accusation” defense and attempt to prove that the accuser is specifically trying to discredit the defendant for personal and vindictive motives.
- Lack of evidence as another common defense. If the prosecutors cannot prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty, the defendant may be acquitted.
- In certain cases, a lawyer may be able to claim that the crime was committed by someone else other than the defendant.
- Finally, a lawyer may use the insanity defense to prove the defendant cannot be held accountable for his or her actions because of a mental illness.
The Legal Process
In order to prepare a solid defense, a lawyer will first consider arrest factors. If law enforcement officials violated an individual’s constitutional rights at any point during the arrest, the charges may be dismissed. The next step is to review all evidence related to the case. Sometimes there are significant holes in a prosecutor’s argument, other times the evidence is not substantial enough to get a conviction. Depending on the case, a lawyer may advise a plea deal. A good lawyer can offer the defendant guidance and can help negotiate the particulars of the plea agreement.
If a defendant chooses not to accept a deal, the case will go to trial. A lawyer will prepare and file the necessary documentation, arrange witnesses, and select a sympathetic jury. During trial, the defense attorney will utilize one of the five common legal defense options to make a case for the defendant while at the same time attempting to discredit the prosecution’s case.
Partner with the Right Attorney
Accusations of rape can have a serious impact on your reputation. Therefore, it is important to take your defense seriously as well and partner with the best rape and sexual assault defense lawyer in Albuquerque. The New Mexico Criminal Law Offices provide knowledgeable representation and will aggressively fight for your rights throughout your entire case. Contact us online or at 505-200-2982 for a free case evaluation.