Why Domestic Violence Charges Are So Serious
Domestic abuse is viewed as a crime that is perpetrated against the most vulnerable people in our society — individuals who cannot defend themselves and who are afraid to ask for help. Because of this, domestic violence charges are aggressively prosecuted.
Read further to find out what constitutes domestic violence in New Mexico and why domestic violence charges are so serious.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in New Mexico?
To put it simply, domestic violence is assault and battery against a “household member,” such as a spouse, former spouse, parent, present or former stepparent, present or former parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, a co-parent of a child or a person with whom a person has had a continuing personal relationship.
This includes all cases of the following crimes committed against a household member, in this order of severity:
- Assault – threatening, menacing or an attempt to commit battery
- Battery – intentionally touching someone in an offensive manner
- Aggravated battery – battery with the intent to cause injury
- Aggravated assault – assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault with intent to commit a violent felony – that is, assault with the intent to murder, rape, rob, kidnap, burgle or falsely imprison
The Penalties for Domestic Violence charges in New Mexico
The penalties for domestic violence can be severe and range from up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500, (or both) for a petty misdemeanor, to three years in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for a third-degree felony charge. In addition, New Mexico requires mandatory domestic violence counseling for anyone convicted of an offense.
Even a first conviction for domestic violence is a serious matter. A conviction will become part of your criminal record and lead to harsher penalties for any subsequent domestic violence offenses.
A third offense can be charged as a fourth-degree felony and is subject to up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5000, with all subsequent offenses potentially being charged as third-degree felonies.
If you are convicted of a felony, you will forfeit certain civil rights, such as the right to vote, hold public office, or own a gun. In addition, you will face the loss of your professional licenses and certifications and find it more difficult to secure employment or housing.
The Difficulty with Domestic Violence Charges
What makes domestic violence charges both complicated to prosecute and defend is the fact that accusations of domestic violence are usually highly motivated by emotions and it is not uncommon for the victim, the alleged perpetrator, and witnesses to each have a different account of what actually took place.
So law enforcement is left to use its own discretion in deciding who to arrest and charge with domestic violence, based only on who it believes is telling the most compelling story and/or whose injuries look worse.
For these reasons, if you have been accused of domestic violence, you should waste no time in contacting an experienced New Mexico criminal attorney who has experience in defending people who have been unfairly charged with domestic violence in Albuquerque and who can handle your case with discretion and achieve the best results for you and your family.
Free Consultation: New Mexico Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices (505-375-4767) today to protect your family life and stability. Every side has a story and it is extremely important that your side be heard.