Domestic Violence Laws in New Mexico
In New Mexico, violent crimes against a member of one’s household are considered domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is a criminal act, and the state punishes offenses according to severity. Domestic abuse is considered an assault and battery charge according to New Mexico Statute 30 Section 3 and can be classified as a felony or misdemeanor.
What Qualifies as Domestic Abuse?
- Assault or battery on a member of one’s household – Assault and battery are two different offenses. Battery is when force is applied to another against their will; assault is the attempt or threat to commit battery. When the crime occurs against a household member, it is considered a form of domestic abuse. Both assault and battery are misdemeanor crimes. Assault is specifically categorized as a “petty misdemeanor.”
- Aggravated assault or battery on a member of one’s household – Aggravated assault is assault with a deadly weapon with the specific intent to cause bodily harm. This form of domestic abuse is considered a “fourth-degree” felony. In aggravated battery situations, an individual uses force with the intent to cause serious injury. If no weapon is used, aggravated battery is charged as a misdemeanor. If the abuser uses a deadly weapon, the crime is upgraded to a third-degree felony.
- Assault with intent to commit a felony – In certain cases, assault goes beyond striking another. When the assault is committed in the middle of another crime, specifically violent crimes such as attempted murder, rape, kidnapping, or robbery, it is considered a third-degree felony.
Domestic Abuse Penalties
Petty misdemeanor domestic abuse penalties include jail time and fines — no more than six months in prison and up to $500. Traditional misdemeanor penalties are more severe. Jail time may be as long as one year, and fines may go up to $1,000. Third-degree felony charges result in three years of prison times as well as $5,000 fines, while jail time for fourth-degree felony charges is 18 months. Convicted domestic abusers are also ordered to attend domestic violence rehabilitation programs to receive counseling.
Filing for Protection Against Abuse
Domestic abuse victims can protect themselves from their abusing household member(s) by filing for orders of protection. New Mexico issues emergency restraining orders (ex parte) as well as official orders of protection. Ex parte orders are only valid for 72 hours, but can provide immediate protection for the victims. All ex parte orders include a second court hearing 10 days after the order was issued to determine if orders of protection need to be issued. Orders of protection are more permanent than ex parte restraining orders and provide more types of protection as well as financial reimbursement.
When Legal Counsel is Necessary
You should speak to an attorney if you have been accused of domestic violence, are in the process of having an order of protection filed against you, or have been charged with domestic abuse. A competent domestic violence attorney can offer both advice and representation, and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact our experienced Albuquerque domestic violence defense attorneys at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices for a free legal consultation.