Exploring the Arrest Process in New Mexico
Arrested in New Mexico? Let our Criminal Defense Attorneys Help You
After you are arrested for a crime, you will go through a plethora of heavily regulated steps associated with the detention process. These steps must be followed by all law enforcement and prosecution team members. Otherwise, your case could result in a dismissal.
You are not legally considered under “arrest” unless the police have lawfully detained you and then prevent you from leaving. If, for example, the police escort you to the station for questioning, but you are allowed to leave, this is not considered a formal arrest.
You Have Rights When Arrested
The most important thing to remember is that, while you are arrested for a crime, you still have Constitutional rights that protect you. First, you are protected from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, which is why officers will read you the Miranda warning. This warning essentially tells you the following:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- Anything you say to law enforcement may be used against you;
- You can consult with an attorney;
- If you cannot afford a private attorney, the courts will appoint an attorney for you; and
- If you answer questions without a lawyer, you can stop the questions at any time and still request a lawyer.
You must be under arrest or amidst an interrogation for Miranda rights to apply. Therefore, being stopped on the street is not grounds for Miranda, but you can still invoke your right to not answer.
The Process of an Arrest
- The Initial Arrest Process – When arrested, officers may frisk you, which is a process where they pat down your body to find any concealed weapons. If your vehicle is confiscated, law enforcement can search the vehicle, as well. Once you are officially arrested, you will be booked into the system, which consists of taking personal information and inputting it into a county database. Police must book you within a specific amount of time after detaining you; otherwise, your attorney can petition the court to determine if you were illegally held or if your rights were violated.
- After Booking – Once your case is booked, the case is then forwarded to the state’s office where a prosecutor is assigned. From there, the prosecutor has 48 to 72 hours to file official charges.
- Arraignment – Arraignment is also part of the bail hearing. Here, you will be read all formal charges against you and allowed to enter your plea. Then, your attorney will request bail. If you post your bail, you could be released until your trial date. Bail is refunded to you as long as you show up at your scheduled court hearing. If you do not, the court keeps the money, and the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Get Help with the Arrest Process – Contact a New Mexico Criminal Defense Attorney
If the police are interrogating you, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Often, engaging the services of an attorney early can ensure that (i) you do not self-incriminate, and (ii) your rights are protected. Furthermore, if you are arrested, your attorney can help you through the arrest process.