How Serious Is a Charge of Indecency with a Child in New Mexico?
Criminal offenses involving child victims often invoke an immediate adverse reaction from people. Ordinarily, people assume the worst at the mere mention of charges involving indecency with a child. Anyone who hears about your charge might think you are guilty–even if you’re not. As a result, you might feel like you should throw in the towel.
If you find yourself in this situation, the best course of action is to work with lawyers who will fight for you. We firmly believe in the presumption of innocence at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. That’s why clearing your name is our number one priority. We aggressively represent all our clients to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact our office today to find out how personalized legal representation is the key to our success and yours.
What Is Indecency with a Child?
Indecent conduct encompasses several crimes under New Mexico law. Indecent exposure occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally publicly exposes their primary genital area. New Mexico law refers to a person’s primary pubic area as the penis, testicles, vulva, vagina, mons pubis, and mons veneris.
The law says that indecent exposure is a misdemeanor. But indecency with a child by exposure is called aggravated indecent exposure under New Mexico Statutes § 30-9-14.3. Exposing yourself to a child under 18 and exposing yourself while abusing a child is a fourth-degree felony.
Indecency with a Child by Contact
Indecent exposure generally does not involve making contact with a child. New Mexico law has another statute regarding the criminal sexual contact of a minor, and this is an incredibly serious offense. The crime involves intentionally touching or applying force to the intimate parts of a minor’s body. Intentionally causing a minor to touch one’s intimate parts also falls under the statutory definition of criminal sexual contact of a minor. Intimate parts of the body include the primary genital area, groin, buttocks, anus, or breast.
Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor in the Second Degree
Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree occurs when someone has criminal sexual contact with the unclothed intimate parts of a minor when the child is either under 13 years of age. The crime can be charged if the child is between 13 and 18 when:
- The perpetrator of the crime is in a position of authority over the child and uses that authority to coerce the child into submission;
- The perpetrator uses force or coercion that results in personal injury to the child;
- The perpetrator uses force or coercion when aided and abetted by at least one other person; or
- The perpetrator displays a deadly weapon.
Second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor is a second-degree felony. If convicted, you face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison because the crime involves a sexual offense against a child. You cannot earn good time, parole, or receive a suspended sentence until serving at least three years of your sentence.
Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor in the Third Degree
Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the third degree is nearly identical to criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, except that unlawful contact is not required to occur on an unclothed intimate body part.
A person convicted of this crime faces a basic sentence of up to six years in state prison.
Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor in the Fourth Degree
Criminal sexual contact of a minor in the fourth degree is a fourth-degree felony. A person so convicted faces a basic sentence of up to 18 months in prison. This charge involves unlawful sexual contact with a child between 13 and 18 with force or coercion when none of the other factors outlined above are present. Also, the police can bring this offense when the victim is between 13 and 18, and the perpetrator is:
- A school employee, whether licensed or unlicensed;
- A school contract employee;
- Health service provider; or
- School volunteer.
For this crime to apply, the person accused must be 18 or older and at least four years older than the victim.
Criminal Sexual Penetration in the First-Degree
Criminal sexual penetration involves penetration of genital or anal openings to any extent and with a natural or unnatural object, including oral sex. Criminal sexual penetration in the first degree is a first-degree felony and occurs when the child victim is younger than 13 years of age. The basic sentence for this offense is imprisonment for 18 years.
The crime is aggravated criminal sexual penetration and a first-degree felony if the accused commits the crime on a child under 13 with intent to kill or with a depraved mind. The basic sentence for this crime is life imprisonment.
Criminal Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree
Criminal sexual penetration in the second degree occurs when the perpetrator uses force or coercion on a child between the ages of 13 and 18. A person guilty of this charge faces sentencing for a second-degree felony for a sexual offense against a child. The basic sentence is up to 15 years in prison, and the offender must serve at least three years without suspension or deferral.
Criminal Sexual Penetration in the Fourth Degree
Fourth-degree criminal sexual penetration of a minor occurs when the victim is between 13 and 16, the accused is older than 18, and at least four years older than the victim. This crime is also known as statutory rape. The basic sentence for this offense is 18 months imprisonment.
Facing Charges Involving Indecency with a Child in New Mexico?
You’ll need a tough, aggressive, experienced defense lawyer to fight your charges successfully. At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, our goal is to do everything possible to help reduce or eliminate the chance of a conviction for our clients. We prepare each case as though it will go to trial. That way, we are always ready to fight to get you the best result possible. Contact us today at 505-200-2982.