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New Mexico Homicide Lawyer

Deaths occur in numerous different ways, both intentional and unintentional. If you are accused of causing someone else’s death, you should consult with a homicide attorney right away. A homicide conviction can land you in prison for the rest of your life. You need an attorney with the resources and experience necessary to defend your case. Our homicide lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can review your case and determine whether a valid legal defense applies. 

Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

Overview of Homicide Laws in New Mexico

New Mexico defines (30-2-1) first-degree murder as the killing of a human being by another person without lawful justification or excuse, in any of the following ways:

  • By any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing;
  • In the commission of or attempt to commit any felony; or
  • By any act greatly dangerous to the lives of others, indicating a depraved mind regardless of human life.

First-degree murder is a capital felony in New Mexico. A capital felony is punishable by up to life in prison.

Second-degree murder occurs when a person kills another human being by committing acts they know to create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to another person.

Second-degree murder is a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $12,500.

Unintentional Killings in New Mexico

When the killing is unintentional, manslaughter (30-2-3) charges are typically more appropriate than murder charges. If the killing occurs after sufficient provocation, such as a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion, it is considered voluntary manslaughter. The provocation must be sufficient to affect the reasoning of an ordinary person of average disposition and cause a temporary loss of self-control.

Additionally, the accused must commit the killing while in a state of fear, anger, rage, sudden resentment, or terror caused by the provocation. They cannot give themselves a “cooling off” period; otherwise, the crime will not be committed in the heat of passion. Voluntary manslaughter is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing committed in the commission of an unlawful act that is not a felony, or in the commission of a lawful act that might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

To prove involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove the accused acted recklessly or with criminal negligence. A person acts recklessly when they are aware of the risk they are creating with their actions, like when a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car.

A person is criminally negligent when they are unaware of an obvious risk they are creating with their conduct, even though a reasonable person would be. Involuntary manslaughter charges often arise when a drunk driver crashes their vehicle, and another driver dies in the accident.

Another way someone can commit involuntary manslaughter is by unintentionally causing someone’s death while committing a misdemeanor like trespassing or criminal mischief. 

 Involuntary manslaughter is considered a fourth-degree felony. A fourth-degree felony is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Defenses to Homicide in New Mexico

The prosecutor is required to prove every element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If a valid legal defense applies to your case that can defeat an element of the charge, such as:

  • Another person caused the victim’s death,
  • You acted in self defense, 
  • You acted in defense of another person, 
  • Coercion or duress made you commit the crime, or
  • You were falsely identified as the killer.

A homicide defense attorney can review the circumstances of your case to determine whether a valid legal defense applies. 

Contact a Homicide Defense Lawyer at The New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to Discuss Your Case

Our homicide lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices have over two decades of combined experience defending clients against criminal accusations in New Mexico. We focus primarily on criminal defense cases, fighting tirelessly to defend the rights of the accused.

Our team does not use a one-size-fits-all defense strategy for all of our clients’ cases. Instead, we sit down with each client to discuss the details of their case and expectations from our office.

An experienced criminal defense attorney at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices will work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome in your case. Contact our office today to talk to a homicide lawyer.