Dedicated Albuquerque Criminal Defense Lawyers
Stealing is a crime. If you are caught stealing or accused of stealing, not only is it an embarrassment; it can have serious repercussions in your life. Whether the value of the items is large or small, stealing can get... Read More
Drug trafficking is a felony charge that applies to cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, or distribution, of illegal drugs, whether within the state, across state lines, or across national borders. Possession of a large enough amount of an illegal substance is presumed... Read More
In New Mexico as in the rest of the country, federal and state laws prohibit a minor under the age of 21 from purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages in most situations. Going along with the prohibition of underage drinking... Read More
If someone wants to destroy your life, it is hard to imagine a better way to do it than accusing you of molesting a child. All it takes is an accusation and the world will immediately look upon you with... Read More
Defense against Child Pornography-related Charges Crime accusations alleging exploitation of children - for example any charge pertaining to possession or distribution of child pornography-are highly emotional. Your life and reputation can be destroyed by these charges, and you may feel that you... Read More
Sex crimes carry a stigma that goes well beyond that associated with many other crimes, and it takes no more than an accusation to destroy your reputation. When you've been accused of a sex crime, even if the allegations are... Read More
Methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin are dangerous drugs because of their high potential for abuse and addiction among users. New Mexico's prisons are full of people who have struggled with debilitating drug addiction and who have been convicted of possession or... Read More
New Mexico is among the 20 U.S. states in which medical marijuana is legal. Since 2007, patients with certain conditions who have obtained a written recommendation from a doctor and a state registry identification card which allows them to avoid... Read More
Probation is often offered as a compromise to first-time offenders and others who a court feels would best be served by probation rather than serving time. Probation allows you to skip out on any potential jail or prison time in... Read More
If you haven't noticed by now, large organized drug trafficking rings will inevitably come to an end. They often have their high points followed quickly by their very low points. Unfortunately, as any cog in the larger drug trafficking machine,... Read More
Resisting arrest and public affray are two unique criminal charges which are so often thought of as minor offenses, but can in fact run the risk of quickly turning into felony convictions. If you have been charged with either resisting... Read More
White collar crimes are often laughed at, in remembrance of the Martha Stewart scandal and the infamous scene in Office Space, during which white collar crime convictions are described as something of a paradise. The reality is far removed from... Read More
Homicide and attempted murder charges in New Mexico often seem like the highest tiered criminal offense a person can commit. However, a criminal charge on suspicion of homicide or attempted murder is not a conviction and it is important to... Read More
Battery and assault are often used simultaneously to refer to the same event. Each state has different definitions for the two, leading to much of the confusion as the media and pop culture often use the two terms to refer... Read More
The "theft" offenses of New Mexico law involve robbery, burglary, and theft itself, as well as smaller forms of "larceny." Each offense comes with its own set of facts, despite the near constant desire to refer to robbery and burglary... Read More
Domestic violence charges in New Mexico are taken very seriously by all parties involved. If your significant other calls the local authorities to report an incident of domestic violence, the authorities will almost surely question you and potentially take you... Read More
DUI and DWI offenses can occur on the most unsuspecting nights. Many people are not aware of the amount of alcohol that equals the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content, but it is often much lower than you suspect. ... Read More
New Mexico Criminal Defense Law Firm
It wasn’t until about 1980 that the combined prison population of the United States first exceeded the population of Albuquerque. By 2012, it was closing in on the size of Chicago. Unfortunately, New Mexico’s incarceration rate is even higher than the national average. If you have been charged with a crime in New Mexico, you need to treat it as a very, very serious matter.
New Mexico’s high incarceration rate persists despite the fact that by global standards, criminal defendants enjoy extraordinarily comprehensive procedural protections. The most important of these protections is the presumption of innocence – since guilt must be established “beyond a reasonable doubt”, all you need to do to beat a prosecution is to establish reasonable doubt.
It’s Not as Easy as It Looks
A criminal trial in New Mexico is a lot like a boxing match between the prosecution and the defense, with the judge serving as the referee. New Mexico prosecutors are notoriously aggressive, and some of them will stop at little or nothing to deny you the daylight you need to establish reasonable doubt.
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, however, establishing reasonable doubt for the benefit of our clients is our job. With nearly 30 years of combined criminal defense practice experience, each of our criminal defense lawyers has appeared in nearly every New Mexico criminal court, both state and federal, and we know the lay of the land when it comes to the New Mexico criminal justice system.
Our Approach to Criminal Defense
Two lessons that only the best criminal defense attorneys have learned is that every case is unique and every client is unique. The “cookie cutter” approach to criminal defense used by most of our peers simply will not do with us. As a result, we have won dismissals, acquittals and conditional discharges for a great many of our clients, and we have shaved years or even decades off the sentences of many more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does the statute of limitations work?
The statute of limitations sets a deadline by which the prosecutor must file charges with respect to a particular crime. The statute of limitations period typically starts running on the day the crime is committed. In New Mexico, the periods are:
- Misdemeanors: Two years
- Third and fourth degree felonies: Five years
- Second-degree felonies: Six years
- First-degree felonies: No limitation
How does a plea bargain work?
A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for the prosecutor’s recommendation to the court to accept the plea and dismiss the original charge. Although the court is not bound by the plea agreement, it usually accepts it.
What is the exclusionary rule and why does it matter?
Under the exclusionary rule, no evidence that has been obtained in an unconstitutional manner can be used as evidence in court. Evidence seized with a defective search warrant, for example, can be excluded. Exclusion of critical evidence often results in charges being dropped.
What is the entrapment defense?
Entrapment occurs when the police persuade a defendant to commit a crime that he probably would not have committed without police inducement. Certain types of “sting” operations may qualify as entrapment. A successful entrapment defense results in the complete acquittal of the defendant.
What happens if the police forget to “read me my rights”?
Nothing you say can be used against you in court, until you have been informed of your rights. If the police refuse to read you your rights and you confess, for example, your confession cannot be used as evidence.
What is a conditional discharge?
A conditional discharge is a dismissal of your charges, without a formal adjudication of guilt, on the condition that you complete a certain period of probation. Although a conditional discharge is not the same as a conviction, it does become a part of your criminal record and is not necessarily eligible for an expungement. A conditional discharge is only available once in a lifetime, and even then, only for a first-time offender.
How long does a criminal conviction stay on my record?
The unfortunate answer to this question is “forever,” at least in most cases. In rare cases, an expungement will be available, which will clear your public record. If you reoffend, however, your offense might still be treated as a second offense because law enforcement officials are likely to retain access to information about your expunged conviction.
How should I respond to police questioning?
Tell them you cannot answer any of their questions until you get an attorney and until your attorney is present during questioning. If you answer any of their questions, your answers can be used against you in court unless the police failed to “read you your rights” before questioning you. This advice applies regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent.
I was arrested for DUI at a New Year’s Eve checkpoint where the police were randomly pulling over drivers for no apparent reason. Do I have a defense based on the Fourth Amendment?
Probably not, unfortunately. The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are legal even without any particular suspicious behavior on the part of the driver (unlike certain other states that forbid DUI checkpoints). If the checkpoint was discriminatory – for example, the police only pulled over black drivers and you are black – you might have a defense based on discrimination. If you win a discrimination claim, your DUI charge would almost certainly be dismissed due to lack of admissible evidence.
We Will Stand and Fight for You
If you are facing significant prison time, you may feel that your situation is hopeless. Let us urge you to take heart. Although we cannot guarantee results (and indeed, it would be a violation of our professional ethics to do so), our experienced New Mexico defense lawyers have seen many of our clients walk into our office for the first time in dire circumstances, and walk out the last time with a dismissal, an acquittal or a favorable plea bargain.
A criminal prosecution is adversarial to the core, and significant opportunities arise for beleaguered defendants from time to time – a search warrant turns out to be defective, a witness recants a statement, or new evidence surfaces that harms the prosecution’s case. We have seen all of this before, and we will be ready to pounce on any such opportunity.
Contact Albuquerque’s Trusted Criminal Defense Attorneys Today for a Free Initial Consultation
If you are being investigated a crime in New Mexico, or if you have already been charged with one, call us at 505-375-4765, or complete our online contact form, to schedule a meeting where we can discuss your options. The clock is ticking.