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Driven Albuquerque Robbery, Burglary, and Theft Defense Lawyers

Experienced Criminal Defense for Robbery, Theft, and Burglary Charges in New Mexico

robbery snatching woman's purse theftThe “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 as the same offense.  Robbery and burglary are in fact quite different offenses and each carry unique charges.  It is important you contact our experienced and successful Albuquerque theft defense attorneys if you or a loved one have been accused of any type of theft crime.

Robbery vs. Burglary in New Mexico

Under New Mexico law, burglary is defined as the “unauthorized entry of any vehicle, dwelling…..or other structure….with the intent to commit any felony or theft therein.”  Robbery, on the other hand, is defined as “the theft of anything of value from the person of another or from the immediate control of another, by use or threatened use of force or violence.”

In simple terms, burglary involves breaking into your property while robbery involves the theft of your person using force.  Robbery is considered a violent crime against another person because it involves the use of force.

Burglary and robbery both carry felony charges, up to a first-degree felony charge.  Therefore, robbery and burglary can result in up to life in prison depending on the severity of the charge and whether anyone was injured during the crime itself.

Theft Offenses in New Mexico

New Mexico law defines theft crimes as “larceny,” which literally means the “stealing of anything of value that belongs to another.”  Therefore, theft can range in form of offense to include property, services, or money that has been taken.  Offenses under the umbrella of “theft crimes” include:

  • The receipt of stolen property
  • Shoplifting
  • Identity theft
  • Fraud
  • Falsely obtaining services or accommodations
  • Theft of credit card
  • Embezzlement
  • Criminal Mischief

Theft offenses can occur in a wide variety of situations and involve a number of fact patterns.  While they typically occur in commercial businesses, they can also be used in a residence and can be tacked on to additional offenses such as burglary and robbery.

Theft Punishment Ranges

Since the range of theft crimes is so large, New Mexico law breaks up theft punishments based on the value of the property stolen.  Certain items are classified based on the type of property stolen.

Value of PropertyChargePunishment
$250 or lessPetty MisdemeanorUp to 6 months in jail and up to $500 fine
$250-$500MisdemeanorUp to one year in jail and up to $1,000 fine
$500-$2,500Fourth-degree felonyUp to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 fine
$2,500 – $20,000Third-degree felonyUp to 3 years in prison and up to $5,000 fine
$20,000 or moreSecond-degree felonyUp to 9 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine

Additionally, victims of theft crimes can pursue civil charges against any a person on any theft charges to help reimburse the loss of their stolen items.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I was intoxicated and I accidentally rode off on someone else’s bicycle thinking it was my own. Is this a valid defense?

Technically it is a valid defense, but it might be difficult to prove. The act of taking someone else’s property raised the presumption that you did so intentionally, which reverses the burden of proof onto you. Your defense would be that, due to your intoxication, you had no criminal intent.

The homeowner left his door unlocked and I used no force to enter. Is this a defense against a burglary charge?

No. It is not necessary to enter a home by force to commit burglary. All that is required is that you entered without authorization with the intention to commit a felony or a misdemeanor theft.

Is it possible to dispute the economic value of the stolen item to receive a lesser sentence?

Yes, it is possible under certain circumstances. If it is possible, and if conviction seems likely, it is very important that you vigorously pursue this defense strategy, because in some cases a small increase in the assessed value of the item could add years to the maximum sentence.

I didn’t know the property I possessed was stolen. Do I have a valid defense?

Perhaps. Simply claiming that you didn’t know the item was stolen is unlikely to be persuasive absent further evidence, however, because anyone could say that. If you can show that you had no reason to believe the item was stolen, however, you might win an acquittal.

How does a plea bargain work?

Trials take time, and in many cases the prosecutor is not certain of eventually winning a conviction. Due to this, the prosecutor might allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge (thereby avoiding a trial) in exchange for a recommendation to the judge to accept your plea. The judge is not obligated to accept the prosecutor’s recommendation.

The police seized the physical evidence against me without a warrant. Do I have a valid defense?

It depends on whether or not the police acted under a valid exception to the warrant requirement. There are many exceptions to the warrant requirement, including:

  • You were on probation at the time you were searched
  • You were suspected of committing a felony and there was no time to obtain a warrant
  • The officer saw you commit the crime.

Will I be acquitted if the police failed to read me my rights?

Not automatically. If the police fail to read you your rights, nothing you say can be used as evidence against you, including a confession. If the prosecutor doesn’t have enough evidence to win a conviction without relying on what you told the police, you could be acquitted.

Do I have to leave the shop with the merchandise to be convicted of shoplifting?

No. Merely concealing the item by putting it into your pocket could be enough to result in a conviction for shoplifting. Other ways you could commit shoplifting without leaving the shop include:

  • altering a price tag;
  • transferring merchandise from one container to another; and
  • “taking possession” of the item (obviously, this would not include placing the item into your shopping cart)

In all cases, what your actions indicated about your intentions will be key.

Reputable Albuquerque Burglary, Theft, Robbery Defense Lawyers Are Here To Help

If you have been charged with robbery, burglary, or any theft crime, it is important to contact our Albuquerque theft defense lawyers as soon as you are able.  Theft crimes can be difficult to sort out on your own and involve a number of different fact patterns and scenarios.  Multiple offenses may even be charged together if they are all part of the overall same criminal act.  It is therefore important to contact our law offices today and speak with one of our experienced Albuquerque defense attorneys to discuss the best strategy to tackle your case. Call 505-200-2982 today!

Our experienced attorneys also handle other types of cases, including: