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Domestic Violence Charges in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Experienced Santa Fe Domestic Violence Lawyers

Being charged with domestic violence in New Mexico could mean being caught up in a political firestorm due to the political significance and social stigma attached to this offense. A domestic violence charge is unique from other criminal charges involving an allegation of violence in three particular ways:

(i) “Domestic” means that the accuser must be defined as a “household member” with respect to you. A “household member” doesn’t have to be someone who lives with you. They can be a spouse, a family member, or the mother or father of your child (if you two are involved in an intimate relationship).

(ii) The definition of “violence,” for the purpose of domestic violence charges, has been broadened far beyond its ordinary dictionary meaning. “Violence” can mean:

  • Physical violence, even if it doesn’t cause injury
  • Infliction of severe emotional distress
  • Causing the apprehension of injury (taking a swing at someone, for example, even if you miss, or brandishing your fist)
  • Trespassing
  • Destruction of property
  • “Stalking”  behavior
  • Verbal harassment
  • Threats to harm the accuser’s children
  • Similar behavior – In fact, New Mexico law includes even “insults” within its definition of assault.

(iii) It is easy and simple for an accuser to get an emergency restraining order against you (known as a “domestic violence order of protection”). You can be barred from entering your own home for 72 hours without even having a chance to explain your side of the story to the judge. However, you will be allowed to present your side of the story if the accuser seeks to extend the order of protection beyond 72 hours. Contact our Santa Fe domestic violence lawyers to discuss your situation.

Penalties

If you are convicted of domestic violence, you could spend anywhere from six months to three years behind bars. Even though people convicted of domestic violence avoid prison altogether, the stigma of such a conviction could follow you even after you are released. We will fight hard to clear your name.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I be cleared if my accuser decides to drop the charges?

Not necessarily. Since your accuser didn’t bring charges in the first place (the prosecutor did), the accuser is not legally entitled to drop charges even after a change of heart. Although your accuser can refuse to cooperate, the prosecutor can compel him or her to testify at trial and answer questions under oath.

Can the criminal court rule on child custody during my prosecution?

No. A criminal court has no jurisdiction over a child custody issue. The family court can rule on this issue, however, and it can take a domestic violence charge into account even if you are not convicted of the offense. In fact, false allegations of domestic violence are commonly used as weapons in child custody battles. We will work hard to expose false allegations against you.

What are the consequences of violating a no-contact order?

Do not violate a no-contact order, because you could be sent to jail for it. Violation of a no-contact order is an offense that is independent of the underlying domestic violence charge. In other words, if you violate a no-contact order, you could be convicted of violating the order itself even if you are ultimately acquitted of the domestic violence charge. If you have questions get in touch with our Santa Fe domestic violence attorneys.

What are the “conditions of release” for a domestic violence charge?

That depends on the details of your case. Typical conditions of release include restrictions such as these:

  • No consumption of any kind of intoxicants
  • No leaving the state.
  • No possession of firearms.
  • No violations of the law, even minor traffic violations
  • No contact with the accuser in any form (in person, by email, over the phone, etc.)
  • You must keep a certain distance from the accuser at all times (500 yards, for example)

Some of these restrictions can be modified with the permission of the the court.

Contact Us to Help Defend You from This Charge

Yes, New Mexico prosecutors are aggressive – but so are we. We are veterans of the trench wars that we often have to fight to clear our client’s name. “Reasonable doubt” is all you need to win an acquittal, and we know many ways of creating that doubt, depending on the facts of your individual case. Naturally we cannot offer an absolute guarantee of a desirable result, but we can guarantee that we will fight for you with every weapon in our legal arsenal.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices immediately by calling us or by filling out our online contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve clients from all over Santa Fe, including Bishops Lodge, Jaguar Village, La Paz, and Rio Vista. We can even meet with you in jail if you are not free to come to our office.