What Are the Consequences of a Child Molestation Conviction?
New Mexico sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses. When the allegations involve a sex crime committed against a child, such as child molestation, the consequences can be even more severe. Anyone facing New Mexico child molestation charges should immediately reach out to a dedicated criminal defense legal practitioner to discuss their case and begin working on a compelling defense.
When thinking about the consequences of a child molestation conviction, it is important to consider both the direct and collateral consequences of the conviction. The direct consequences of a conviction involve those aspects of a sentence intended to punish a defendant for committing a crime. These typically include jail time, fines, restitution, participation in certain classes, parole, and probation.
The collateral consequences of a child molestation conviction involve the repercussions a defendant faces that, while detrimental to their life, are not part of their punishment—for example, whether a conviction requires a defendant to register as a sex offender or how a conviction impacts a defendant’s ability to get a job in the future.
What Constitutes Child Molestation in New Mexico?
New Mexico does not define child molestation. Instead, state law identifies a variety of offenses, depending on the child’s age and the allegations involved. Below is a list of crimes that fit under the broad umbrella of what may be considered child molestation.
Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor
While all sex offenses involving children are incredibly serious, criminal sexual contact with a minor is one of the least serious crimes in this category. Under New Mexico Statutes Section 30-9-13, criminal sexual contact of a minor is defined as the “unlawful and intentional touching of or applying force to the intimate parts of a minor or the unlawful and intentional causing of a minor to touch one’s intimate parts.” In this context, “intimate parts” refer to the genitals, groin, buttocks, anus, or breasts.
Criminal sexual contact with a minor is either a second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree felony. Consequences of a criminal sexual contact with a minor conviction range from up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for a fourth-degree felony to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $12,500 for a second-degree felony.
Rape of a Child
New Mexico Statutes Section 30-9-11 covers a variety of rape offenses. Rape is defined as the “unlawful and intentional causing of a person to engage in sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse or the causing of penetration, to any extent and with any object, of the genital or anal openings of another. New Mexico child rape laws classify an offense as either fourth-degree rape, second-degree rape, first-degree rape, or aggravated rape, depending on the specific allegations.
Fourth-degree rape includes what is commonly referred to as statutory rape. Statutory rape in New Mexico is defined as sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 13 and 18 by someone who is at least 18 and at least four years older than the child. Fourth-degree rape also includes sex between a school worker and a student aged 13 to 18, when the school employee knew the child was a student. Fourth-degree rape is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Third-degree rape is that catch-all offense, used when the allegations do not fit into any other subsection of the rape statute. However, all child rape allegations will fit into another category, so third-degree rape is not typically charged in these situations. Nonetheless, third-degree rape is graded as a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Second-degree rape is the rape of a child through the use of force or coercion. Second-degree rape is a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $12,500.
First-degree rape involves committing a rape that causes a child “great bodily harm or mental anguish.” First-degree rape is a first-degree felony punishable by 18 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.
The most serious New Mexico child rape offense is aggravated rape, which involves the rape of a child under 13 years of age with intent to kill or with a depraved mind without regard for human life. Aggravated rape is a first-degree felony that is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $17,500.
Collateral Consequences of a Child Molestation Conviction
While it is common to focus on the criminal consequences of a child molestation conviction, because these are often seen as the most serious, the collateral consequences of a conviction can also be severe. For example, the following are all collateral consequences of a New Mexico sex crime:
- Suspension of your right to vote until your sentence is completed successfully;
- Ineligibility for public housing benefits;
- If you are a non-resident alien, being subject to deportation proceedings;
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender, possibly for life;
- Difficulty finding a job;
- Restrictions on where you can live; and
- Ineligibility to serve in the military.
The consequences of a child molestation conviction cannot be overstated, and anyone facing these allegations should reach out to a dedicated New Mexico criminal defense legal practitioner as quickly as possible.
Are You Facing Child Molestation Charges?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with a New Mexico child molestation offense, you need an aggressive attorney who is ready to stand up for your rights. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of attorneys who handle all types of sex crimes, including those involving children. We understand the seriousness of these allegations, even if they are completely fabricated, and will work with you to develop a compelling defense to clear your name. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our New Mexico child molestation defense legal practitioners, give us a call or connect with us through our online form.