What Is the Penalty for Assault & Battery in New Mexico?
Assault and battery laws in New Mexico cover various conduct that carries various penalties. An assault or battery conviction is never something you want to have on your record. The best way to avoid the statutory and collateral consequences of an assault or battery conviction is to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side immediately following the charges. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we have handled many assault and battery offenses over the last two decades. Let us put our experience to work for you. Contact us today.
What Is Assault?
Before diving into the potential penalties, it is critical to understand the assault and battery crimes that exist in New Mexico. Specifically, assault can encompass many different types of conduct and, depending on the circumstances, can be charged under several statutes.
Under New Mexico law, assault consists of either:
- An attempt to commit a battery upon the person of another;
- Any unlawful threat, act, or menacing conduct which causes another person to reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of getting battered; or
- The use of insulting language toward another impugning their honor or reputation.
Assault is classified as a petty misdemeanor.
In New Mexico, aggravated assault is an enhanced, more serious offense than simple assault, as described above. It is defined as:
- Unlawfully striking at or assaulting another person with a deadly weapon;
- Threatening or menacing another person while wearing a hood, mask, or other covering on the head, face, or body, or while disguised in a way that conceals who you are; or
- Intentionally or willfully assaulting another person while harboring the intent to commit a felony.
Aggravated assault is generally a fourth-degree felony offense. Suppose you commit aggravated assault against a school employee, sports official (e.g., referee), or healthcare worker while they are carrying out their work duties. In that case, the charge becomes a third-degree felony.
Assault with Intent to Commit a Violent Felony
In addition to aggravated assault, the New Mexico legislature also enacted an additional statute for assault with the intent to commit a violent felony. Specifically, you could be guilty of assault with intent to commit a violent felony if you assault another with the intent to:
- Commit any murder or mayhem,
- Commit criminal sexual penetration in the first, second, or third degree,
- Commit robbery, or
- Commit burglary.
Intent to commit a violent felony is classified as a third-degree felony.
What Is Battery?
Under New Mexico law, battery is the unlawful, intentional touching or applying of force to another person when such touching is done in an insolent, rude, or angry manner.
Battery is generally a petty misdemeanor offense.
Under New Mexico law, aggravated battery is the unlawful touching or application of force to another while intending to injure that person or someone else.
Suppose the aggravated battery results in injury to the victim that is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm—but does cause painful temporary disfigurement or temporary loss or impairment of the functions of any member or organ of the body. In that case, the crime would be classified as a misdemeanor offense.
If the perpetrator is guilty of a third-degree felony if they:
- Inflict great bodily harm on the victim,
- Commit the aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, or
- Commit the battery in any manner that could inflict great bodily harm or death on the victim.
Also, any assault or battery committed against a family or household member may expose you to enhanced penalties under New Mexico’s domestic violence laws.
Penalties for Assault and Battery
The penalties for an assault or battery conviction vary widely depending on the crime charged.
Petty Misdemeanor Assault Conviction
A petty misdemeanor assault conviction is punishable by:
- Up to 6 months in jail, and
- Up to a $500 fine.
A conviction exposes you to the potential for both jail time and a fine.
Misdemeanor Assault and Battery Conviction
A conviction for misdemeanor assault and battery is punishable by:
- Up to 1 year in jail, and
- Up to a $1,000 fine.
Also, keep in mind that any criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, will result in a criminal record that could negatively impact many areas of your life.
Fourth-Degree Felony Conviction Assault and Battery
A conviction for fourth-degree felony assault and battery could result in the following:
- Up to 18 months in prison, and
- Up to a $5,000 fine.
As with all of these crimes, at their discretion, the judge could sentence you to only prison, only a fine, or a combination of both.
Third-Degree Felony Conviction Assault and Battery
A conviction for third-degree felony assault and battery is punishable by:
- Up to 3 years in prison, and
- Up to a $5,000 fine.
Again, the judge can penalize you with either of these penalties or a combination of the two.
Second-Degree Felony Conviction Assault & Battery
A conviction for second-degree felony assault and battery is punishable by:
- Up to 9 years in prison, and
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
As you can see, the amount of potential incarceration begins to climb dramatically at this level.
First-Degree Felony Conviction Assault & Battery
A conviction for first-degree felony assault and battery is punishable by:
- Up to 18 years in prison, and
- A fine of up to $15,000.
First-degree assault is the most severe assault crime you can face, and it carries the harshest penalties.
An assault or battery conviction of any magnitude can also lead to other penalties, including parole, probation, restitution, and community service. Additionally, there are collateral consequences, including possibly losing custody of your kids, losing the right to vote or possess firearms, and losing any professional licenses you might have. The best way to avoid these hardships is to have a robust and skilled advocate.
Assault and Battery Criminal Defense Attorneys
The criminal court system can be complex. If you were recently charged with an assault or battery, the penalties could be swift and steep. Speaking with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer immediately upon arrest is imperative. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, our practice is dedicated to helping those accused of crimes. For over 20 years, our attorneys have garnered great success advocating for our clients. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.