When Do Gun Crimes Become Felony Offenses?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Criminal Defense for Gun Crimes and Felony Offenses in New Mexico

smoking gun Gun crimes often face enhancements, which means the existence of a firearm in the commission of a crime could increase the sentence. However, it will depend on the type of crime and the use of the firearm.

What is a First-Degree Felony?

A first-degree felony is the most serious aside from a capital crime. A first-degree offense can include murder, criminal sexual penetration, and serious sex crimes. Also, kidnapping and robbery using a firearm can be enhanced to a first-degree offense.

A first-degree felony can result in life in prison and a fine of up to $17,500.

What is a Second-Degree Felony?

A second-degree crime includes robberies or shooting a vehicle from a motor vehicle. Also, drug trafficking and the possession with intent to distribute constitute felony offenses.

In New Mexico, a second-degree felony conviction results in up to 15 years in prison and fines of as much as $12,500.

What is a Third-Degree Felony?

In New Mexico, a third-degree felony includes certain sex crimes, aggravated battery, and even voluntary manslaughter.

A third-degree felony conviction could result in up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

How Do Enhancements Work?

Enhancements are sentence increases. If a variety of factors are present, such as the use of a gun or prior convictions, the judge can use sentencing enhancements to increase the prison term. However, there are two more common types of sentence enhancements:

The Use of a Firearm

If the firearm is used in a crime, there is an alteration allowed in the gun crime to give a harsher sentence. The use of the firearm in a noncapital felony allows for a one-year sentence and no suspension or deferments.

Second Non-Capital Felony

The second non-capital felony that uses a firearm could result in a three-year prison sentence that cannot be suspended or deferred.

How Habitual Offenders are Treated

Those who are labeled habitual offenders by the courts can have more severe punishments added. Prior noncapital drug offenses could increase by one year unless the court finds that the prior felony conviction was nonviolent enough that there would be no justice in imposing a mandatory sentence enhancement.

If there are three prior noncapital offenses or drug crimes, the prison sentence could be enhanced by eight years, while two prior offenses could result in up to three years.

Gun Crimes are Serious – Speak with an Attorney

Gun crimes and prior convictions could result in a severe criminal sentence. Therefore, you cannot risk going to court without adequate representation.  Speak with an attorney today from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at 505-375-4671 to schedule a consultation. You can also send us a message online with your concerns.

Our law firm is dedicated to helping those arrested for a crime have a fair chance in the justice system. We aggressively protect your rights, and we work alongside you so that you fully understand the charges you face and the consequences. Without representation, you risk years of your life in prison. Let our attorneys explore better options for your future.