Albuquerque Domestic Violence Lawyer
New Mexico Attorneys with Experience and Expertise in Defending Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges in New Mexico are taken very seriously by all parties involved. If your significant other calls the local authorities to report an incident of domestic violence, the authorities will almost surely question you and potentially take you into custody. However, domestic violence charges are difficult to prove and stick with, if there is no proof and no eyewitnesses. Significant others frequently call the police after a serious argument which does not lead to violence solely to upset their spouse. Contact our experienced Albuquerque domestic violence defense attorneys at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices for a free legal consultation.
Domestic Violence Laws in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico defines “domestic violence” as any of the following involving one household member committing an action against the other:
- Physical injuries
- Severe emotional distress
- Bodily injury (battery) or assault
- Assault with the intent to commit violent felony
- Threat of imminent body injury
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal damage to property
- Telephone harassment or harassment
- Repeatedly driving past place of work or residence
- Harm or threatened harm to children
New Mexico law defines “household member” as a spouse, family member, or a person with whom the alleged attacker has an ongoing personal relationship.
Domestic violence charges can carry very high punishment ranges, largely depending on any injuries sustained. A petty misdemeanor is the lowest tier of the charges and can result in up to six months in jail and a fine up to $500. A misdemeanor charge can carry up to a one year jail sentence and a fine up to $1,000. A fourth degree felony carries up to 18 months in prison and up to a $5,000 fine, while a third degree felony carries up to 3 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Furthermore, a judge can impose additional stipulations on a punishment for domestic violence charges, such as required counseling or a heightened charge for repeated offenders. For example, if you have earlier convictions of misdemeanor aggravated assault against a household member, you may be charged with a fourth degree felony.
Additionally, a household member alleging domestic violence may seek an emergency court-issued order of protection. In this case, the alleged abuser will not be present at the hearing and a law enforcement officer will tell the judge that the emergency order is needed. The order expires after 72 hours, but after this point the court may additionally issue a “temporary order of protection” in which the alleged abuser will be present during the meeting. An order of protection may cause you to lose temporary custody of your child as well as the ability to go to your residence or speak to your significant other. It is therefore important to contact an experienced Albuquerque criminal attorney as soon as you have received notice of a petition for an order of protection.
Defending Domestic Violence Charges
A domestic violence conviction can have severe repercussions on your family life, future career, and ability to gain custody of any children. A domestic violence charge is often brought out of anger at a household member and it is important to speak with a New Mexico domestic violence attorney concerning the true facts of the case, as well as present any witnesses who were at the scene of the occurrence. A household member may drop charges against the alleged domestic violence attacker, but a prosecutor will more than likely attempt to pressure the household member to move forward with charges.
New Mexico Criminal Defense Law Firm
Domestic violence is a hot political issue. This reality can turn an accusation of domestic violence into a devastatingly effective weapon against the accused, regardless of whether it is true or not. Even in cases where the allegations are true, defendants who lack effective legal representation are often “thrown to the lions” in court, due to the emotionally charged nature of this offense.
Moreover, many domestic violence cases boil down to a “he said, she said” situation, where the only real evidence is the testimony of the accuser. Other cases involve evidence that can be interpreted in more than one way. A good New Mexico domestic violence defense lawyer knows how to investigate an accusation in order to uncover evidence and construct arguments that other lawyers would miss.
A Criminal Prosecution is Like a War
The adversarial nature of the New Mexico criminal justice system makes a criminal trial something like a war between the prosecution and the defense, and attempting to represent yourself without experience in a criminal prosecution is like walking into combat unarmed. Even if you’ve got the truth on your side, in the end it only matters what you can prove.
As a criminal defendant, however, your ultimate advantages is the presumption of innocence. This means that all you need to defeat a prosecution is reasonable doubt. Fortunately, at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, creating reasonable doubt for the benefit of our clients is what we have been doing all day, every day for years on end.
We’ll Be Watching Your Back
We have secured dismissals, acquittals, and conditional discharges for a great many of our clients, and we have shaved thousands of years of prison time from the sentences of hundreds of others. Although we cannot make absolute guarantees (indeed, it would be unethical for us to do so), we can assert with confidence that your chances are almost certainly better with us.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is “stalking?”
Stalking is defined as a pattern of conduct toward a particular person that is designed to put that person in fear of death, bodily harm, confinement, sexual assault, or restraint of another person (the target’s child, for example). If stalking is directed against a “household member,” it can be considered a form of domestic violence.
What are some common defenses against domestic violence charges?
Although many defenses are possible, some of the most common are:
- False accusation (to gain advantage in a child custody proceeding, for example)
- Reasonable doubt
- The accuser is not a “household member” under New Mexico law (this defense may result in a lesser charge rather than an outright acquittal).
Can you guarantee that you will keep all of our communications confidential?
Yes, absolutely. As New Mexico lawyers, we are bound by attorney-client privilege, and we could be disbarred for revealing a client confidence. We are even required to refuse a judge’s order to testify in court about client secrets. Your secrets are safe with us.
What are the main criminal laws that govern domestic violence charges in New Mexico?
Three of the most important statute are:
- The Family Violence Protection Act;
- The Crimes Against Household Members Act; and
- The Harassment and stalking Act.
Can my accuser “drop charges” due to a change of heart?
No. Only the prosecutor can drop charges – in other words, the prosecutor can choose to pursue the case even over the accuser’s objections. While it is possible that a prosecutor might give up on the case because the accuser refuses to cooperate, don’t count on it.
Start Fighting Back
Your case may seem hopeless and the prosecution may seem invincible to you right now. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we understand the temptation to despair in a situation like this – we have seen it all too often. Take heart, because you can fight back, and we are here to help you do it.
As a small law firm rather than a giant mega-firm, our defense attorneys will not ignore you or delegate your case to a junior associate just because you are not a celebrity or a mob boss. You will enjoy direct access, and we will treat your case as if we were defending ourselves against a criminal prosecution.
Contact Us Today
If you are being investigated for domestic violence anywhere in New Mexico, or if you have already been charged, telephone us at 505-375-4765 or complete our online contact form so that we can schedule a free initial evaluation of your case and discuss your options.