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Albuquerque Rape/Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys

Legal Defense with Experience and Expertise to Fight Rape and Sexual Assault Charges in New Mexico

Sexual assault is a category of sexually-based crimes that includes any forced or unwanted sexual touching of certain usually private parts of the body, including genitals, breasts, or buttocks. Sexual assault includes the crimes of rape, sex abuse, molestation, incest, and statutory rape.  An experienced and dedicated rape and or sexual assault defense lawyer in Albuquerque can help defend and protect your legal rights if you have been accused of sexual assault or rape charges.

Rape, also called criminal sexual penetration (CSP), is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse with forced or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth, by a penis or other object without the victim’s consent. The modern definition of rape goes beyond sex acts carried out by physical force, and now also includes coercion and abuse of authority, in addition to sex with person incapable of valid consent, a minor under 16, a physically or mentally incapacitated person, or someone who is unconscious or drugged.

Sex crimes, including all forms of sexual assault, are vigorously prosecuted in New Mexico, and public sentiment is not sympathetic toward the accused. All it takes is an unproved accusation to ruin your reputation and destroy your relationship with family and friends.

If you’re convicted of a sex crime, you’re facing a punishment that keeps on punishing: prison time followed by parole or even civil commitment when your sentence is complete, and for the remainder of your life, you will be required to register as a sex offender. Your name, address, charges, and photograph will be available on the Internet for anyone to see.

Professional Legal Representation when Facing Rape or Sexual Assault Charges

When you’re up against an accusation of rape or sexual assault, hiring a thoroughly experienced Albuquerque sex crimes defense attorney is the best way you can fight the charges and protect your rights, your freedom, and your standing in the community.

The lawyer you choose should have extensive experience defending against sex crime allegations, including taking cases to trial.

Defense to Rape and Sexual Assault Allegations

You may feel hopeless when you’ve been accused, and it’s your accuser’s word against yours. With the right lawyer, however, there are defenses that can potentially exonerate you:

  • Consent, if your accuser was over the legal age of consent;
  • False accusations motivated by desire for revenge or punishment, perhaps for infidelity, or to discredit a former partner in a custody battle;
  • Lack of enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you raped the person who is accusing you.

Your lawyer will conduct an examination of police procedure surrounding your arrest to ascertain if your constitutional rights were violated, which might be grounds to have the charges dismissed. Next, a detailed review of the evidence by your lawyer may reveal weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. Depending on the circumstances, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea agreement with a reduced or deferred sentence. Otherwise, your sexual assault defense lawyer will continue to prepare your case for trial, where he will attempt to select an open-minded jury and present a powerful case that will reveal inconsistencies or holes in the prosecution’s case and discredit the testimony of the accuser and/or other witnesses and uncover motivations for a false accusation, attempting to create a reasonable doubt of your guilt and ultimately an acquittal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can my accuser refuse to press charges?

No. That decision belongs to the prosecution, not the accuser. Of course, a prosecutor may have a hard time winning a conviction against you if the victim refuses to cooperate. In most cases, however, a prosecutor can compel the accuser to testify and answer questions in most cases.

Can you be prosecuted for raping your spouse?

Yes. Spousal rape was criminalized in New Mexico in 1991, and the penalties are just as severe as they are for the rape of anyone else. Nevertheless, it is more difficult for the victim to prove lack of consent when the victim’s spouse is the defendant.

What is New Mexico’s Rape Shield Rule?

New Mexico’s Rape Shield Rule prevents the accused from presenting any evidence of the alleged victim’s reputation or past sexual conduct unless it is directly relevant to the case. Under some circumstances, this rule can make a defense more difficult.

Can I be sued for the offense even if I am acquitted?

Yes, you can. Although an acquittal in court will help you in a civil lawsuit, it is possible to be held liable in a civil lawsuit even after an acquittal in criminal court, because the burden of proof for a lawsuit is lower than the burden of proof in criminal court.

Will I have to register as a sex offender if I am convicted?

Yes, at least if you are over 18. Under New Mexico’s sex offender registration law, you must register within 10 days of your release from prison and within 10 days of changing your residence. This requirement applies while you live, work or study in New Mexico. You can be charged with a felony for failing to register.

Have New Mexico’s sex offender registration requirements been strengthened recently?

Yes. If you are subject to registration requirements, you now have to register any names or email addresses that you may use on social networking sites such as Facebook. New Mexico has a new website offering easier access to information about sex offenders.

What should I do if I am under investigation for rape or sexual assault by a law enforcement official?

  • Remain silent until your lawyer is present.
  • Do not resist a search if the officers have a warrant. You don’t need to consent to it, however, and it is OK to verbally object. You can always challenge it later.
  • Call your lawyer immediately if you receive a summons to appear in court or if you are taken to the police station for questioning.

What does a grand jury do?

A grand jury examines testimony and evidence presented by a prosecutor to determine whether there is enough evidence to induct you. You have no right to present a defense or even to attend. Merely being indicted will not deprive you of your liberty, however.

Why do prosecutors accept plea bargains?

If you plead guilty to an offense and the judge accepts your plea, there will be no trial. Prosecutors accept plea bargains for two main reasons:

  • They fear that their evidence is not enough to guarantee a conviction; or
  • Their dockets are busy and they wish to save the time and effort of a trial.

The Right Albuquerque Sexual Assault/Rape Attorney for You

If you or someone close to you has been accused of rape or sexual assault, the stakes are too high to face without a knowledgeable, skillful, attorney committed to your rights. As soon as you are arrested or have reason to believe you’re about to be, call the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices without delay. The sooner you have us working for you, the better the chance of an outcome that works for you. Do not speak to anyone until your lawyer is present. The first meeting is free, and if you can’t afford legal fees right now, we can arrange a convenient payment plan. Call us now to schedule your free initial consultation.