As expert Albuquerque criminal defense lawyers, we know criminal charges and subsequent conviction can alter the direction of a person’s life forever. This is why your attorney must put up the best possible rebuttal to secure an acquittal or have the case against you dismissed. In this article, we look at the common defenses to criminal charges in New Mexico. If you need an excellent Albuquerque criminal defense attorney, contact us at FBD Law today.
What Are the Common Defenses to Criminal Charges in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, there are different crimes a person may be charged with. The circumstances of the case and the offense committed determine the charge. So it could be armed robbery, murder, manslaughter, child abuse or endangerment, etc. Whatever the crime, there are several defenses that the law allows an accused person to put forth.
We discuss some of these defenses below but note that where one applies, another may not.
The mental and physical elements (mens rea and actus reus) must go hand in hand for a crime to exist. However, there are instances where the physical component (the offender’s action) would be present without the mental aspect. Here, the defense lawyer will present “accident” as a defense.
An accident here connotes that you had no “intention” to commit a crime. It means that you acted without any criminal intent or negligence, and the offense was not deliberate. As such, you should bear no criminal responsibility.
However, just because a crime was an accident doesn’t mean the prosecutor will not file charges. They will, and it’s up to your lawyer to prove your innocence. So as long as you were not negligent and behaved prudently, your lawyer should be able to use the defense of accident to absolve you of liability.
Alibi is one of the most common defenses in criminal law. It is a Latin word meaning “in another place.” It means that you could not have been at the crime scene because you were physically at another location. This defense is common in cases where the commission of the offense requires the physical presence of the perpetrator. For example, murder and armed robbery cases.
Your Albuquerque criminal defense attorney must raise this defense at the earliest possible time. Usually, they do this soon after your arrest. A lawyer can establish an alibi using surveillance video, witnesses, credit card receipts, phone or car GPS, etc. Once they show proof, the prosecution has no choice but to drop the charges against you.
The police love to close cases and move on to the next crime. So in their bid to do so, they sometimes use overbearing measures to coerce a confession out of a suspect. Examples of coercive conduct include:
- Questioning you after you requested a lawyer
- Depriving you of food, water, and sleep
- Using physical force or threatening to use physical force
- Falsely promising you leniency in exchange for a confession
If the police subject you to any of these, let your attorney know as soon as you have one. Two things could happen as a result of a coerced confession. First, the judge may exclude such confession from evidence. Second, it may lead to the prosecution dropping the case altogether.
It is possible to commit a crime because you “reasonably” believe that your life was in danger. Thus, when you commit a crime because of another person’s threats and menacing actions, your lawyer will raise duress as a defense. Under New Mexico law, you must prove three elements for this defense to be successful.
- Immediate threat
- Reasonable fear
- No escape
Note that duress is an affirmative defense, so all three elements must be present. Also, you must show that the harm you prevented is higher than the crime you committed. Again, an Albuquerque defense lawyer can help you with this.
Other Common Defenses
Other common defenses to criminal charges are:
- Double jeopardy
- False accusation/wrongful arrest
- Lack of probable cause
- Mistaken identity
- Mistake of fact
- Police misconduct
- Parents right to discipline a child
- Self-defense/defense of others, etc.
Do You Need Legal Representation? Contact Albuquerque Criminal Defense Lawyers
Have you been accused of a crime in New Mexico? Our Albuquerque criminal defense lawyers at FBD Law can help you present the best defense to get you off the charge. If the case proceeds to trial, we will secure a reduced sentence. Our lawyers will also protect your rights every step of the way. To find out more about what our criminal defense lawyers can do for you, contact us today.