When it comes to sentencing, the state of New Mexico divides lower-level crimes into two categories: misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor. If the crime is more serious then it’s considered a felony. Offenses that aren’t crimes (possession of a small amount of marijuana or a traffic violation) don’t lead to a jail sentence but will be punished with fines.
Here is what you need to know about how this state punishes misdemeanor crimes.
If you were arrested recently (no matter if it was a petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or crime) make sure to hire a New Mexico criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
New Mexico Misdemeanor Sentencing
When you get a conviction for a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor, the judge will determine the suitable sentence for the crime you did. New Mexico law has general penalties for misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors:
- Misdemeanors bring more than six months but less than one year in jail; it also includes fines of up to $1,000.
- Petty misdemeanors bring a jail time of less than six months and may include a fine of up to $500.
Some individual crimes can have maximum penalties that are shorter than six months, and some have obligatory minimum sentences. The maximum sentence for a first-offender let’s say of a DUI is 90 days in jail and a fine of a $500 fine, but the defendant must be confined to at least 24 hours of community service.
On the other hand, if you possess an illegal device for getting unauthorized telecommunication services, for example, you can face a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 days in jail and potentially a fine of $1000 (along with the standard jail time for a misdemeanor).
Can Previous Convictions Turn Misdemeanors Into Felonies?
According to New Mexico law, some misdemeanors are treated as a felony if you have one or more previous convictions for the same offense. For example, if someone is arrested for stalking, it is considered a misdemeanor for a first-time offense, but it will be considered a felony if this is a second or third-time offense. If you are beating a household member (as a form of domestic violence) it will be considered a misdemeanor but it will be a felony if this is your third or fourth time doing it.
Probation for Misdemeanors in New Mexico
The judge has the option of imposing a fine instead of sending you to jail if you are convicted for a misdemeanor (unless your crime has a mandatory minimum jail sentence). There is another sentencing option where the judge might impose jail time and then suspend the sentence and put you on probation with or without supervision.
This probation period might not be longer than the maximum jail time for your individual crime. Judges will consider different factors when determining whether to suspend or defer the sentence. They will consider the circumstances that surrounded the crime, your background and criminal record, and whether or not you’re a potential danger to the public.
Having a Criminal Defense Attorney Is a Must
Even though getting arrested and charged for a misdemeanor isn’t as serious as being charged with a felony, the misdemeanor conviction will stay on your record and may affect your life. Getting a job, finding a good place to rent, getting a professional license, or qualifying for government benefits, or enrolling in a college.
This type of offense may subject you to a harsher sentence if you violate the law in the future. When you’re charged with a crime, it is essential to have a skilled, experienced, and trustworthy criminal defense attorney who will first evaluate your case and then prepare a defense. The attorney should determine if there are grounds for dropping the charges and get the best possible outcome for you in the given circumstances. This way they should help you protect your rights through the entire process.
A good attorney is someone who will save you even when things seem challenging. This is why you ought to have a lawyer in such cases, instead of trying to get out of it by yourself (or wait for the state to give you an attorney). Our team at FBD Law is here to help you, evaluate your case, and stand by your side until the very end.
We are here to do our best and help you return to your normal life again. If you are looking for a trustworthy and determined lawyer, call our office and schedule your first consultation today.