Every state enforces its own set of criminal laws. While some of the more serious crimes such as capital murder may receive similar penalties, California may penalize arson resulting in $5,000 of damages differently from New Mexico. It’s important to understand New Mexico’s unique take on criminal laws and sentencing if you run into trouble in the state.
Use LawInfo’s criminal law articles to help educate yourself about New Mexico’s laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with a New Mexico criminal law attorney in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho or elsewhere in the state.
Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. New Mexico has three main criminal offense classifications, in order of seriousness: felonies, misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors.
Each major crime classification is defined by the extent of their imprisonment sentences. Crimes sentenced with:
Felonies are further classified into five different degrees of seriousness, including:
Alcohol-impaired driving is the largest contributor to New Mexico’s traffic fatality statistics, accounting for 40 percent of all traffic fatalities. New Mexico does what it can to address the issue by ensuring that every driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense carries significant penalties.
The legal intoxication limit for adult drivers (over 21 years of age) is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent. The legal limit for minor drivers (under 21 years of age) is a BAC level of 0.02 percent. You can even receive a DWI if you show signs of impaired driving without having to test for your BAC level.
The first DWI offense is a misdemeanor which could cost you:
All of these penalties increase exponentially for each additional offense. By the fourth offense, the charge is upgraded to a fourth-degree felony.
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights, lay out your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense and limiting potential penalties.