Why Patscheck Law, P.C.?
It’s the prosecutor’s job to show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, send you to prison, and put a conviction on your record. Attorney Patscheck used to be a prosecutor, so she knows what you’re facing. It’s why she started her criminal defense law firm, and her insight gives you an edge when so much is at stake.
We aggressively fight to win your case and clear your name:
- Free & confidential consultation
- Award-winning legal representation
- Stay in constant contact about your case
- Benefit from a deep understanding of New Mexico criminal law and the other side’s methods
Call now for your free consultation.
What to Expect After Your Arrest
The criminal justice system is challenging and unforgiving for both first-time offenders and individuals familiar with criminal courts. Either way, a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer could be your best opportunity to avoid prison and other penalties.
Here’s an overview of what you might experience if you’re dealing with felony or misdemeanor charges.
First Court Appearance
Farmington adults arrested are usually detained at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center until their first court appearance.
At your first appearance:
- You could be released on bail and return home while you wait for trial or the judge could hold you pending trial.
- You should receive a copy of the criminal complaint(s) and understand the potential penalties.
- If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you should enter a Not Guilty plea at this time. If you’re charged with a felony, you will not enter a plea. This comes later and should always be discussed with a criminal lawyer beforehand.
Patscheck Law can guide you through the entire process.
Conditions of Release
Our criminal defense attorneys will ask the court to release you immediately.
If the court grants you release on your recognizance, you don’t have to pay a bond. You may be supervised by Pre-Trial Services as a condition of your release. Your release will be conditioned upon your promise to appear for court, stay out of trouble, and comply with any other rules the court sets.
Will you be released?
The court listens to both sides and considers certain factors in deciding if you are eligible for release:
- Severity of your alleged crime
- Likelihood that you will appear at future hearings
- Your ties to your family, community, and employment
- Your previous criminal record.
How your attorney presents these elements could be the difference between staying in jail or returning home.
New Mexico Criminal Law: Felony Charges
A local criminal lawyer can help you understand the process, your rights, and how to best defend yourself when facing felony charges.
Here’s what you can expect:
Preliminary Hearing/Grand Jury
If you are arrested on felony charges in or around Farmington, you will first appear in Magistrate Court in Farmington or Aztec. Your preliminary hearing is when the court decides whether probable cause exists to proceed with the charges against you. If probable cause exists, the State will file a Criminal Information and your case will be moved to District Court.
It is crucial for you and your attorney to prepare a strong defense at this stage of the proceeding.
Felony Conviction Penalties
There are five basic levels of felonies with increasingly longer prison sentences and higher fines.
- Fourth-degree felonies (including false imprisonment, possession of a controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter and burglary) have a maximum of 18 months in prison and $5,000 in fines.
- Third-degree felonies (including aggravated battery and child abuse) have a maximum of three years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
- Second-degree felonies (including trafficking a controlled substance and some sex offenses) have a maximum of nine years in prison and $12,500 in fines.
- First-degree felonies (including kidnapping and sex offenses involving a minor under 13) have a maximum of 18 years in prison and $17,500 in fines.
- Capital felonies (including first-degree murder) are punishable with life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole.
A felony conviction can be enhanced by mandatory prison time if you have a prior felony conviction, if a firearm was used, or if the Court finds aggravating circumstances. In addition, some offenses such as felony DWI and possession of child pornography carry increased penalties if convicted.
Make a Deal or Go to Trial?
Not all criminal cases proceed to a jury trial. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea bargain with the State.
A plea lets you:
- Accept lesser charges or lighter penalties.
- Potentially avoid time in custody or other harsh consequences.
- Reduce expensive fines.
- Eliminate the risk of more severe penalties at trial.
However, you must plead guilty or no contest to make a deal. Even if the agreement means that you can return home sooner, you may still carry a criminal conviction. This closes many doors: personally, professionally, financially, and socially.
A jury trial lets you:
- Pursue a Not Guilty verdict –freeing you from jail, fines, and other penalties.
- Clear your name and reputation.
- Lead police to the actual offender.
Our founding attorney Shellie A. Patscheck has won many impressive verdicts over the years and prepares every case for the courtroom from the start, knowing full well that she can often secure favorable results by aggressively negotiating for her clients.
Remember that the burden of proof is on the state. Let an effective criminal defense lawyer at Patscheck Law, P.C. raise that doubt, question the evidence, and find the best possible resolution.
New Mexico Criminal Law: Misdemeanor Charges
Misdemeanor charges are less severe than felonies. The arrest, charging, and the sentencing process is also less complex.
Most common misdemeanors in Farmington:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)/Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Battery Against a Household Member (Domestic Violence)
- Simple Assault and Battery
- Certain moving violations
There is no such thing as a “minor” criminal charge when your life, liberty, and future are at risk. If you are arrested or charged with a misdemeanor charge, call Patscheck Law, P.C. right away
Misdemeanor/Petty Misdemeanor Maximum Prison and Fines
Non-felony crimes are classified as misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors.
- Misdemeanors (including many DWI/DUI offenses, harassment, and trespassing) have a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Petty misdemeanors (including shoplifting under $250, disorderly conduct, and simple battery) have a maximum of six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Collateral Penalties for Criminal Convictions
Criminal convictions stay on your record – that includes misdemeanors. You could suffer the consequences of a criminal record for the rest of your life.
A criminal record can prevent you from:
- Owning a firearm
- Securing custody of minor children
- Applying or holding specific jobs
- Running for public office
- Serving on a jury
- Qualifying for some student and government loans, benefits, and housing
- Serving in the military
You may be able to avoid time behind bars and a criminal record with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.
Expungements in New Mexico
The stigma of a criminal record is clear and lasting. But under some circumstances, you may be eligible to clear your record and make it as though a prior conviction never happened with an expungement. Patscheck Law, P.C. is experienced in securing expungements of criminal records and can guide you through the expungement process. If you meet some basic criteria, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged from public view and background checks. Our experienced expungement attorney can determine the best avenue to help you gain your life back.