In every criminal case, whether it involves DWI, misdemeanor or felony charges, the judge will set conditions of release.  These conditions involve fairly standard terms.  Some or all of the terms may be ordered depending on the nature of the charges, the circumstances, the defendant‘s criminal history and a number of other factors the court will consider in setting the conditions.

What are the most common Conditions of Release?

Some of the most common terms are as follows:

1) No contact with the alleged victim,

2) No possession/consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs,

3) No possession of firearms or other deadly weapons,

4)  No violations of any State or Federal Laws including driving without insurance or driving without a valid license,

5)  No travel outside the county or surrounding counties of the defendant’s residence, and

6) Keep the attorney informed of any changes of address.  Others can be added as well at the discretion of the judge.

Violations of Conditions of Release

Violations of conditions of release are taken very seriously by New Mexico judges, or any judge for that matter.  Violations of conditions of release can and often do result in arrest.

Depending upon the situation, the defendant may be held until the trial date.  Some of the conditions are technical in nature and may be violated somewhat innocently.  There may be slightly more latitude here but repeated violations even of minor technical conditions can result in jail time

There are several, like bail, that are intended to insure the defendant’s presence at court dates.  Others are set to specifically address the nature of the offense for the protection of the alleged victim and the public.  Violations of these will receive little sympathy from the courts, probation or the prosecutor.

Conditions of Release Sometimes Negotiable 

Depending upon the circumstances, several of these conditions are often negotiable.  Clearly, the conditions related to violations of law are not negotiable.  Nor is it acceptable to change addresses without notifying the defendant’s attorney since the defendant will then not receive notices, and will miss required court dates.

For those that are negotiable, it is most definitely in the defendant’s interest to have as few conditions as possible.  The conditions can be somewhat burdensome and a few can be violated inadvertently.   In many cases, the conditions can cause severe and unnecessary hardship on the defendant.  In others, conditions such as no contact orders can even cause great and unnecessary hardship on the alleged victim and the family.

Address Your Unique Situation Early with your Attorney 

It is critical to address the conditions with your attorney as early as possible.  In other words, let your attorney know that you work out of county, or that you work in law enforcement/military so that travel and firearm restrictions will potentially cause a loss of employment.

This is taken very seriously by the courts, and in fact, employment is on occasion a condition of release.  Financial strain on the family resulting from a no contact order should be addressed early as well.  In some cases, the no contact order is essential.  In others, for many reasons, it is not.  The judge will generally assume these conditions are necessary unless otherwise informed.

Again, depending on the circumstances, the charges and the defendant’s criminal history, other conditions may be set as well.  In fact, the conditions can be extremely burdensome and might include strict pretrial supervision involving extremely strict probation, random drug and alcohol screens, and daily contact with probation and so on.  However, even these strict conditions are far better than pretrial detention which may well be the result in case of violation of the conditions of release.

Do not delay!

If you or someone you care about has questions about their Conditions of Release, or have violated their Conditions of Release, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced New Mexico criminal defense attorney right away.

Issues related to conditions of release can be time sensitive and quick action can possibly prevent serious consequences to your and your family.  Failure to promptly address these issues can and often does result in unnecessary jail time.