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Criminal Sentencing

When charged with a crime, the first question for most is what are the possible consequences?  The answer can actually be quite complicated and confusing for those charged with a crime.  However, the short answer is that it depends on a variety of factors and circumstances such as the seriousness of the crime, the person‘s criminal history, the type of crime, the judge, the person‘s acceptance of responsibility, the person‘s willingness to participate in rehabilitative programs and counseling, and many other factors.

In short, though there are maximum sentences and ranges of sentences dictated by the New Mexico criminal code, the judge in many cases has some flexibility on sentencing.  This flexibility allows the judge to impose straight jail time.  On the other hand, the judge in many cases can impose only probation with no jail or prison time.  The courts in jurisdictions such as Albuquerque where it is available may also impose house arrest or community custody (ankle bracelet).

There are a host of possibilities in between often resulting in a combination of different sentencing elements such as jail time plus probation in combination with counseling, drug and alcohol recovery programs, court programs such as drug court, domestic violence counseling, community service and so on.   In terms of sentencing, the challenge for the criminal defense attorney is to come up with a combination of sentencing elements that will meet with the court‘s approval while minimizing jail and prison time.

Because there are numerous options and there may be several available to any particular defendant and allowable the sitting judge, Collins & Collins, P.C. understands that it is important to explore all these possibilities with the client.  It is important to explore the possible sentences since without understanding the possible consequences, it is impossible for a defendant to evaluate a plea offer or to properly weigh the risks of going to trial.

If you have been charged with a crime, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.  And whether you intend to go to trial or not, you should fully understand the possible sentencing and other consequences of the charges.

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