Conditions of Release on Domestic Violence Charges in Albuquerque

By:
September 26th, 2009 in Domestic Violence

On every criminal charge filed in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico for that matter, an Order Setting Conditions of Release will be issued. The Order is pretty standard for the most part.

The Order will prohibit the possession or consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, the violation of any laws while out on release, driving without a valid driver‘s license, or the possession of firearms or other deadly weapons. Finally, the Order will prohibit contact with the alleged victim(s).

These Orders Setting conditions of release are taken very seriously by the judges throughout New Mexico, and especially in Albuquerque. Violation of the conditions can result in arrest and worse a hold until the date of trial.

The condition that stings the most in domestic violence cases is the Order prohibiting contact with the alleged victim.

Often, the alleged victim does not want to pursue the charges. There are many cases when the alleged victim did not even call the police. Instead, a neighbor may have called in a domestic violence call. Frequently, the alleged victim will flat out explain to the police that nothing happened, and there was no domestic violence.

An arrest is made anyway as a matter of law enforcement policy. The police officer simply will not take the risks of leaving both parties unattended at the scene of a possible domestic violence. There are too many high profile cases where this was done, and one of the parties was badly injured or even killed.

The arrest of course kicks in the criminal process and the no-contact order. The defendant is now prohibited from returning to the home. This places enormous emotional strain on the couple or family. In addition, the financial consequences can be disastrous.

So what should you do? This is a hard question to answer and an even harder decision to make on your part. You can file a Motion to Modify Conditions of Release. This requires both your appearance and the appearance of the alleged victim in court before the judge.

Once the alleged victim appears, the District Attorney, and sometimes the Court, will strongly insist that the alleged victim appear for all future court appearances. The prosecutor may even insist on regular contact between the alleged victim and the prosecutor‘s office. This keeps the alleged victim under the control of the District Attorney and almost insures the alleged victim‘s appearance in Court on the date of trial.

Why is this a problem? Many of the cases described above get dismissed eventually because the alleged victim does not want to pursue the charges, and will avoid the District Attorney to avoid being forced to proceed on questionable or baseless charges.

Once the District Attorney has made contact with the alleged victim, the greater the chances are that the District Attorney will coerce the attendance of the alleged victim even by threat of contempt, or the threat of charges against the alleged victim for making false criminal charges.

Thus, the reluctant alleged victim who knows full well the call to the police and the consequent criminal charges should not have been made will show up for court out of fear of reprisal by the District Attorney for their refusal to cooperate.

Thus, in the end, you are faced with the decision of modifying the conditions of release which on the one hand allows you to legally go home while on the other greatly increasing your chances of a full blow trial.

DISCLAIMER

Related Reading:
New Mexico Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic Violence Early Intervention Programs in New Mexico
Domestic Violence Calls in New Mexico: Someone is Going to Jail

Collins & Collins, P.C.
Albuquerque Attorneys