Evidence

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana (or Other Drugs) in New Mexico

Driving under the influence of Marijuana is treated much the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol.  However, there are some important differences in the burdens of proof necessary for a conviction. Burdens of Proof under the New Mexico Jury Instructions The standard for conviction for alcohol related DWI is “impaired to the slightest…

Drug Dealer Liability for Death: Contributing v. “But For” Causation

An interesting recent case from the U.S. Supreme Court addresses the criminal liability of a heroin dealer for the death of a user. In the case of Burrage v. United States, the defendant was charged with distribution of a controlled substance.  In addition, there was an enhancement due to death resulting from the use of…

Looking Suspicious Does Not Alone Justify Search & Seizure in New Mexico

The issue of illegal search and seizure will come up in a countless variety of situations. One such situation is the search and seizure of the occupants of a parked vehicle for looking suspicious. The fact is, at least in New Mexico, such a search and seizure is illegal without more. Because the search and…

Limits of Opinion Testimony on DWI Breath Scores

DWI breath alcohol testing involves some fairly complex scientific principles. Because they involve scientific principles, not just anyone can give opinions on their outcome. Opinions on the outcome of the tests are limited to the expert testimony. The New Mexico Court of Appeals case of State v. Armijo addressed this issue in relation to an…

Legal Scope of Search Warrants Somewhat Elusive

The requirement of a valid search warrant prior to the search of individual‘s property is a very important 4th Amendment protection. It is pretty clear that a failure to properly secure a search warrant where one is required constitutes an illegal search and seizure under the 4th Amendment. However, as with most issues of constitutional…

Show of Force and Voluntary Consent to Search and Seizure

The 4th Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure are among the greatest protections afforded to citizens. There are very strict criteria for search and seizure. An illegal search and seizure will result in illegally seized evidence being excluded. This potential is the greatest deterrent to abusive search and seizure practices of law enforcement. In…

Expert Testimony on Drug Quantities: Possesion v. Trafficking

The New Mexico Court of Appeals case of State v. Rael-Gallegos deals with an important criminal law issue concerning trafficking by possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. The Court had to determine when there‘s sufficient evidence to support this charge. More specifically, the court addressed two issues: 1) whether there was sufficient evidence…

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