The term misdemeanor covers a wide variety of offenses such as assault, battery, most DWI/DUI offenses, possession of marijuana, theft, and petty larceny.
The most common misdemeanor other than DWI/DUI is battery against a household member or domestic violence. The key aspect of a misdemeanor is that the maximum possible jail time is one year.
Maximum Jail Time of One Year on Misdemeanor Conviction
Misdemeanor convictions can carry penalties up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each crime of which you’re convicted.
There is the possibility of consecutive sentences on conviction for multiple counts. As such, there is the possibility that one incident involving multiple misdemeanor charges could result in more than one year of jail time.
Alternatives to Jail Time Preferred for First Offenses by Most Judges
New Mexico courts for the most part prefer alternatives to jail in first offenses or less serious offenses. In some cases such as first time DWI, this preference is statutorily defined with these cases getting First Offender Program.
In addition to the DWI First Offender Program. there are other jail alternatives. This would include Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program. It would also include Drug Court and Mental Health Court. There are others as well.
The punishment, including alternatives to jail, will depend upon the defendant’s criminal history, the nature and seriousness of the crime, compliance with the conditions of release, the ability to comply with probation, drug and alcohol use, completion of counseling and many other factors depending upon the case and the individual.
Time is of the Essence!
If you have not yet been arraigned, it may be possible to waive the arraignment and avoid the necessity of a court appearance just for purposes of arraignment. You have ten days from arraignment (or waiver of arraignment) to excuse the judge presiding in your case. Waiting to hire a lawyer can have serious consequences on your case.
Therefore, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced New Mexico criminal attorney right away. An experienced attorney might also be able to take advantage of early opportunities that create effective defenses against the charges pending against you.