Types of Criminal Cases We Handle – If you find yourself in need of a Las Cruces criminal defense attorney, we can assist with virtually any type of criminal charges, including the following:
- Property Crime
- Assault and Battery
- Drug Crimes
- Misdemeanor Offenses
- Violent Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Juvenile Charges (Individuals under 18 and accused of crime)
- Expungement of Records
EXPERT CRIMINAL DEFENSE IN NEW MEXICO
Exercise Your Rights at Every Stage of the Criminal Justice Process
At the Law Office of Martinez-Salopek, LLC, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, we believe everyone has the right to a passionate and skilled defense team, no matter the charges. We are dedicated to preserving your rights, offering straightforward legal advice and providing strategic intervention at all stages of the criminal process. We have worked on criminal cases of all kinds, from misdemeanor DWI charges to serious homicide allegations. Though we can’t promise you a dismissal, we can promise that we’ll exhaust our resources and efforts to fight aggressively for your rights.
Whether our work involves pre-indictment advocacy to avoid the filing of charges or negotiating for the reduction or outright dismissal of charges or reducing the consequences for you of a guilty plea or conviction at trial, we know what it takes to secure an optimal resolution – effectively and efficiently.
Contact us today to get started.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OUR ATTORNEYS
It’s in your best interest to work with experienced criminal defense attorneys. There’s a lot more to a criminal trial than just stating your case and calling on witnesses. Our attorneys will:
- Try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor, known as a plea bargain. This may mean reduced sentencing, reduced charges, or dropped charges in exchange for something.
- Determine a sentence that works best for you and argue the case for it. We will advocate on your behalf to the judge why this sentence is fair and suitable.
- Identify investigators who may be able to help your case. Private investigators will examine the crime, witnesses, and other information that may prove useful. In some circumstances, investigations may turn up evidence significantly beneficial for your case.
- Obtain information from witnesses that otherwise may be hesitant to come forward, as is common in criminal cases.
- Assist you in navigating the complexities of the legal system. For example, this could mean helping you understand the written and “unwritten” rules of court. We will also advise you on the different consequences for each type of plea and help you decide how to proceed.
- Finally, we will help you emotionally through this time. There are a lot of feelings that go along with a criminal case, and we can help you address them.
I HAVE RECEIVED A TARGET NOTICE. SHOULD I CONTACT A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER NOW?
Yes – a target notice means that you are being investigated for a felony level crime and your case will be presented to a grand jury so that a they can determine whether there is enough evidence to charge you with a felony level crime. Without an attorney a grand jury in most cases will always decide there is sufficient evidence to charge you with a crime.
In every felony case, a grand jury proceeding or a preliminary hearing, is required to be held before formal charges are filed against you. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to test the sufficiency of the evidence to determine whether your case merits continued attention. The accused can waive such a hearing and give up his or her right to such a hearing, but this is rarely done. The preliminary hearing is not a trial, but it can seem like a mini-trial in ways. There is live witness testimony and attorneys will cross examine witnesses to test their credibility, like in a trial. The accused can also present his own witnesses, perhaps to establish an alibi or other defense. If the evidence is deemed insufficient by a judge, the case is dismissed.
At no point should you attempt to explain your involvement in a potential crime to law enforcement or investigators without speaking to an attorney first. It is more likely than not that what you say will be used against you and that you will actually hurt your defense rather than help it.
If you are faced with either having to attend a preliminary hearing or being the target of a grand jury proceeding, now is the best time to consult an experienced defense firm. A smart criminal defense lawyer will take steps to protect you and influence the process in every way possible to prevent criminal charges.
Please do not put your head in the sand and hope for the best! If you are vulnerable to a criminal accusation, let us review your situation confidentially and advise what – if anything – should be done to protect your freedom.
IF I AM ARRESTED, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
When you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station or a county detention facility. While at the station or facility, the police will likely take your personal belongings, your fingerprints, and your photo. This is called booking.
Generally, a person who is charged with a crime but does not pose a risk of flight or threat to the public can now be released from jail without having to post bond under the new rules. But misdemeanor and felony cases are handled differently. If you are charged with a misdemeanor you cannot be detained, without a hearing, pending trial, and non-monetary conditions of release have to be set by a judge within three days after your arrest.
However, if you are charged with a felony you can be detained pending trial if “clear and convincing evidence” shows that you are a danger to the community. Only a District Court judge can make this determination at a pretrial detention hearing, which must be scheduled within three days of the date the prosecutor files a pretrial detention motion.
If a person charged with a felony does not pose a threat to the public but is considered a flight risk, even under non-monetary condition of release, then a judge has the authority to set a secured bond in addition to setting conditions for your release. This means you will have to pay 10% of the bond the judge sets to a bondsman.
DO I HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE?
No – you only have to tell them your name and address, and show some identification if requested. If you’ve already been arrested, you were likely handcuffed and taken to the police station. This is considered being in police custody and triggers important rights.
When you are arrested, the police are required to tell you about your rights. These include your right to silence, and your right to a lawyer. These rights are important and you should take full advantage of them. If in custody, it is important to refrain from discussing anything about your case with anybody other than your attorney during a confidential visit. While in the jail, you have no expectation of privacy. Phone calls and letters are monitored and other inmates are often “snitches”.
While in police custody, law enforcement officials (both state and federal) must Mirandize you before questioning. The Miranda warning requires that police advise you of your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent when questioned by the police. It also warns that anything you say can be used against you to support their case.
When faced with questions from law enforcement it is almost always better to assert your Miranda rights and remain silent.
If arrested, it is important to remember that an arrest is only an accusation, not a conviction. Often people feel discouraged or even hopeless after going through the drama and humiliation of an arrest. Whatever your circumstances, assume nothing until we’ve evaluated your case. Many of our clients are arrested before retaining us. These people often tell us that the arrest was their lowest point, but they always feel better after we’ve worked together and created a plan.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MISDEMEANOR AND A FELONY?
Misdemeanors carry a maximum possible sentence of up to one year in county jail. Felonies are generally more serious offenses and can result in being sentenced to imprisonment in state prison for at least a year, and potentially much longer depending on the charge.
Some crimes are called ‘wobblers’, which means they can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. If you are accused of one of these offenses, the prosecution will decide how you will be charged depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the case, as well as any criminal record that you may have.
For example, domestic violence and DUI can be charged either way depending on the facts and the District Attorney’s discretion. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, there are several potential problems other than jail or prison if convicted. They include:
- As an adult, a criminal conviction becomes part of your permanent record and can appear on employer background checks.
- Drug or sex offender registration.
- Non-citizens may face immigration issues, including deportation.
- Loss of privileges, including driving, voting, travel, and gun ownership.
At the Law Office of Martinez-Salopek, LLC, we are very sensitive to the many ways a criminal conviction can impact your life. Our goal is to always ensure that if you have to plea to any charges that these charges have the least minimum negative consequences on your life.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE FIRST COURT APPEARANCE?
Whether you are in or out of custody, your first court appearance after being charged with a crime is called the arraignment. At arraignment:
- You will be formally notified of the charges against you.
- Your lawyer will be provided a copy of the complaint, along with any discovery (police reports and documents related to the case).
- You will be asked to enter a plea to the charges.
Entering a not guilty plea
Regardless of the content of the discovery, when invited to enter a plea at arraignment our attorneys will almost always enter a not guilty plea on your behalf. A not guilty plea is a way of saying “can you prove it?”
In addition to entering a plea, obtaining discovery, and dealing with bail issues if necessary, the arraignment may include discussion regarding court imposed conditions of release. For example, in domestic violence cases, it’s not unusual for the court to forbid contact between spouses. Our attorneys may be able to prevail upon the court to allow continued contact, when appropriate. Before the arraignment is over, additional court dates will be set.
Finally, your arraignment is the beginning of a process that could have a significant impact on your life in a variety of ways, such as your freedom, reputation, and career. It is important that your attorney is present and prepared to deal with the variety of issues that can arise.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE ARRAIGNMENT?
After your arraignment, our attorneys will begin the process of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you. Often we will try to exclude evidence that may have been illegally obtained. Depending on the case we may bring in private investigators and other experts to provide helpful information.
Dismissal of your case
Our goal is always to try for the complete dismissal of all charges. This is not always possible, but our thorough approach achieves will ensure the best possible outcome. Many times we will prepare a case for trial knowing that a negotiated settlement is more likely. This puts us in a stronger negotiating position and we always understand the case better than the opposing counsel.
When a complete dismissal is not possible, we can be very creative in resolving your case in a way that minimizes negative consequences. For example, we can craft options such as:
- jail alternatives, like counseling or public service
- first offender programs
- diversion programs
These and other strategies can be used to protect our client’s freedom and reputation.
If we cannot get your case dropped altogether, it will resolve in one of two ways. Either we will agree to a negotiated resolution – a plea bargain – or it will go to trial.
A favorable plea bargain might include a program that keeps a client’s record clean, like some first offender programs. It could include alternatives to jail, such as community service, therapy and counseling programs.
If your case goes to trial, our clients have the benefit of a team of litigators working together with access to the best experts, investigators, and research tools available.
Of course, sentencing is only of concern if you are actually convicted of an offense, and we always do everything possible to avoid a conviction in your case.
Apart from the nature of the offense itself and any criminal history, in all cases the judge will consider the specific circumstances of each case before passing sentence. Some of the things that the judge will consider factors that might either increase (aggravate) or decrease (mitigate) the eventual sentence. Our team knows how to put together a positive case on sentencing that brings together as many mitigating circumstances as possible, and reduces the negative effect of any aggravating circumstances.
The outcome of your case will depend on many factors, some of which you now have no control over. However, one of the biggest factors that will influence the outcome of your case is the law firm that you choose.
Every client matters. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
575.541.0329 or firstname.lastname@example.org