Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Greetings! I am happy to help assist you on this matter. I am very sorry to hear about your recent arrest. I am not trying to get personal, but how old are you and have you ever been arrested anywhere else in the world?
Allow me to clarify one thing, what do you mean by "minimize the impact of this event?" I presume you mean you would like to resolve the case as quick as possible and with the least amount of consequences. Please confirm?
I am 60 years old and have never been arrested
yes, you are correct I would like to resolve the case quickly with the least amount of consequences
Do you have any money in savings ($500) to hire a private lawyer?
What do you currently do for a living? Do you do anything that requires a state license?
I own my business. I have a business license
I ask only because if you plead to any crime, regardless of how it may be resolved may entail collateral consequences such as not obtaining future licenses. Also, if you plead to even a MM, depending on the crime, you may face deportation if you are not a citizen.
A business license is one thing, but do you do anything specific that require you not to have a criminal record such as "transportation" or "liquor" or "flammable gasses?"
I am a citizen
no, I do not
Okay, great! I am just double checking your options.
There are programs available for someone your age with no prior history that requires you to "admit" guilt, attend a few programs and maybe a class on "gun safety." The whole process may last 12 months at most. At the end the charges will be dismissed.
However, if you are looking to go in and simply plead guilty, my guess is, with no criminal record, you may not even have a conviction on your record and you may have to pay a fine. You could also receive probation, but again, unlikely considering your age, criminal history and "mitigating" factors.
Is that an option in Sandoval County, State of New Mexico?
I will double check.
So how does this work.
I call the court on Monday so instructed and get a date to appear
Okay, I go to court. what will happen...the process.
I only know what I have seen on television
Your best bet, prior to going to court is to call around for a criminal defense lawyer. For your type of history and what you are looking to do, it should not cost more than $500 (that is if you are enrolling in a diversion program). However, if you want your lawyer to fight the case, by filing motions and possibly going to trial it could cost $1000.00-$5000.00.
However, you could also show up to arraigment, hire a public defender, and they will explain the option of enrolling into a diversion program at a fraction of the price you would pay a private lawyer.
what is a diversion program?
You would enter a plea of not guilty and fill out the paperwork for the diversion program. One thing you must do, and you need to have a lawyer for in order to enroll, including a public defender, is admit your guilt. I realize you have your story as you indicated, but the D.A. is not going to care. If you tell them anything but you screwed up, you made a mistake, this was the worst thing in the world, they will not accept you.
A diversion program is a program for first time offenders to bypass the court system and process by essentially pleading guilty, staying out of trouble for a period of time 12 months, paying a fine, going to a couple of classes and then at the end they dismiss the charges.
It appears the diversion program is the way to go?
However, if you do not care about pleading to the case, b/c you just want to get it "over with." I am sure the prosecutor may make you a deal so you can plead guilty to the charges and move on with your life. Just note, unlike what I just spoke about, you will have a criminal record. While you may not think it is a big deal at the time, you never know what type of headaches a "gun" charge may pose down the line.
If you were just entering the work force, I would tell you definitely consider the program. However, if you are not worried about finding work b/c you are self employed, you may find yourself and time better off just pleading to the case, or to a reduced charge if you are willing to dispose of it right away.
I think so.
That is ulitimately up to you. It is my understanding that you need to have a laywer to apply, either a public defender or private. They fill out the paperwork. Again, forget about what you wrote in your question to me, the only thing the prosecutor wants to know is that you made a mistake, it was stupid and that is it. No excuses about your gums or your dogs. As soon as they see that they will reject you. I know it seems contrary to what you believe and the truth, but the prosecutor has the discretion NOT the judge and NOT your attorney.
Help me understand the process for this diversion program because I do not want a criminal record
Give me a couple minutes
You are in Sandoval County, correct? 13th Judicial Circuit?
okay, I need a lawyer to enroll in the diversion program. Fill out the paperwork.
Correct I am in Sandoval County; however, it is the municipal court I am to report to...city of Rio Rancho.
Why do I need an attornery to fill out the paperwork for the program?
That is what the rules at the DA's office.
They set up the program, they call the shots.
how do I find an attornery
That is relatively easy. You can start at the courthouse and hire a public defender at the courtroom.
Also, you can do an internet search for "criminal defense" lawyers in your town.
Also, you can go to the New Mexico Bar website.
There is a phone number there and you can call and explain that you need a lawyer.
Check out this link: http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestatecounty/criminal-law/new-mexico/sandoval
Here is the number to the Public Defender's Office,(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>
If you do not have an attorney by the time of the hearing, just tell the judge that you are looking to hire an attorney, unless you can apply in person for the diversion program.
Or hire the Public Defender.
Just make sure you do NOT miss the court appearance. Does this answer your question
I believe I understand the process Thank you for help
Sorry, I did not realize someone else had answered.
Good luck with your case!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).