Domestic Violence Lawyer Albuquerque
If you are dealing with domestic violence and need legal support to protect yourself, contact Legal Solutions of New Mexico today. You will be able to discuss your situation with a family law attorney, understand your available options, and work to get in a safe situation as quickly as possible. Our team understands the importance of sensitivity and speed when dealing with domestic violence, and will help you understand how to get yourself safe and secure while working towards a permanent solution. Contact us today to speak with a family attorney, and take an important step towards protecting yourself and your family.
How Does New Mexico Help Protect Victims of Domestic Violence?
The City of Albuquerque takes domestic violence very seriously, and has programs in place to protect victims as they are trying to get out of a dangerous situation. If you are in immediate danger, contact the Albuquerque Police immediately to protect yourself. Your safety is the most important factor of this situation, and it is important that you take the correct measures to stay safe even before discussing legal options with an attorney if the situation requires it.
When you are in a safe situation, contact us immediately to discuss your options. We will work to file a protective order to keep you and possibly your children safe while we begin the process of moving your situation into the legal system. Our first priority is your safety.
What are the domestic violence laws in New Mexico?
“Domestic violence” is defined as violence from one member of a household against another, resulting in any of the following:
- Physical injuries
- Severe emotional distress
- Bodily injury (battery) or assault
- Assault with the intent to commit a violent felony
- The threat of imminent body injury
- Harm or threatened harm to children
It can also include transgressions where no physical/emotional injury or specific threat has been made, such as:
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal damage to property
- Stalking or repeatedly driving past a residence/place of work
- Telephone harassment
A “household member” is considered to be a spouse, family member, or a person with whom the alleged attacker has an ongoing personal relationship. So, domestic violence laws are not only applied to married couples but all situations where people live together in a close, ongoing relationship.
How Can I File For Divorce If I Am Afraid Of My Spouse?
In many domestic violence situations, a spouse can feel “trapped,” and may not move towards legal options for fear of retaliation against them or their loved ones. We will discuss your safety options, such as finding you a shelter or safe place to stay while your divorce is served, and to explore any and all options to remain safe during the divorce process and after it is finalized.
Because your situation is unique, it is important that you discuss your options with a legal professional to be sure that you are exercising your rights and prioritizing your safety in every way possible. There are many options in New Mexico for victims of domestic abuse, and we will work with you to be sure that you are safe.
What Are Some Warning Signs Of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is not as simple as physical assault, although it may include physical violence. Below are some other actions in a relationship that are considered domestic violence, and behaviors that you should speak with a professional about as soon as possible:
- Controlling behavior
- Destruction of property
- Threatening violence to you or others
- Mistrust and accusations
- Sexual assault
- Gets violent or aggressive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Physical assault
- Verbal and emotional abuse
There are many different ways that domestic violence shows itself, and each is equally important and needs to be addressed. If you are experiencing any of the above behaviors, or are in a different situation that you believe is abusive, contact us today to discuss your options.
What are the consequences of domestic violence charges?
Because domestic violence charges are taken so seriously in New Mexico, the associated punishments are severe — especially in cases where bodily injury results.
Charges may be prosecuted as anything from a petty misdemeanor up to a third-degree felony.
Even the least serious domestic violence conviction (a petty misdemeanor) can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Other potential criminal penalties under New Mexico laws include the following:
- A misdemeanor charge: up to a one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000
- A fourth-degree felony: up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- A third-degree felony: up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
There are other possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction. For instance, offenders may be required to attend mandatory counseling. Repeat offenders can expect their charge(s) to be escalated, which will result in harsher consequences.
Even before the court hearing to determine guilt, a person accused of domestic violence can face an emergency court-issued order of protection initiated by a household member who has allegedly experienced domestic violence. In such cases, a law enforcement officer can ask the judge to issue the emergency order for 72 hours — and a further hearing will determine whether the protection order should be extended (the defendant may be present to defend against this order).
In situations where children are deemed to be at risk, the consequences can become even more severe for those accused of domestic violence. Losing temporary custody of the child and a ban from going to the primary residence of the child or speaking to the other parent is possible.
In addition to the above, a conviction for domestic violence could also potentially lead to the following long-term consequences:
- A permanent criminal record, which could impact many areas of your life
- A ban on owning or possessing a firearm
- A restriction on where you live
- A threat to job security
- Difficulties in getting a student loan
- Travel restrictions
- Removal of custody or parenting rights
Can domestic violence affect a divorce in New Mexico?
Domestic violence charges are often filed during relationship breakups and divorces. An arrest or conviction can affect proceedings when it comes to child custody, visitation arrangements, and other divorce-related matters.
In the most extreme cases, the court may order that a parent should be kept away from the children because of a domestic violence conviction and the threat of further violence. If custody, unsupervised visits or even supervised visits are deemed not to be in the best interests of the children, this parental right can be removed temporarily or permanently by the court.
Domestic violence can also contribute to an allegation of cruel and inhumane treatment or incompatibility, which are grounds for divorce in New Mexico.
However, a parent’s responsibility to provide financially for his/her children remains until the child turns 18 at least in New Mexico. So, a parent convicted of domestic violence must still pay child support as ordered by the court.
Contact Us Now
If you are a victim of domestic violence, the time to act is now. Before contacting an attorney to discuss your next steps, be sure that you are in a safe place and your contact will not lead to future lashing out from your partner. During your initial consultation with us, we will identify the quickest and most important steps to take to get yourself in a safe place where you will be able to work on finding a long-term and permanent solution for this situation. Your safety, and the safety of your children, is the most important aspect of this entire situation, and you can focus on safety with the confidence that a family lawyer is focusing on your legal options.