McGraw & Strickland, LLC

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May 2017 Archives

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MISDEMEANOR AND A FELONY CONVICTION?

A felony is punishable by a year or more, and it prevents you from possessing a firearm ever in the future, under federal law. It will prevent you from voting and some other valuable civil rights. One of the main concerns is it will prevent you from getting a lot of different kinds of jobs in the future. 

DRIVING A MINOR PASSENGER WHILE INTOXICATED - CHILD ABUSE

In cases such as these it is essential that you fight the DWI because New Mexico courts have ruled that having a child in your car while committing any kind of DWI is, in itself, child abuse. You can't argue things to the jury like, "Well, it was 0.08, but they were driving safely." You have to fight the DWI to fight the felony child abuse case. In that case, it's even more important to hopefully have a client who declined to do the Standard Field Sobriety Test or declined to give a breath sample, so you just litigate whether or not it was DWI.

CAN I REDUCE MY PLEA TO A MOVING VIOLATION?

Sometimes you can, but the case is going to need to have real problems for the state, which, if you have declined to submit to the Standard Field Sobriety Test, and you have declined to give a breath sample, is going to be that kind of case for the prosecution. Those are the kinds of cases where you are most likely to get a non-DWI plea. 

DWI: HOW DOES MY PLEA AFFECT MY DRIVING RECORD?

It's very case-specific. If you drive for a living, pleading guilty to a DWI will affect your ability to do that because you are going to lose your commercial driver's license, at least temporarily. Depending on the case, you can negotiate things down to careless driving or something like that prevents you from having a DWI conviction on your record. Generally, when a person drives for a living, that case is going to end up in some kind of litigation.

WHAT IS A PLEA BARGAIN?

A plea bargain is something that you would try and do with the state, and sometimes it's a finding of the court that reduces the punishment from what you would get if you lost a trial. Sometimes, it reduces the charges as well.

NEGOTIATING A PLEA BARGAIN

One of the main jobs of a criminal defense attorney is to carefully collect and analyze all of the evidence in the case to see if there are issues that can get the case thrown out, or ways that you can potentially win the case at a jury trial. If, after all of that review, you find that you probably can't just get rid of the case, then it is important to negotiate with the other side to mitigate the damage that this case is going to cause your client.

IF I'M BORDERLINE INTOXICATED, BUT I KNOW THAT I'M NOT IMPAIRED, DO YOU STILL RECOMMEND NOT TAKING THE TESTS WHEN NOT DOING SO COULD ELEVATE MY CASE TO AN AGGRAVATED DUI?

Yes, because aggravated DWI doesn't change the punishment very much, and usually you can negotiate to a non-aggravated anyway during fee negotiations. 

HOW DOES THE STATE PROVE IT THAT YOU WERE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS?

In New Mexico, they have to prove that you were under the influence such that you were incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. They can prove that through driving and also by performing the Standard Field Sobriety Test. On drug cases, they use another battery of tests that are run by a "Drug Recognition Expert," a specially trained officer to check if somebody is under the influence of drugs, and they can use the results of those tests against you as well to show intoxication.

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McGraw & Strickland, LLC
165 West Lucero Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Phone: 575-523-4321
Fax: 575-680-1200
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