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ASSAULT & BATTERY & HOMICIDES
Assault, battery, attempted murder and homicide are crimes of force or violence. These crimes have different definitions that somewhat overlap. Often they are charged more seriously than the facts could possibly support and then negotiated down to a realistic level, such as from a felony to a misdemeanor. Often tragic accidents, which are not crimes, are charged as crimes simply because of the emotions involved.
The seriousness of these charges often involves the intent of both the person accused and the alleged victim. This includes whether the defendant intended to kill or cause great bodily harm, or used a deadly weapon. The degree of harm suffered also is a factor. New Mexico has strong law on self-defense, which should never be overlooked in these cases.
What also should not be overlooked is your constitutional right to remain silent when you are the subject of an investigation for these or any other crime. In most cases, incriminating statements you make are only allowed in court after you have first knowingly and intelligently given up this right. Therefore, you should think before speaking.
I have represented many people charged with these kinds of offenses and would like to talk to you if you or a loved one is facing this type of investigation or prosecution.
MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENSES
Always contest a traffic citation, rather than pleading guilty on the side of the road! Acknowledge that you will appear in court and do so. If you tell the officer that you just want to send the fine into Santa Fe, she will be happy to oblige you, as you will be giving up your day in court.
Although they may seem minor, traffic convictions put points on your driving record and carry monetary fines; in some instances: jail time. If you drive for a living, a clean record is imperative. Even if you do not have a true defense, the police officer in charge of the prosecution may be willing to negotiate an outcome that saves you some of the worst consequences. An experienced attorney knows what a reasonable outcome is in any given case.
PERSONAL INJURY, CAR CRASHES, and WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS
Auto collisions cause thousands of serious injuries and fatalities every year. Often this is caused by the unpredictable and negligent actions of the driver at fault. Some of these causes are speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving (such as texting while driving), and intoxicated driving.
These incidents have complex issues of who is at fault, what evidence is available to prove fault, qnd whether some other person, government or business entity is liable for the actions of the bad driver. There are also time limitations that can defeat an otherwise just claim if not met.
You and your family are entitled to just compensation from the bad driver and his insurance policy for the pain, medical bills, wages lost, and other damages. But the insurance companies want to settle as quickly and cheaply as possible. Shouldn’t you have an aggressive attorney taking the lead and looking out for you?
"WHITE COLLAR" CRIMES
These are generally non-violent offenses that involve taking money, such as larceny, embezzlement, and fraud. Each offense is different and involves a different type of defense strategy. If accused or charged with a white collar crime it is very important to immediately contact an experienced defense attorney to protect and defend you.
Business organizations will go out of their way to accuse vulnerable employees of taking money to cover up business losses. Often these cases require an independent investigation as businesses do not want to disclose what they are doing. Business interests have the ability to stack the deck against you if you do not have an attorney on your side.
Forgery often involves the signing of checks and other documents using another person’s name and identity. Often, law enforcement and prosecutors have a lot of leeway as to what type of and how many charges to file against you. Many times prosecutors threaten years of prison and multiple additional charges if the accused decides to fight what started out as one charge. In these situations, the value of an experienced defender may be immeasurable.
SEX OFFENSES/CHILD ABUSE
These crimes carry some of the most serious imprisonment penalties and long-term consequences under New Mexico law. Additionally, there are serious biases against someone accused of these offenses, regardless of guilt or innocence. As someone who has tried several of these cases to juries, I can tell you that cops, prosecutors, and potential jurors do not view these cases objectively. This is a reality, regardless of whether the alleged victim is a child or an adult.
When faced with this kind of allegation you should hire a knowledgeable defense attorney right away to begin the process of breaking down the allegations to sort out the truth from the fiction and find ways to disprove false claims. The on-going family dynamic is critical to understand. Just assuming that it’s enough to sit down with investigators and tell your side of the story is a risky venture. Their approach is usually to influence an accused to “confess,” arrest him, and then oppose bond. Don’t face these charges alone. Don’t wait to seek counsel.
DANGEROUS DRUG ARRESTS
Drug crimes normally refer to the activities of possession, distribution, trafficking or manufacturing of controlled substances. Controlled substances include illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, but also prescription drugs. Different drugs are classified under different Schedules which impacts the severity of the charge, in addition to the type of activity. Similarly, the quantity of drugs involved influences the seriousness of the situation.
The sooner you contact a lawyer the better. A knowledgeable defense attorney would look at how and where the drugs were discovered to build a defense. Are there any constitutional violations by law enforcement during the search, arrest and interrogation procedure that would cause evidence to be suppressed? Are the people the State is relying on as witnesses credible or are they compromised by their involvement with drugs? I can also advise you under what circumstances probation with treatment may be in your best interest.
DWI/DUI DEFENSE
These cases involve operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or even perfectly legal, prescription drugs. They are hard to defend because the State is not required to prove you meant to drive drunk or knew that you shouldn’t be driving. Also, you can be charged and convicted for DWI when your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. If a passenger in your car is a minor, you will probably face a charge of felony child abuse as well.
The consequences for DWI are severe and financially draining. Fees for an ignition interlock device will be required. Second and later convictions lead to mandatory jail, fines and treatment. Always make sure your attorney looks at what your true DWI conviction history is, as some forms of prior convictions cannot be used to make your sentence longer.
After taking the arresting officer’s sobriety tests you have the right to demand an independent blood test as his may not be accurate. (Refusing BAC testing will lead to an Aggravated DWI charge.) Follow the directions on the Notice of Revocation form to request an administrative hearing. There are strict time limits. Indicate in your request that that you want the officer to appear in person at the hearing. This will allow you to keep your driving privilege as long as possible and help your attorney to defend your rights and livelihood. Hire an experienced attorney to represent you at the administrative hearing as it is an opportunity to explore for defenses to the criminal case.
PROBATION VIOLATIONS
Consult an experienced lawyer if you are accused of violating probation. If the court finds you have violated the terms of your probation you could be imprisoned for the remainder of your sentence or even have time added if you are a repeat offender.
Probation violations often involve the following situations:
  • You fail to follow a directive of your probation officer;
  • You fail to report to your probation officer;
  • You are arrested for a new offense;
  • You fail a drug test;
  • You fail to pay court-ordered restitution;
  • You fail to participate in court-ordered rehabilitation programs such as community service or substance abuse treatment.
Even if you work hard at probation, problems can occur beyond your control. Misunderstandings do happen. You need your attorney to help convince the judge, prosecutor and probation officer that you should stay on probation.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Conviction of these charges have many unforeseen consequences. In addition to jail and court fines, you could face expensive counseling and probation fees. Some convictions will void your constitutional right to own a firearm, forever.
Domestic Violence is an epidemic in this country. Whether it is due to substance abuse, psychological issues, or what have you, get help. Victims of domestic abuse are entitled to an order of protection prohibiting further contact with the abuser. Willfully violating the order is itself a criminal offense.
Domestic Abuse includes:
  • Physical harm
  • Severe emotional distress
  • Sexual assault
  • A threat causing imminent fear of physical harm
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Repeatedly driving by a residence or work place (stalking)
  • Harassment by telephone or other means
  • Harm or threatened harm to children
Sometimes marriages and other relationships can be repaired after a period of cooling off and professional counseling. Many times they cannot. It is always a personal and individualized decision and I can help you sort it all out.
FAMILY LAW
This area is far-ranging and includes dissolution of marriage, child custody, child and spousal support, and the equitable division of assets and debts.
Assets and debts are generally classified as those that are community (i.e. created during the marriage) and those that are separate. The rules can be confusing and often the source of many arguments in a divorce proceeding. You should have a skilled family law attorney representing you whenever knowledge of New Mexico property law is at issue.
It is common for parents splitting up to disagree about the periods of responsibility each parent should have with the children. The best interests of the children are used to make these often difficult decisions. Likewise, the financial contributions that the children need from each parent are areas of immediate concern. You have a responsibility to make the process as painless as possible for the children, while deciding what is best for your own future.
You need a family law attorney that will serve you personally, listen to you, and understand you as an individual.
If you have been arrested, do not hesitate to contact me.
Scott Johnson
Trial Attorney, PC
603 NE Aztec Boulevard,
Aztec, New Mexico 87410
Scott Johnson Trial Attorney, PC 2016
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