New Mexico Drug Laws Are Serious
When it comes to New Mexico drug laws, the severity of fines, charges and potential incarceration vary greatly depending on the type of drug, amount, and whether you have been convicted of other crimes in the past.
Marijuana Possession Penalties in New Mexico
New Mexico places marijuana in its own special category under state law. The charge classification and penalties mandated are determined by the total weight of marijuana you possess:
- 1 ounce or less: Possession of one ounce or less is a petty misdemeanor. For a first offense, the penalties are fines from $50 to $100 and up to 15 days jail time. For any additional offenses, the penalty is a fine from $100 to $1000 and up to one year in jail.
- Between 1 and 8 ounces: Possession of this amount is classified as a misdemeanor. Fines are from $100 to $1000 and up to one year in jail.
- More than 8 ounces: Possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana is a fourth degree felony. The penalties are more severe, with up to $5,000 in fines and 18 months in prison.
Other Drug Possession Penalties in New Mexico
New Mexico drug laws treat all other drug offenses more severely. Under the New Mexico Controlled Substances Act, drugs are classified as either Schedule I or Schedule II. These classifications include various opiates, opium derivatives, stimulants, depressants and hallucinogenic substances. On the list are common street drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, PCP, GHB, heroin, crack cocaine and a long list of others.
Possession of any Schedule 1 or Schedule II drug carries stiff penalties and fines and is a fourth degree felony. Under New Mexico law (NMSA 1978 Section 31-18-15), a conviction for this crime carries fines up to $5,000 and 18 months in prison. Trafficking, which can include possession with intent to distribute the substance, can be far more serious.
Defending Drug Possession in New Mexico
In certain cases, there may be possible defenses to your charge or possible charge. For example, you may have been subjected to processes or procedures that were not lawfully executed. Law enforcement may have seized evidence without a proper search warrant or probable cause. The police may not have informed you of your rights or made you talk to them without telling you that you have the right to remain silent. Entrapment is a possible defense in drug cases. Each case must be separately evaluated.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney in New Mexico
If you or a loved one is facing charges of a drug related crime, it is important to seek an experienced New Mexico drug law attorney. Charges for drug crimes are serious. A conviction can have dire present and future consequences. Possession of any Schedule I or Schedule II can lead to a forth degree felony conviction. If convicted not only are you subject to jail or prison time, but heavy fines. Further, a drug conviction on your record can make it difficult to secure housing or employment well into your future. It can even affect the ability to qualify for government programs (e.g. federal student loans).
With so much at stake, hiring an experienced drug law attorney is a good idea. Your attorney can inform you of your rights, appear with you in court and dedicate himself or herself to helping you fight for the best outcome in your situation.
Contact a New Mexico Drug Law Attorney Today
If your arrest involved drug related charges, call the Twohig Law Firm today at (505) 569-6195 to learn more about your rights under New Mexico drug laws, and retain experienced counsel.