Helping You Fight Theft Charges in New Mexico
Theft of any type is a serious crime in New Mexico, from petty misdemeanor to second-class felony, depending on the value of the stolen property. It’s a black mark on your record you don’t want, even if you manage to avoid jail time.
Because the consequences are so great, you need a competent, experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you against even minor theft charges. Fortunately, Twohig Law Firm can help you in two ways. First, we can act as your direct advocate in court. Second, we can help you understand what it means to be charged with theft as well as how to defend yourself against the charges against you. To learn more, contact us today.
Understanding the 5 Levels of Theft Charges
The state legal code refers to nonviolent theft as larceny, defining it as “the stealing of anything of value that belongs to another.” New Mexico handles other theft-related crimes, including armed robbery, credit card theft, identity theft, shoplifting, and knowingly receiving stolen property, under other statutes.
State larceny laws break theft and punishment down into five basic types, based primarily on the value of the stolen goods. That value can be for one or more items.
1. Misdemeanor petty theft
This applies to goods valued at up to $250. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and fines of $500. An example of misdemeanor petty theft might be stealing a low-end bicycle or someone’s wallet.
2. Misdemeanor theft
This applies to goods worth between $250 and $500. The maximum sentence doubles to a year in jail and fines of $1,000. Misdemeanor theft might include stealing a cell phone or a common antique.
3. Fourth-degree felony theft
This applies to all stolen firearms worth less than $2,500, as well as any other stolen property worth $500 and $2,500. An example might include a decent stamp or coin collection. Maximum sentence: 18 months of jail time and up to $5,000 in fines.
4. Third-degree felony theft
This applies if the stolen property is worth between $2,500 and $20,000. In keeping with New Mexico’s rural beginnings, it also applies to any stolen livestock, even if the value is much lower. You can receive a maximum sentence of three years in jail and fines up to $5,000.
5. Second-degree felony theft
This represents the maximum punishment level for larceny, applying to any property valued at or above $20,000, from a farm tractor to a Lamborghini. The fines can reach $10,000, the jail time nine years.
You can receive harsher penalties if you’re a habitual felony offender. Usually, this amounts to an additional year on your sentence if you have one prior felony offense, four more years for two prior felony offenses, and an extra eight years for three or more.
Defending Against Theft Charges in Court
You’ll need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you if you face theft charges of any kind. As with any criminal offense, your goal is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. It’s possible to argue against the charges even if you were found to have the stolen goods, especially if you:
- Were involuntarily intoxicated by prescription drugs prescribed by a physician when you obtained the stolen property.
- Honestly believed, based on evidence you can produce, that the property was yours.
- Suffered entrapment by authorities who induced you to commit the crime so they could prosecute you for it.
No matter how true they may be, these arguments may not work if you lack sufficient evidence. That’s one reason you need a good defense attorney. We can interview witnesses, question police officers as well as other authorities, and test the quality of evidence on your behalf. We can also fight the prosecution by asserting your innocence in court, and by reminding the jurors of reasonable doubt.
Are You Facing Theft Charges? Twohig Law Firm Can Help
With our 40 years of highly qualified experience and notable verdicts, Twohig Law Firm is poised to help you statewide from our main office in Albuquerque. Everyone deserves a qualified, motivated legal defense. If you’ve been brought up on charges of theft anywhere in New Mexico, contact us today.
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