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What to Expect During the New Mexico Arraignment Process
22 Oct 2018

What to Expect During the New Mexico Arraignment Process

New Mexico Arraignment ProcessAnyone who has had a brush with the law will agree that going through the court system can be daunting, if not downright unpleasant. It’s not something most people would want to repeat.

The help of an experienced New Mexico criminal defense attorney better ensures that you protect your rights during the process. Moreover, understanding the way the legal system works should help quell your fears and concerns about an arrest. If you have questions about a New Mexico arraignment, contact Twohig Law Firm today.

What Happens After an Arrest?

No matter what criminal offense you may be facing, the process is the same. First you are arrested. Then you are “booked” into the system. After this, you may be offered the opportunity to post bail. This will depend on the severity of the offense.

The Court Will Advise You of Your Rights and the Charges Against You

Arraignment is the first step in the actual courtroom proceedings. The New Mexico arraignment process is no different than that of other states. You as the defendant are read the formal criminal complaint against you. You will be asked to stand before a judge while the charges are stated.

The judge will then ask if you have legal representation. In other words, do you have an attorney? The magistrate will explain that if you do not have an attorney or cannot afford one, the court will appoint counsel on your behalf.

How Do You Plead?

Once an attorney is in place beside you at the defendant’s table, the judge, who may be thought of as a referee of sorts in the courtroom environment, will then request a response to the question “How do you plead?” Your choices are as follows:

  • guilty,
  • not guilty or
  • no contest.

The first two responses are relatively straightforward. You are either going to admit you committed a criminal act or claim your innocence. A plea of no contest indicates that you do not dispute the charges nor do you admit to anything either.

Bails and Bonds: Setting Conditions of Release

Once you state to the court the stance you are taking as a plea the next question is regarding bail. Bail is what the court requires – usually in the form of money or property – as a guarantee that you will return for the next required court appearance.

The amount of bail depends on the extremity of the crime. Defendants of minor crimes may be released on their “own recognizance”. This means that they must only give their word as surety of their return to court on the appointed day. In the case of a felony, the bail may be set much higher, or may not be offered at all – particularly if it seems the defendant poses an ongoing threat to the community. All of this is in a day’s work and part of the New Mexico arraignment process.

Setting Dates of Upcoming Proceedings

Once the discussion of bail is complete, the dates of upcoming proceedings will be set. You will either be taken to jail or leave the courthouse after tending to such details as posting bond or related expectations.

And you are now on your way through the court system. At best, you can hope that the charges may be dismissed. Otherwise, you may go through a trial and be sentenced. It depends on a variety of factors.

Learn More About the New Mexico Arraignment Process

If you are facing a New Mexico arraignment process, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Twohig Law Firm. We can advise you of your options and help you protect your rights.


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