Sex Crimes Lawyer in Albuquerque, NM

Here for you when it seems like your life is over.

Charged with a sex crime in New Mexico? Your future is on the line, but your life is not over. An Albuquerque sex crimes defense lawyer can make the process easier and gives you a higher chance of setting the record straight.


Sex Crimes Charges in New Mexico

Understand the charges so you know what you’re facing.

If you are charged with a crime related to alleged unwanted or illegal sexual contact with another person, you have been charged with a sex crime. There are several types of sex crimes, and you can be charged with varying degrees of each, as well as “attempted” sex crimes.

Below, we discuss some of the common types of sex crime charges in New Mexico.


Also called criminal sexual penetration, rape is an extremely serious charge. Forcing someone to have sex or forcing sexual penetration on another person is considered rape. There are a few different criminal charges related to rape in New Mexico:

  • First-degree rape. This is rape that causes severe bodily harm or mental suffering to the alleged victim. It also covers all criminal sexual penetration of children younger than 13 years old.
  • Second-degree rape. You can be charged with second-degree rape if you are accused of raping someone while armed, raping a child who is 13 to 18 years old, raping someone and causing a personal injury, raping someone while someone else is helping you or raping an inmate if you are in a position of authority at a correctional facility.
  • Third-degree rape. This charge covers all forcible or coercive rape not described in the first-degree and second-degree rape charges.
  • Fourth-degree rape. Fourth-degree rape can refer to any rape of a child between the ages of 13 and 18 not described in the other degrees of rape charges. It can also refer to the rape of a non-adult teenager by an employee, health provider, contractor or volunteer at a school.
  • Aggravated rape. This rape charge describes alleged rape of a child without regard for human life or the intent to kill.

No matter what kind of rape charge you have received, you need to take it seriously. A New Mexico rape lawyer can help you understand your next steps.

Criminal Sexual Contact

A criminal sexual contact charge is different from a rape charge in New Mexico. This charge does not involve sexual penetration and covers a broad range of actions. Essentially, you can be charged with criminal sexual contact if you are accused of using force or coercion to touch another adult’s intimate parts.

If the alleged action caused an injury to the victim, was done while you were said to be armed or was done with the help of another alleged perpetrator, you can be charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor

Criminal sexual contact is basically the charge described above but applied when the alleged victim is a minor. There are a few different charges related to criminal sexual contact with a minor:

  • Second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor. If you allegedly used a position of authority, a weapon or the assistance of another person to commit criminal sexual contact of a minor, the charge will be of the second degree.
  • Third-degree criminal sexual contact with a minor. The charge is of the third degree if any of the parts described in the second-degree charge are also involved with the alleged sexual contact of the victim.
  • Fourth-degree criminal sexual contact with a minor. If you are a school employee, contractor, health provider or volunteer, you can be charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual contact with a minor if the alleged victim was between 13 and 18 years old and you were an adult and four years older than the victim at the time of the crime.

Sex crimes involving minors don’t always have to include physical contact. You could also be charged with a sex crime if you possess, distribute, or view child pornography.

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Our client faced federal sex trafficking charges, which would result in significant time in federal prison. Our attorneys were able to get the client acquitted of all charges.

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Penalties for Sex Crimes in New Mexico

We will help you minimize the consequences.

New Mexico courts take all sex crimes extremely seriously. That’s why people who have been charged with sex crimes in our state face incredibly harsh penalties, such as those described below.

Time in Jail or Prison

For most people, this is the big one. And that’s understandable — being behind bars destroys your freedom for years.

Each sex crime charge comes with its own amount of time in jail or prison. The following are a few examples:

  • First-degree rape. If you are convicted of first-degree rape in New Mexico, you face up to 18 years in prison for this felony.
  • Second-degree rape. You could spend nine years in prison if you are convicted of second-degree rape, which is a felony.
  • Third-degree rape. This felony sex crime charge could land you in prison for up to three years.
  • Criminal sexual contact. For simple criminal sexual contact through force or coercion (a misdemeanor), you could spend up to a year in jail.

Any time behind bars is too much time. The good news is that a New Mexico sex crimes attorney can give you a shot at avoiding incarceration.

Monetary Fines

As if imprisonment isn’t bad enough, the state of New Mexico also imposes fines on those who are convicted of sex crimes. Let’s take a look at the fines for the examples we used above:

  • First-degree rape. Up to $15,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree rape. Up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Third-degree rape. Up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Criminal sexual contact. Up to $1,000 in fines.

Keep in mind that you will be unable to work if you have to spend any time in jail or prison. So, even if these fines don’t sound like much to you, they can become a huge burden if you face a sex crime conviction.

Other Penalties

The penalties for sex crimes in New Mexico go far beyond time in correctional facilities and steep monetary fines. To start, if you are convicted of a sex crime, the social stigma of being a so-called “sexual predator” can follow you for the rest of your life. This costs you relationships with family, friends, co-workers and more.

Here are some other potential penalties tied to sex crimes in New Mexico:

  • If your crime involved a minor, you could lose custody and visitation rights with your own children.
  • If your crime is a felony, you may be barred from owning a gun.
  • Employers and certain housing authorities will be able to see your sex crime conviction and withhold jobs and housing based on it.
  • You may have to register as a sex offender.
  • You may face a long term of probation.

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Developing a Strategic Defense Against Sex Charges in New Mexico

A good investigation will lead to a strong defense.

If the penalties for the sex crime you have been charged with sound scary, that’s because they are scary. They are designed to be that way. But there is good news: With the right defense, you may be able to reduce your penalties or avoid them completely.
The following are a few common defenses to sex crimes:

  • You can prove that you could not have committed the sex crime you are accused of.
  • If your charge involves an adult, you can argue that the alleged victim requested the sexual contact in question.
  • If your charge involves a minor, you can say you did not know the victim was underage. While this defense does not always work or apply, past New Mexico cases have shown that it can work.

These are only a few of the defenses that can be used against sex crime charges. Your New Mexico sex crimes defense attorney can help you tailor a strong defense for your unique case.

New Mexico Sex Crimes FAQ

Answering your questions and pushing forward with knowledge.

Getting charged with a sex crime is a shock, and it is usually followed by a series of questions. As experienced sex crimes defense attorneys, we have gotten a lot of questions from people in situations like yours over the years. We have answered a few of the most common questions below.

Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

Yes. If you are convicted of a sex crime in New Mexico, you have to register with your county sheriff as a sex offender. Failing to register as a sex offender is a felony.

Can I Get My Sex Crime Charges Reduced or Dropped?

It is possible to get sex crime charges reduced or dropped in New Mexico. This most often happens when your attorney negotiates with the prosecutor to arrange for you to take a plea deal or demonstrate that your case is no longer viable for the prosecutor.

Should I Use a Public Defender for a Sex Crime Charge?

Your choice of lawyer is completely up to you. And while most public defenders are talented attorneys who care deeply about their clients, they also happen to have high caseloads. That means they not be able to devote the same level of attention to your case as a private New Mexico sex crimes defense lawyer.

Speak with a New Mexico Sex Crimes Attorney

No matter how hopeless your situation may feel right now, it is important that you remain focused. You have been charged with a sex crime — not convicted. That means there is still a chance to build a strong defense and avoid prison, fines and the other penalties tied to sex crime convictions.

For help fighting back and preserving your future after a sex crime charge, reach out to the trusted New Mexico sex crime lawyers at Harrison & Hart, LLC, as soon as you can. The sooner you get a lawyer involved, the better your chances are of building a successful defense to your charge.

Working with expert witnesses, forensic evidence and years of legal knowledge, our attorneys have what it takes to help you beat your charge. We offer free initial consultations. To schedule yours, reach out to our law firm by calling (505) 295-3261 or contacting us online.

The Right Firm For Your Case

We’re ready to help you get your life back on track.

From our office in Albuquerque, Harrison & Hart, LLC serves clients throughout New Mexico. We are focused on getting you the best outcome possible in the harshest of situations.

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