Violent Crimes

Harming another person or threatening to hurt someone is considered a violent crime in New Mexico. Violent crimes include assault, battery, and robbery. Threatening to use force in the commission of a crime also earns the violent crime designation. For instance, if an alleged bank robber uses a gun to force a bank teller to hand over cash, that is considered a violent crime. The use of a firearm would also qualify for an enhanced penalty for the crime. If it were not for the use or implied use of force, the bank teller likely would not have complied with the request to be robbed. 

Under New Mexico law, force does not need to be used to classify a crime as violent. The mere use or threat to use an object in a dangerous manner during a crime elevates the potential charges against the offender. If victims are injured or killed during a violent crime, the alleged perpetrators would likely be prosecuted with additional criminal charges. 

Is Robbery Classified as a Violent Crime in New Mexico?

The short answer to this question is yes. Robbery involves taking the immediate possession of or control over something that belongs to another person. This is the element that classifies robbery as a violent crime. For instance, if a mugger approached a woman on the street, pulled a knife on her and demanded she hand over her purse and expensive watch, that is a violent crime. The alleged perpetrator used the threat of harm to force the woman to comply with his demands. 

Robbery is not to be confused with burglary. While both are felony crimes, burglary does not include the use of force against another person. The only exception would be if the burglary happened during a home invasion scenario. 

Sometimes people use the terms assault and battery interchangeably, but the two terms are not the same thing in the eyes of the law. In New Mexico, several classifications fall under the general umbrella of assault. Each means something slightly different and carries different penalties if convicted. 

What are the Different Levels of Violent Crimes in New Mexico?

Assault involves the intent to cause bodily harm to another person. The perpetrator does not have to make actual physical contact with the victim to be charged with assault. They only must threaten to commit bodily harm to another via words or actions that cause the alleged victim to feel unsafe. 

For example, a person who gets into a verbal altercation with another individual on the street and threatens to come back later and shoot that person could be arrested for assault. Even if the alleged perpetrator does not have a gun in their possession, just making the threat of committing bodily harm against another rises to the level of assault.  

There are three other kinds of assault for which people most commonly are arrested and charged:

  • Aggravated Assault  – Aggravated assault is sometimes called assault with a deadly weapon. A simple assault charge is upgraded to aggravated assault when the perpetrator brandishes a weapon while making threats against another person. For example, a person walking around Albuquerque with a loaded gun in their jacket technically is not committing a crime so long as the weapon is properly licensed. If that same person gets into an argument with another person and pulls out their gun and waves it around in a threatening manner, then they could be charged with aggravated assault. 
  • Battery – Battery is the legal term used when one person physically harms another. It is possible for a perpetrator to be charged with both assault and battery charges if a threat was issued before the act of physical harm was carried out. An example would be someone threatening to punch another person’s lights out if they did not stop talking. That is assault. If that person later returns and follows through with their threat, it becomes assault and battery.
  • Aggravated Battery – Aggravated battery is more serious than a simple battery and comes with stiffer penalties if convicted. It can be charged as a full misdemeanor or a felony depending on the individual circumstances of the case. When a perpetrator makes physical contact with a victim with the intent to cause serious bodily harm, it rises to the level of aggravated battery. So, while slapping someone in the face is unlikely to cause them serious harm, hitting them with a bat and breaking their arm or leg causes serious injury and would be treated as aggravated battery. 
What to Expect if Arrested on Assault Charges

Successfully defending clients against assault charges comes down to the prosecution’s requirement of proving intent. The onus is on law enforcement to be able to gather enough tangible evidence that the offender intended to commit the offense. That does not mean that people are not successfully prosecuted on assault and battery charges. It is important to take these kinds of allegations seriously and to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Cameron & Russell for help. 

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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