The Crimes Against Household Members Act makes domestic violence a crime in New Mexico. Despite the name of the law, it's not necessary that family members live together for a charge of domestic violence. Instead, the law provides that any assault or battery against any of the following people is domestic violence:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Parent, step-parent, or parent-in-law (including former step-parents and in-laws)
- Grandparent or grandparent-in-law
- Your child’s other parent if you're dating or have an intimate relationship
More specifically, it's a crime to do any of the following to any of the people described above:
- Unlawful, intentional touching in a rude, insolent, or angry way.
- Application of force in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.
- Any attempt to commit unlawful, intentional touching or force in a rude, insolent, or angry way.
- Any unlawful act, threat, or menacing conduct that causes one of the people described above to reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger.
- Strike or assault a household member with a deadly weapon or with intent to commit a felony.
What to Do If You’re Hurt by Domestic Violence
A domestic violence incident is terrifying, and can leave you concerned about your safety. If this happens, you may seek a protective order, also known as a restraining order, from the court.
The terms of a protective order vary. In some cases, a protective order may require the individual who hurt you to stay a certain distance away from you and your property. A restraining order might also have a provision that this person receive counseling. It could also award temporary sole custody of your children to you or another guardian.
You may contact the police to have the offender arrested if the specific terms of a protective order are violated.
What to Do If You’re Accused of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges often result in serious criminal and civil penalties. If you're convicted of domestic violence crime, you can be sentenced to significant jail time and fines. Your sentence depends on:
- The exact circumstances of the domestic violence incident.
- Whether you committed a misdemeanor or a felony.
- If this is your first offense or a subsequent one.
Additionally, you may face consequences in civil lawsuits. These include personal injury damages for any injuries proven to have occurred because of your violent actions.
It's important to take all allegations of domestic violence seriously, even if you know the allegations are false.
How Domestic Violence May Affect a New Mexico Divorce
A domestic violence arrest or conviction can impact the dissolution of your marriage and any child custody and visitation arrangements. Domestic violence can, for example:
- Be grounds for divorce. These actions can be evidence of cruel and inhumane treatment or incompatibility.
- Impact child custody and visitation. The court may decide that custody, unsupervised visitation, and even supervised visitation with a parent who committed domestic violence might not be in the best interests of your children. The custody and visitation order may be written to keep that parent from seeing the kids.
However, domestic violence shouldn't impact a parent’s responsibility to pay child support. That duty continues even if the court orders sole custody to the other guardian, and limited or no visitation with the parent who committed the violent acts.
Divorce and child custody decisions can be challenging under amicable circumstances. They might be even more problematic and difficult when domestic violence is a factor.
Accordingly, whether you're the one abused or you're seeking protection for children against domestic violence; or you're the individual accused, we encourage you to speak to a New Mexico domestic violence and family law attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced and compassionate team at Genus Law Group will make sure your rights are protected. We'll fight hard for the fair and just resolution for you need.