Petty Misdemeanor Charge(s)

A petty misdemeanor is the least serious crime in New Mexico for which a person can be sentenced to time in jail. (Traffic offenses are less serious than petty misdemeanors but are only punishable by fines and possibly suspension of your driver’s license.) As described above, simple battery is a petty misdemeanor, as well as shoplifting items with a value under $250, graffiti (property damage under $1,000), and disorderly conduct.

Each petty misdemeanor crime may have its own sentencing limits, such as 30 days in jail or a fine up to $100. The sentence for a petty misdemeanor in New Mexico can never be more than six months in jail or a fine up to $500, or both.~

Under New Mexico law, the judge has discretion to decide what sentence a defendant will receive in a misdemeanor case. Unless the crime carries a mandatory minimum such as 10 days in jail, the judge can sentence the defendant to unsupervised or supervised probation rather than jail. The harshness of a sentence usually depends on factors such as the defendant’s criminal record, the extent of injury or damage caused, and even the defendant’s attitude toward the court and the justice system.

 

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