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New Mexico Legal Research Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

Expungment of Criminal Records

Researching the law of expungement of criminal records in New Mexico is complex and requires reading and analysis by the researcher.

The website of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a great place to start - see the link below.

New Mexico court opinions can be a good source of information about how the State views expungement of criminal records. One good case to read is:

The laws of New Mexico allow for expunging criminal records under two very specific circumstances.

  • First Drug Offense for Minors: if the minor went through the conditional discharge process. See NMSA 1978, § 30-31-28.
  • Identity Theft: if the acts committed were done by someone else. See NMSA 1978, § 31-26-16.

You can research the law of New Mexico via the database listed directly below.

In some limited circumstances, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) can assist with expunging misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor arrest records maintained by the DPS and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Felony arrest records are not eligible to be expunged through this DPS process. The DPS will expunge an arrest record that would statutorily fall into the category of a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor offense only if a final disposition cannot be located and if the arrest does not involve a crime of moral turpitude (conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals). Please visit their website for more information and to access their form.

New Mexico "Statutes of Limitations"

"Statutes of Limitations" are the laws that set the time limits for filing a civil lawsuit or for the state to prosecute a crime.

Civil Suits

The time limits for filing civil suits appear primarily in Chapter 37, Article 1 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA).

A few exceptions:

  • Medical Malpractice: Chapter 41, Article 5
  • Wrongful Death: Chapter 41, Article 2

Criminal Prosecution

The time limits for the prosecution of criminal offenses appear primarily in Chapter 30, Article 1, Section 6 and Section 8.

The language of these statutes is not always clear and it is up to the researcher to interpret the meaning and application to any individual set of circumstances.

New Mexico Power of Attorney Form

What does a Power of Attorney form do?

A power of attorney authorizes another person (your agent) to make decisions concerning your property for you (the principal). Your agent will be able to make decisions and act with respect to your property (including your money) whether or not you are able to act for yourself. The meaning of authority ove subjects listed on this form is explained in the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (NMSA 1978, §§45-5B-101 to 45-5B-403). This power of attorney does not authorize the agent to make health care decisions for you. (NMSA 1978, § 45-5B-301)

You can locate the form in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated at § 45-5B-301.

New Mexico Advance Health-Care Directive

What does an Advance Health-Care Directive (sometimes called Power of Attorney for Health Care) do?

You have the right to give instructions about your own health care. You also have the right to name someone else to make health-care decisions for you. This form lets you do either or both of these things. It also lets you express your wishes regarding the designation of your primary care practitioner. (NMSA 1978 § 24-7A-4)

You can locate the form in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated at § 24-7A-4.

Albuquerque "Panhandling" Ordinance

The Albuquerque ordinances that regulates the activity commonly known as "panhandling" can be found at:
  • "Occupying Roadways, Certain Medians and Roadside Areas Prohibited; Certain Pedestrian Interactions with Vehicles Prohibited," Albuquerque Code of Ordinances § 8-2-7-2 (amended 11/6/2017; amending ordinance available here)

New Mexico Transfer on Death Deed

What does the Transfer on Death (TOD) deed do?

When you die, this deed transfers the described property, subject to any liens or mortgages (or other encumbrances) on the property at your death. Probate is not required. The TOD deed has no effect until you die. You can revoke it at any time. You are also free to transfer the property to someone else during your lifetime. If you do not own any interest in the property when you die, this deed will have no effect (NMSA 1978, § 45-6-416).

You can locate the form in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated at § 45-6-416.


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