New Mexico Sex Offenses and Why They are Different
Sex offenses are those acts and behaviors that deviate from acceptable moral and legal standards. By nature, these offenses can invoke public outrage and, more importantly, cause psychological or physical distress to the victim. Indeed, compared to other crimes, sex offenses receive widespread attention. In the state of New Mexico, several laws define and deviate sexual conduct. The New Mexico judiciary and law enforcement are responsible for the criminal prosecution and supervision of convicted offenders.
What is a New Mexico Sex Crime?
The popular idea is that most sex crimes involve brute force. Many sex crimes involve the exertion of physical compulsion. Nevertheless, there abounds a wide variety of sex crimes, many of which hardly involve brute force. A common element of sex crimes is the perversion and the hedonistic objective of the offender in carrying out the act. New Mexico defines any action, attempt, and even conspiracy to perform a sexual activity that deviates from legal standards as a sex crime. Article 9 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated makes up the bulk of sex crimes in the state. Nevertheless, other sex crimes are described in these statutes:
- Article 6A—Sexual Exploitation of Children
- Article 9—Sexual Offenses
- Article 10—Marital and Familial Offenses
- Article 28—Initiatory Crimes
- Article 37—Sexually Oriented Material Harmful to Minors
- Article 37A—Unauthorized Distribution of Sensitive Images
- Article 38—Exhibiting Obscene Films Outdoors
What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?
As defined by the statutes mentioned above, the following are the different types, severity, and applicable penalties to sex offenses in New Mexico:
- Criminal Sexual Penetration: Per N. M. Stat. § 30–9–11, this refers to the unlawful and intentional penetration, to any extent and with any object, of the genital or any body cavity. Such an act, whether or not there is any emission, is a felony. Depending on aggravating factors, it is punishable by eighteen (18) years to life imprisonment and up to $17,500 in fines. Criminal sexual penetration was the most reported sex crime (36%) in New Mexico between 2010 and 2014, according to an official report in 2018.
- Criminal Sexual Contact: Per N. M. Stat. § 30–9–12, it is a crime to unlawfully and intentionally touch another person’s unclothed genitalia by applying force, threat, or without consent. Criminal sexual contact is a felony punishable by twelve (12) months to fifteen (15) years imprisonment and fines up to $2500.
- Indecent exposure: Any intentional act to expose the primary genital area to public view is indecent exposure (N. M. Stat. § 30–9–14). The crime is a misdemeanor that is punishable by six (6) months to one (1) year in jail and fines. The court may also impose mandatory participation in counseling and probation.
- Voyeurism: Under N. M. Stat. § 30–9–20, voyeurism is the intentional use of a digital or electronic device to film to record another person’s intimate areas without the explicit knowledge and consent of that person. The crime, where the subject is an adult, is a misdemeanor that is punishable by twelve (12) months in jail and $1,000 in punitive fines. However, voyeurism of a minor is a felony that is punishable by up to eighteen (18) months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
- Child sexual exploitation: It is illegal to sexually exploit a child (under eighteen years) in New Mexico. Likewise, possession of any material depicting the sexual exploitation of a child is prohibited under the law (N. M. Stat. § 30–6A–3). Violation of this statute is a felony subject to eighteen months imprisonment.
Other types of sex crimes in New Mexico include Child solicitation (N. M. Stat. § 30–37–3.2),, Outdoor exhibition of obscene films (N. M. Stat. § 30–38–1),, Bigamy (N. M. Stat. § 30–10–1),, Incest (N. M. Stat. § 30–10–3),, and the unauthorized distribution of sensitive images (N. M. Stat. § 30–37A–1)..
Sex Offender Levels of Classification in New Mexico
Per Adam Walsh Act (AWA), New Mexico uses a tier system to classify sex offenders convicted within the state boundaries. These are:
- Tier I: These are offenders guilty of petty sex crimes (mostly misdemeanors) such as stalking, indecent exposure, and voyeurism of an adult. Tier I offenders must register on the sex offender registry every twelve (12) months for fifteen (15) years.
- Tier II: These are sexual offenders guilty of serious sexual misdemeanors or felonies such as sexual solicitation of a minor, conspiracy to commit a felony sexual offense, and possession of child pornography. A Tier I offender becomes a Tier II offender if he or she is a habitual offender. The consequence of being classified as a Tier II offender is biannual registration on the sex offender registry for twenty-five (25) years.
- Tier III: Comprises sex offenders who have committed the most serious sex offenses. A Tier II offender becomes a Tier III offender if he or she is a habitual offender. The consequence of being classified in this category is a lifetime of registration on the sex offender registry ninety (90) days.
How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in New Mexico?
The best means to find information on a registered sex offender in New Mexico is via official channels. An in-person visit to the Sheriff’s Office during business hours allows the interested individual to obtain the information desired. However, a more convenient option is the remote search of the New Mexico sex offender registry.
The New Mexico Sex Offender Registry
Per the New Mexico Offender Registration Act mandates convicted sex offenders to register on the New Mexico sex offender registry. The registry’s information includes the offender’s photo, name, aliases, physical description, and location. Anyone with access to the internet may access the database without restrictions. However, the Department of Public Safety warns against the uncivil and criminal use of the information obtained from the registry. To query the database:
- Visit the New Mexico Sex Offender Registry
- Accept the terms
- Use a parameter to find the sex offender.
The acceptable parameters to query the registry include, but not limited to, the name, internet alias, email address, phone number, location, and compliance status of the offender. Upon query, the database returns available information based on the parameter used. The searcher shall then access the offender’s most recent photograph, personal information, physical description, and residential information within the state boundaries.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused of.
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in New Mexico?
Restrictions on convicted sex offenders in New Mexico are imposed to ensure public safety and on a case-by-case basis. At present, the significant restrictions facing sex offender in New Mexico is the residency restriction. Bear in mind that the state has not enacted a law imposing the residency restriction according to research by the Sex Offender Management Board of the New Mexico Sentencing Commission. Instead, the state leaves the decision to impose a residency restriction at the discretion of the municipality or court.