Are Warrants Public Records in New Mexico?
Yes. The New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) allows the public to access warrants maintained by law enforcement agencies in the state. Therefore, an individual can inspect and copy warrants from the appropriate agency. Typically, warrant applications, citations, and affidavits are confidential until the law enforcement officer has made the arrest and has made the officer’s return on the warrant or the defendant has made an initial appearance in court. Warrants are maintained by state courts as judicial records and by law enforcement as part of an individual's New Mexico criminal record.
What is Considered a Warrant in New Mexico?
A warrant in New Mexico is a legal directive that gives the police specific permission to search a place or person, arrest an individual, or execute another action named on it. If a law enforcement officer does not complete a warrant correctly, any evidence obtained through the performance may be inadmissible in New Mexico court. Before getting a warrant in New Mexico, a law enforcement agent must present a sworn statement to a judge or magistrate. If the judicial authority finds the statement to be authentic, the party may issue the warrant.
In addition, New Mexico allows law enforcement officers to apply for warrants over the phone. Examples of warrants in New Mexico include arrest warrants, bench warrants, search warrants, and fugitive warrants. An arrest warrant details the criminal act for which arrest is permitted and could be specific about the manner in which an arrest is performed. Under the incumbent magistrate's authority, the Clerk of Court dispenses arrest warrants in the state. A court may issue bench warrants in New Mexico on accused persons for misdemeanors like traffic offenses or other comparable violations.
At the same time, a fugitive warrant is a form of an arrest warrant issued against a person who flees from prosecution in another state or country. A fugitive warrant in New Mexico empowers a law enforcement officer to take an individual into custody, notwithstanding if the crime was committed in a different location. Unlike other types of warrants, a search warrant does not deal with making an arrest. Instead, it is issued to find evidence. With search warrants, law enforcement agents gain access to private residences and establishments, searching for evidence to use in future court cases.
How to Find Out if You Have a Warrant in New Mexico?
Information on active warrants is available at the local Sheriff's Office or the Office of the Magistrate who issued the warrant. However, going to these offices to inquire about a warrant's existence may lead to an immediate arrest if indeed an active warrant is found. Furthermore, the Office of the County Clerk holds records of warrants in that county. Hence, getting in touch with this office for a New Mexico warrant search may help obtain the information needed. Also, an interested party may perform a New Mexico warrant search using third-party sites.
Lastly, a quick way to find out about active warrants is to look through the most-wanted lists of the different counties in New Mexico online. Nevertheless, not all County Sheriff Departments provide this information on their websites, but those that do (e.g., Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties) attach suspects' photographs and specify the charges.
A person stands the risk of being abruptly arrested at any time if such an individual is not aware of the existence of an active warrant. In addition, law enforcement agents usually carry out New Mexico warrant searches on parties stopped for minor traffic offenses. However, if another state discovers an active New Mexico warrant on an individual, the state extradites the person to New Mexico. Therefore, a New Mexico warrant search is recommended, especially for persons that have had dealings with the law.
Records of warrants issued or executed in various jurisdictions are also maintained and by third-party websites. While third-party sites make accessing these records substantially easier, the information available on the sites may vary since they are not government-run sources. To obtain warrant records from a third-party site, the requesting party may be required to provide:
- The personal information of the alleged suspect
- Information regarding the issuing officer
- The location where the warrant was issued.
How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, arrest warrants and bench warrants remain valid until suspects appear before the issuing courts, the alleged offenders die, or the issuing authorities recall them. Thus, these warrants do not have expiry dates. Prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officials have the mandate to serve or execute warrants as quickly as possible. A law officer must make reasonable efforts to find the named suspect. Else, a judge may dismiss the warrant. This is usually the case when the statute of limitations on the alleged crime has expired. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for felonies ranges from three to six years and one to two years for misdemeanors. No statute of limitations exists for murder charges.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Warrant in New Mexico?
The timeframe for getting warrants in New Mexico varies. Most times, it depends on how quickly a law enforcement officer gets to a judge and convinces them about the necessity of a warrant. Generally, warrant issuance takes a few hours, but it can be issued in a matter of minutes in special cases where time is of the essence.
How Do Search Warrants Work in New Mexico?
A New Mexico search warrant charges a law enforcement officer to search a listed location and seize certain items. New Mexico courts may issue search warrants to authorize the investigation for:
- Properties possessed or obtained illegally.
- Properties intended and designed to commit crimes or already used in committing crimes.
- Individuals marked for arrest.
- Properties that would be used as evidence for prosecution.
A law enforcement officer must have probable cause before requesting a search warrant against another entity. The probable cause must imply standard evidence, which forms a legal basis for issuing the warrant. Furthermore, search warrants requestors must submit an affidavit before the judge. Before approving an application for a search warrant, the judge may require the affiant to appear personally or by audio-video transmission and then examine the party under oath as well as other witnesses.
In the case whereby a judge issues a search warrant remotely, it must be transmitted by trusted electronic means to the applicant, and the judge must file a duplicate of the original with the court. The search warrant must have an execution period, usually between the hours of 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, unless the judge gives a different time. An officer of the law must perform a New Mexico search warrant within ten days after the issuing date.
A municipal police officer, law enforcement officer, campus security officer, pueblo, or Indian tribal law enforcement officer may execute or assist in executing a search warrant. The officer seizing property under a search and seizure warrant must give the replica copy of the warrant to the person on whom or whose premises the law official seized a property. A search warrant executor must return the warrant along with the inventory of items taken to the issuing judge.
How Does a New Mexico Search Warrant Become Invalid?
While the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable and illegal searches of personal property and seizure, issuing a warrant without probable cause invalidates it. Also, if an officer does not obtain a warrant containing the signature of a judicial official, the search warrant is deemed worthless. Meanwhile, if an officer of the law executes a search warrant at a time not stipulated on the issued warrant, the action is baseless. Should the officer not follow the proper executing procedures when enforcing a warrant, the court would discard the evidence derived from such a warrant.
How to Conduct an Active Warrant Search in New Mexico
Individuals can find information on active warrants in New Mexico at County Sheriff Offices. For example, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office allows a requester to conduct an active warrant search online or in person. Here is how to make an online request:
- Go to the Sheriff's Office website
- Click on “Divisions” at the top bar and select “Administrative Services Division”
- Scroll down and click on the “Search the warrants database” link in the“Warrant Unit section”
- Search for warrants by name, warrant type, or warrant year.
- Select the warrant search option, then click the Submit button.
The search results reveal the fugitive’s name, warrant number, issue date, case type, charge description, and date of birth. Alternatively, requesters can visit the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office from Monday to Friday, 8 am – 12 pm & 1 pm – 4 pm. Requesters must provide a name or birth date for the search. The Office is located at:
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office
415 Silver Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: (505) 468-7140
Free Warrant Search Options in New Mexico
Most law enforcement agencies in New Mexico have online tools where individuals can conduct free warrant searches. Access to these online databases is free. Alternatively, requesters can make in-person requests to view warrant information for free from the record custodian office. Anyone who wants to retrieve copies of warrant records should be ready to pay a small fee.
Arrest Warrant in New Mexico: Rules of Procedure
An arrest warrant in New Mexico is a court-issued order that allows law enforcement officers to arrest and detain a suspect. Ordinarily, judges or magistrates issue arrest warrants upon request by police officers. In contrast to other states, the Clerk of Court may also issue arrest warrants in New Mexico on behalf of the sitting magistrate. Most arrest warrants in New Mexico consist of:
- An overview of the alleged crimes
- Personal details of the suspects
- When and where the arrest might occur
- Limitations on the duration of the warrants
- The terms of bail or bond conditions
In New Mexico, a law enforcement officer may arrest a criminal suspect without a warrant if the officer witnesses the violation. In addition, a police officer may also pursue a suspect if the party believes the alleged offender may have committed the offense. After an arrest, a suspect is allowed to make a maximum of three phone calls to contact friends and family and to ask for legal help. The detainee qualifies for this privilege within 20 minutes of being transported to the police station or other holding facility. Also, the sheriff must notify the District Attorney of the arrest and identify the offense the suspect may have committed. Once the alleged violator has been taken to court, the court may grant bail without unreasonable delay.
New Mexico Child Support Arrest Warrants: What You Need to Know
Child support arrest warrants refer to orders instructing law enforcement officers to arrest persons listed on the warrant as a result of not paying child support. In New Mexico, the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) is responsible for establishing parentage, collecting, enforcing, and modifying child support obligations. When a court or CSED has established child support, the noncustodial parent must make payments to the custodial parent.
In cases where a parent refuses to comply with the court order and does not pay the full amount of child support, such a parent in contempt of court may be punished. The private attorney to the custodial parent may begin a child support enforcement action or ask CSED to handle the case. Despite enforcing child support orders, the CSED is a neutral party and cannot provide legal representation to either party.
New Mexico Bench Warrants: Issuing and Arrests
A New Mexico bench warrant is an order to arrest an individual for refusing to comply with the court order and proceedings. Upon apprehension, the police usually present the criminal to the court for immediate trial or keep such a person behind bars until there is a scheduled date and time for prosecution. Typically, District Court judges or the Magistrate Court issue bench warrants. Once issued, it remains a valid action against a subject until the issuing court finalizes the case. With this consciousness, for quick responses to court processes, the public may conduct New Mexico warrant searches for information regarding active warrants online, in the issuing court, at the Police Department, or in the Office of the Sheriff.
Failure to Appear in New Mexico: Rules and Consequences
A failure to appear (FTA) is another type of bench warrant solely issued to subjects who have failed to attend communicated court meetings. The court gives this type of warrant most of the time compared to other warrants. According to NM Stat § 31-3-2, the failure to appear equals to the forfeiture of bails and bonds. That means whatever was agreed may be set aside, and the court orders for the individual’s arrest.
Following NM Stat § 31-3-9, a willful failure to appear is a crime, and its severity depends on the initial offense. However, the subject is guilty of a fourth-degree felony if there is a connection with a felony case and a petty misdemeanor for an existing misdemeanor violation. These offenses attract jail time and fines in the range of $500 to $5,000. Additionally, the failure to appear in court for traffic offenses may lead to the suspension of the subject’s driver’s license. It may also affect future applications for new licenses.
How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for a Warrant for Missing Court in New Mexico?
Once a Failure to Appear (FTA) is intentional, and the existing crime is a felony, the FTA is a fourth-degree felony, which attracts 18 months in prison. On the other hand, if the offense of failing to appear is a petty misdemeanor case, the offender stays up to 6 months in jail. New Mexico has strict regulations and punishments for persons who violate court orders or do not appear on the court dates. And aside from jail time, there are the possibilities for defaulters to pay fines.
In New Mexico, What is Failure to Pay?
A Failure to Pay (FTA) is an order by the judge to reprimand a person who has failed to pay a court-ordered fine for which the time has elapsed. Commonly, court-ordered fines include alimony, traffic tickets, and child support. An individual who fails to pay might be charged for committing a crime, especially if the failure was intentional. In addition, in line with NM Stat § 73-2-40, the court imposes fines as punishment for the violation. The inability to pay a traffic citation, depending on the offense committed, also attracts penalties from the state. For the most part, the court may notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the subject's driving license, impose additional fines over $100, or appropriate jail time.
No-Knock Warrant in New Mexico: General Laws
A no-knock warrant is a different type of warrant issued by the court to allow the police or other law enforcement agencies to access a suspect’s residence without any need for identification or knocking. This procedure is mostly to prevent the suspect from tampering with evidence before the officers arrive and avoid potential shoot-outs.
How to Perform a Federal Warrant Search
There are several options for performing a federal warrant search in the United States. Although individuals can visit the record custodian offices to retrieve federal warrants, the fastest method is to make online requests. For example, the following law enforcement agencies allow access to federal warrant information online:
- The U.S. Marshals Service has a Most Wanted Fugitives list that can be used to retrieve federal warrant information.
- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides access to warrant information via its “Most Wanted” page.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also has a “Most Wanted” list that requesters can use to conduct a federal warrant search
- The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has a “Most Wanted” list that requesters can use to get federal warrant information.
Search results from the aforementioned databases reveal warrant information like full name, aliases, offense, date of birth, race, gender/sex, eye and hair color, height, and weight.
Does New Mexico MVD Check for Warrants?
The New Mexico MVD does not check for warrants or issue any kind of warrants. However, they get notified when a warrant is issued for a person’s arrest. After which, the person’s driver’s license will be suspended until the warrant is cleared.