Arraingnment (First Appearance in Court) and Bonding Out
The person arrested will probably see a Magistrate or Metro Judge during the next business day. In larger cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe the judge sees everyone by television. The inmates stay at the jail while the judge, the lawyers and any family members watch from the courthouse. The judge will set bond and order that, if released, the defendant have no contact with the victim. That means you will need to find another living arrangement while the case is pending. Be sure and plead “not guilty” even though, later on when you have an attorney to negotiate the case, you may well decide to change your plea to guilty.
Can the victim simply drop the charges?
No. Once the police have been called, it is no longer up to the victim whether the case proceeds or not. However, if the victim has second thoughts for whatever reason, the lawyer representing the defendant may ask for a written statement to explains why the victim does not want to go forward. That statement will be used by the defense lawyer to negotiate with the district attorney possibly for less jail time or other reductions.
What are the consequences of a DV conviction?
A domestic violence conviction – like assault or battery on a household member – can result in jail time up to 1 year, counseling like the 52-week anger management and DV course being offered, and a lifetime ban on possessing any firearm.