Blog

What’s the Difference Between a Public Defender and a Private Attorney?

If you find yourself in a tough legal situation, then you will need a lawyer. Not having a lawyer is unacceptable. Pleading guilty is unacceptable. Surrendering without a fight is not an option. You need a lawyer who will represent you to the best of his or her ability. A lawyer can save you money and even keep your driver’s or occupational licenses from being suspended. Those criminal charges will not just disappear or get reduced without the aid of a lawyer. However, you will not know this if you just enter a guilty plea. Never pled guilty at your ...
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New Mexico Semi-trailer Truck Crash FAQ – Most Frequent Questions Answered

1. When I'm involved in a crash with a semi-trailer truck in Gallup or McKinley County, how can I ensure that my legal rights are still protected? In the immediate aftermath of the crash, a police report needs to be filed and your account of the accident needs to be provided. Soon after this takes place, contact a lawyer and have them issue what's known as a spoliation letter to the trucking company, which will prevent them from getting rid of accident-related evidence. The attorney should then look at the respective vehicle damage to begin building your case. That lawyer ...
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What are the consequences of refusing a DWI breath test in New Mexico, and what are the consequences of not hiring a private attorney?

If you have been pulled over for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), you might be asked to take a breath test to verify whether you are impaired and to determine the level of blood alcohol in your system. Should you refuse? What are the legal consequences of declining a breathalyzer test in New Mexico? There are sometimes two breath tests involved if someone is suspected of DWI. One of them is called a “portable.” This portable breath test machine is not reliable and if you have been drinking anything with alcohol in it you probably should avoid taking the portable breath ...
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Public Forum on Racial Profiling

Join community members, tribal members, academics and lawyers concerned about bordertown racial profiling in Gallup, New Mexico. Tonight from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm there will be a know-your-rights discussion at the downtown conference center with emphasis on Gallup's anti-panhandling ordinance. Presenters include Dr. Jennifer Denetdale, Dr. David Correia, Dr. Melanie Yazzie, and attorney Barry Klopfer ...
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Know your Rights! If Zuni police have arrested you for DWI act quickly.

If you are facing criminal charges by the Zuni Pueblo in suspicion of any crime, including DWI, know that both the Zuni law and the Indian Civil Rights Act afford you certain protections. If you were arrested for DWI, and you blew .08 or above, or you refused to take the breathalyzer, you automatically lose your right to drive on the Zuni Pueblo for ninety (90) days unless you demand within ten (10) days from your DWI arrest an "implied consent" hearing with the Zuni Tribal Court. ZTC § 6-1-10. (This is in addition to any punishment that the Zuni ...
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Navajo Nation police are required to “Mirandize plus” detainees. How does this apply to DWI?

In general, state constitutions and the federal constitution protect the accused from self-incrimination. In a DWI investigation self-incrimination can take several forms, including answering the following common questions from the investigating police officer: whether one has had anything to drink, where one has been drinking, or where one is driving from and to. Any answer by the criminal suspect, the target of the DWI investigation, is almost certainly going to be self-incriminating. Make no mistake that when the police smell alcohol on a driver from that point forward any information collected, including the solicitation of confessions, is less investigatory than it ...
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RIP Justice Scalia

The lion of the U.S. Supreme Court passed away on on February 13, 2016. While I did not always agree with his opinions, particularly his often caustic dissents on "social" issues, he nonetheless was a vocal participant who was driven by his passion and he is deserving of condolences. Without a doubt Justice Scalia was a strident defender of the 2nd Amendment, opining in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the following: "We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ...
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New Mexico posed to enact curfew law allowing cities to criminalize behavior that is not unlawful if committed by adults

There are several anti-crime bills being discussed for the upcoming state legislative session, one of which is legislation that would permit municipalities to enact ordinances that authorize criminal sanctions for youth violating a curfew. The New Mexico Supreme Court addressed a challenge to an ordinance the City of Albuquerque had in a 1999 decision, concluding "that the Children's Code preempts the City from drafting a Curfew ordinance which criminalizes behavior by children which is not unlawful if committed by adults." ACLU v. City of Albuquerque, 128 NM 315, 325 (1999) This decision, of course, and as the Court noted, did not leave state ...
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Navajo Supreme Court Broadens Protection for Preference in Professional Services Contracts

In a recent opinion by the Navajo Supreme Court regarding Navajo preference in business contracting, a majority Navajo-owned corporation, Iiná Bá, Inc., was held to have been entitled to Navajo business preference under the Navajo Bill of Rights, and its civil rights were hence violated when preference was not applied in scoring a multi-million dollar engineering Request for Proposal (RFP) by the Navajo Nation Water Management Branch to provide indoor running water to 10,000 homes in the Eastern Navajo Agency. The Navajo Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the Navajo Design and Engineering Services, which is under the Navajo Division ...
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New Mexico Court of Appeals Upholds Suppression of Ron Bell DWI Stop

Albuquerque's celebrity attorney Ron Bell (the guy with the billboards that promises to sue drunk drivers) was recently himself the subject and target of a DWI investigation despite blowing a 0.0 and having prescription Adderall in his blood. In a blow to permitting New Mexico police and prosecutors to arrest and charge DWI when a Defendant is allegedly "impaired to the slightest degree," the New Mexico Court of Appeals recently affirmed on September 14, 2014, the Bernalillo District Court's decision to suppress a DWI stop on the grounds the reasonable suspicion for Ron Bell's DWI stop arose outside of the scope of the initial stop ...
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