Otero County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Otero County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Otero County.
Prosecutor in Otero County
In Otero County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Otero County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent New Mexico. For the most part, the prosecutor in Otero County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Who can help me in Otero County?
For general information about your case the Otero County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Otero County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Otero County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Required Court Appearances in Otero County
Any required court appearances in Otero County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Jury Deliberations in Otero County
In Otero County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Arraignments in Otero County
During an arraignment in Otero County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Otero County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Otero County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Otero County Criminal Court Locations
Otero County 12th Judicial District Court
Address: 1000 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, NM 88310
Phone: 575-437-7310 Fax: 575-434-8886
Otero County Magistrate Court
Address: 263 Robert H. Bradley Drive, Alamogordo, NM 88310
Phone: 575-437-9000 Fax: 575-439-1365
Alamogordo Municipal Court
Address: 1376 East 9th Street, Alamogordo NM 88310
Phone: 575-439-4255 Fax: 575-439-4212
Cloudcroft Municipal Court
Address: 201 Burro Avenue, PO Box 317, Cloudcroft, NM 88317
Phone: 575-682-2411 Fax: 575-682-2511
Tularosa Municipal Court
Address: 609 St. Francis Drive, Tularosa, NM 88352
Phone: 575-585-2901 Fax: 575-585-2965