Ask Grant: Can any misdemeanor or felony charge be expunged from a record?

Remember this segment is meant to help and educate you if you ever have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777. This weeks question covers misdemeanors and/or felony charges on your record.


New Mexico has a very tough expungement law. Generally, if you make a criminal mistake this state, it is on your record for the rest of your life. With regards to expungement, what you will be able to accomplish depends on quite a few factors.

If you were a juvenile and the case was not adjudicated, the Symbol of law and justice, law and justice concept, scales of justice. ** Note: Slight graininess, best at smaller sizescourts records can be sealed upon motion to the court showing that you are not a delinquent offender. If the case was adjudicated, a motion can be filed to seal records after two years depending on the circumstances of the case. Arrest records of moral turpitude, such as DUI, are not eligible for expungement regardless of disposition.

If you were an adult at the time of the incident, things become more complicated. According to New Mexico law, if you are arrested for a misdemeanor or petty offense and not convicted, it may be possible to have your record expunged if no final disposition can be found. If there is anything such as a dismissal, a referral to a diversion program, or even a decision not to file charges, the record isn’t eligible for expungement. If you have a conviction, you will likely not qualify for an expungement, yet if a conviction is reversed, you can petition to have state DNA records expunged.

It’s important to note that if you have been charged with a felony and it is your first offense, there are options for a positive outcome. Ask your attorney about the benefits of a Conditional Discharge. Regarding expungement, these are complicated matters that are granted under very limited circumstances in New Mexico. Your best course of action is to consult a qualified attorney that can help you explore your legal options. As New Mexico is one of the more oppressive states with regards to these matters, please also contact your local representative and Senator and ask them to sponsor or support an expungement bill.


 

Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Ask Grant: Is there a time limit for when I can file a personal injury claim?

Remember this segment is meant to help and educate you if you ever have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777. This weeks question covers personal injury claims, and whether or not there is a time limit to file.


Fracture shaft of fibula bone ( leg bone ) . X-ray of leg ( 2 position : side and front view )

Yes. As there are various time constraints and other factors involved, it’s important that you seek the advice of an attorney immediately. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that you have to file suit against an individual or organization for injury or damages.

Most people think that they have plenty of time make decisions like this, but this isn’t always the case. For example, if you are hurt by a government entity, you have only 90 days to file a Tort Claim Notice.  Most claims for personal injury in New Mexico have a statute of limits of three years, but a qualified attorney will know all of the statutory deadlines and can also help direct the proper flow of your case.

In addition to meeting statutory time limits, injury victims can be mistreated or taken advantage of in an often confusing and corrupt system. Some medical and therapy treatment providers may render shoddy or second-rate service because they don’t like lawyers. Your attorney can help you stand up for your rights so that you aren’t treated like a second-class citizen.

Another common occurrence with treatment providers is with regards to billing. Some will bill the wrong insurance company in an attempt gain more money for the same service. This practice can result in their bill going to collections, which will have an adverse effect on your credit. Our firm’s standard practice is to not only protect our client’s rights but their credit rating as well. We will write letters to dispute these bills that have been sent to collections but were never the client’s responsibility to pay in the first place.

While you may have some time after your accident to start pursuing damages, waiting to seek representation is not a good idea. A qualified attorney will protect your rights from the start as well as do everything needed to collect evidence so that your case can reach a satisfactory resolution without worrying about the statute of limitations.


Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Marek Law Firm Relocates to Larger Office

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — April 4, 2016 — For the past five years Grant Marek of Marek Law Firm has been defending clients in Albuquerque and the surrounding areas. Marek has continued to meet the needs of those involved in personal injury, DWI, Domestic Violence and other criminal defense cases. The success of the firm has result in the need for a larger office space.

As of April 15, 2016, Marek Law Firm will be relocating to 5201 Constitution Ave. NE in Albuquerque from their current office on Lomas Blvd. NW. The move will enable the firm to continue its growth and provide room for additional staff members while continuing to be client focused.

“We were fortunate to find a such a nice space close to our current location. We wanted to minimize the impact that relocation could have on our clients, while allowing us to continue to grow and meet the demand of our clients’ needs,” said Grant Marek, attorney and owner of the firm.

Marek Law Firm has attributed its successful outcomes to foundational goals set when the firm was first established. Obtaining settlements for clients with the maximum legal allowable restitution and resolving cases quickly to reduce mounting medical bills by getting quick access to settlement money are two unique standards Marek Law Firm has set when approaching a new personal injury case. As for his criminal clients, he employs multiple strategies focused on early dismissal which has resulted in an 80% dismissal rate.

Grant Marek and his staff are excited to have a larger space to meet with new and returning clients. Although the location of Marek Law Firm has changed, the core values have not. The commitment to provide quality representation for cases in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and other surrounding areas is as steadfast and true as the day the doors of Marek Law Firm first opened.

For more information about Marek Law Firm and their commitment to the community visit www.mareklawfirm.com.

Media Contact:
Sinuate Media
443-992-4691
[email protected]

Ask Grant: How long does a DUI stay on your record?

Remember this segment is meant to help and educate you if you ever have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777. This weeks question covers driving under the influence (DUI) charges, and whether or not they can remain on your permanent driving record.


AG-ExpungementEvery state has their own set of laws for DUI/DWI charges. When you are arrested for DWI in New Mexico, the arrest and the resulting charge could be on your driving record for up to 55 years. Your license can be revoked for life, depending on the number of offenses you have. If it’s your first offense, it could be 6 months – 1 year.


 

Expungement

Drivers over the age of 21 can get up to three convictions without being charges a felony, therefore, misdemeanors such as DUI’s have potential to be expunged.

Unfortunately, we need better expungement laws in our state to uphold the ideal “innocent until proven guilty”. Because the current expungement laws are so weak, here in New Mexico, you are assumed to be guilty even after your case is dismissed.

The DUI charge is permanent but if the case gets dismissed then you can never be denied employment or housing opportunities because you are innocent until proven guilty.


Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Ask Grant: Do Booking Officers Check Immigration Status?

Remember this segment is meant to help and educate you if you ever have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777. This weeks question is on “ICE” and Immigration.


Ask-Grant-booking-officer

If a person does not have legal citizenship status in the United States, this is a valid concern. Unfortunately, the answer to the question isn’t as clear-cut as many would wish.


ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

ICE is the division of the Federal government that enforces federal laws with regards to border control, immigration, trade, and customs. Known by many simply as “Immigration”, this is the group that has records of who is in the country legally and who isn’t. While ICE is a federal agency, they operate locally and can be found in many areas, especially those near U.S. borders.

If you are arrested, there is a very good chance that your information will be run through an ICE database. The trends of where ICE operates in an area can change frequently. They may operate out of the jail, the courthouse, or even outside the public defender’s office. Their staging locations and strategies of enforcement change depending on budget and threat priorities and assessments.

Your Rights

Even if you are in the country illegally, you still have some rights with regards to ICE. However, there are some things that you need to know. If you have alien registration documents and are over the age of 18, it is required by law for you to keep those on your person at all times. If an officer requests that you produce them, you will need to comply.

If you do not have any documents, it is never a good idea to show an officer fake documents or pretend to be someone else. You do have the right to refuse to answer questions about your immigration status or your citizenship. If you choose to tell an officer that you are not a U.S. citizen and then are unable to produce documents, it is very likely that you will be arrested. Remember that you always have the right to remain silent.
fingerprintingIf you are arrested by ICE, one of the most important things that you can do is to refuse to answer questions and tell the officer that you want to speak to a lawyer. You never need to sign anything that you don’t understand or sign anything that waives your rights. If you do sign something waiving your rights, ICE could try to deport you without giving you the opportunity to see a lawyer or go before a judge.

If there is the possibility of ICE becoming involved in your life, it is a good idea to carry the name and number of an attorney with you at all times. An immigration attorney who knows the complex criminal law system ought to be your first choice if this is a possible concern in your case.


Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Ask Grant: What Happens if the Police Demand I Stop Filming Them Arresting Someone?

Remember this segment is meant to help and educate you if you ever have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777. This weeks question is on filming police in action.


Q: What happens if the Police demand I stop filming them arresting someone?

ask-grant-film-policeAnyone who spends time on social media today or watches television has probably noticed that there are an increasing number of amateur videos being posted of law enforcement activity. People of all ages, and for various reasons, have decided to arm themselves with their smartphones and document for the masses the things that they see taking place in front of them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always met with a welcoming attitude from those who are sworn to uphold and protect the law. In fact, some police have become very firm in their demands that those filming cease immediately. If you are filming law enforcement activity and are asked to stop by the police, this is what you need to do.

Filming the Police

First and foremost, they shouldn’t ask this of you at all. If everyone involved is in a public place and you are not interfering in what is happening, then a police officer has no legal recourse to ask you to stop recording. An officer never has the right to come over to you and either turn off your camera or, worse, confiscate it. This has been known to happen, however.
Earlier this year, a U.S. Marshall was videotaped (there’s irony for you) confiscating and destroying a woman’s camera while she tried to film him. This has been happening with increasing frequency as officers either don’t understand the rights of the people that are filming them or simply don’t care and are unwilling to cede the power that this act seems to imply. In fact, some people have even been wrongly arrested for filming police activity in public.

Know Your Rights

special photo toned photo f/x focus pont on camcorderAbove all else, it’s important that you understand your rights. As stated before, when you are in public places, you have the right to capture any image whether it be photo or video. If you are on private property, it is the property owner who sets the rules about taking video. If you disobey those rules, they can ask you to leave the property or even have you arrested for trespassing should you fail to do so.

A police officer may not order you to stop taking video or pictures, nor can they ask you to delete anything from your camera or phone. An officer also may not confiscate or demand to view photographs or video without a warrant. If an officer requests any of these things, politely ask them what specific law you are breaking. Whether they are able to cite a law or not (there isn’t one), let them know that you are allowed to disobey unlawful orders issued by police agents and are only required to comply with lawful demands.

Taking photographs and videos in public are still protected by the First Amendment. If you get into a tense situation, be sure to know your rights. If you feel that your rights have been violated, it may be time to contact your attorney immediately.


Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Ask Grant: Who Can Post Bail For Me?

Todays “Ask Grant” question is a popular one that many people wonder about and have asked. Remember if you ever need immediate legal help, or if you have any additional questions contact our office or call us at 505.235.6777.


Ask-Grant-post-bail

Here’s this weeks question plus Grants professional opinion on the matter.

Q: Who Can Post Bail For Me? 

Almost anyone can post bail for you, but beware! When you’ve been arrested and are sitting in jail, it’s natural to want to do anything you can to get out as soon as possible. Jail isn’t fun, and it’s awful by design. While it’s true that anyone can bail you out of jail as soon as a bond amount is set, this might be a mistake. You may be selling yourself short by falling into the bail trap, and this is also by design. The best thing to do BEFORE you post bond is to talk to an attorney.

The Flawed Bail System

The bail system was set up so that a person who was released from jail could post a bond and this would guarantee that they would show up for their next court date. The problem with jailhouse bail amounts is that the numbers are based on the initial charges that are being filed and don’t take anything else into consideration. This means that these figures are generally very high, and this is the premium that you will have to pay in order to be released from jail quickly.

Bail Bondsmen

When you use the services of a bail bondsman to post your bail, it isn’t at no cost to you. You are being charged a 10% premium over and above the amount of your bond. These fees are set by the state and are non-negotiable. For example, if your bail is set at $30,000, your cost to post a bail bond will be $3,000. Waiting just a short period of time could save you a ton of money and bring about some peace of mind.

Benefits of Waiting and Consulting an Attorney

It is almost always best to wait andClose Up Of Man Using Smart Phone Isolated On White Background consult an attorney before posting bail. Your attorney will be able to help you understand your charges and, in most cases, can argue for a much lower bond.

Remember that original bond was set based on the charges that you were booked on. A criminal defense attorney may be able to get some charges dropped and others reduced. What was originally a felony charge could quickly become a misdemeanor. This will have a significant impact on the amount of the bond. Other factors can also be taken into account with your bond as you go before a judge. Your attorney can argue on your behalf and point out such things as standing in the community, lack of criminal history, and family obligations.

It’s always recommended that you consult with an attorney before posting bail. A competent attorney can often assist you in getting charges adjusted, bail reduced, and saving thousands of dollars on your case!


Do you have a legal question? Why not “Ask grant” ? Send your questions via mail through our contact form or message us through our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grants personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured here on our new “Ask Grant” section!

Ask Grant: What Happens if I Refuse a Sobriety Test?

Ask Grant - Refuse Sobriety TestWelcome to our new Ask Grant segment, where we feature frequently asked questions from our clients. This segment is meant to help and educate you if you have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. Remember if you ever need immediate legal help, contact your attorney. This question is on refusing a sobriety test.


Q: What Happens if I Refuse to Take a Sobriety Test?

Getting pulled over for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be pretty scary. Even someone who has only had one drink with dinner or has limited themselves to diet soda all evening is likely going to get very nervous when questioned closely and blinded by a mag light. If you are pulled over in New Mexico, several types of tests may be requested, and your consent or refusal to take these tests could affect the outcome of your case.

Field Sobriety Tests

Contrary to what most people believe, field sobriety tests are not mandatory in New Mexico. Don’t expect the officer to advise you of this as it doesn’t always happen. It’s a fact that you don’t have to take a field sobriety test or answer any questions. Many of these tests are very difficult to pass for people who haven’t been drinking. Your best option is to politely refuse the field sobriety test. Don’t answer any questions as your responses and demeanor can, and will, be used against you later on. Remember to always call your attorney!

What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer - Sobriety TestBreath and Blood Tests

If you refuse to take the field sobriety tests, which you should, you can be sure that there will be a demand for you to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). You may be asked to take either a breathalyzer or a blood test, officer’s choice, within three hours of the last time that you drove. While it is still recommended that you refuse all tests and call your attorney as soon as possible, there are potential consequences for refusing this type of test that you should be aware of.

As New Mexico is an “implied consent” state, the state assumes that you agree to a chemical test when pulled over for suspicion of DUI. If you refuse to take a mandatory test, your license will be suspended immediately for one year, and you will have a presumption of a .08 BAC. At the time of your refusal, you should be given a twenty-day temporary permit and information on how to request a hearing.

Getting Help With A DUI

While refusing any type of sobriety test may sound like a grim outcome, this isn’t always the case. A competent DUI defense attorney can help you challenge some of these charges and may be able to help with a suspension. Field sobriety tests are challenging, and don’t provide precise readings of intoxication. In nearly all cases, refusing to answer questions and perform tests will increase the chances of your case getting dismissed. Unless absolutely certain that you haven’t broken any laws, the best course of action is to stay silent, refuse all tests, and call your attorney.

If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777.


Do you have a legal question? Why not Ask Grant? Send us your questions via mail through our contact form or our Facebook page and someone from our office will give you Grant’s personal answer/opinion. Your question might even get featured next on our new Ask Grant section!

Marek Law Firm continues to Fight for New Mexicans’ rights

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — November 02, 2015 — Been in a wreck? Then call Marek. Arrested? Still call Marek! For five years, Grant Marek of the Marek Law Firm has been has been helping clients sort through insurance messes, defending their rights and protecting their futures. In October they completed their 100th criminal defense case; 80 of those resulting in dismissal. On the civil side, every single personal injury case has resulted in a financial award to the client. While there are a number of personal injury and criminal defense law firms in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area, few have the legacy of Marek Law Firm. Grant Marek took guidance from his father, Thomas L. Marek, an attorney who served clients in New Mexico for over 35 years with the Marek and Francis Law Firm. Taking cues from his father, the younger Mr. Marek focused on creating a law firm that provided quality service with integrity and achieving desired results for clients – quickly, because time matters. Five years later, he still maintains that core value.

The firm’s aggressive approach to personal injury cases and a 79% dismissal rate for criminal cases, has contributed to its success. In personal injury matters, the Marek Law Firm has three main goals: to obtain settlements for the clients with the maximum legal allowable restitution, to resolve cases quickly and to help clients reduce their mounting medical bills by getting quick access to settlement money. To accomplish this goals-based approach, the Marek Law Firm approaches their cases as a team with the on-staff accountant so that their clients benefit from an ongoing commitment and compounded expertise.

“This anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on our core values and to affirm our continued commitment to providing quality personal injury representation to our clients,” said Grant Marek. “We value our relationships with our clients and continue to work hard for them every day.” Mr. Marek is a former prosecutor at the District Attorney’s office, where his work gave him extensive courtroom, complex course proceedings and case management experience. A native of New Mexico, he is particularly proud of being able to support and service clients in his home state.

The Marek Law Firm serves criminal defense and personal injury cases in Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Santa Fe, and several other communities in New Mexico. More information can be found at www.mareklawfirm.com.

Personal Injury Law in a Competitive, Plaintiff Friendly Environment

Here in New Mexico, we have some of the best laws in the country if you are injured by someone else’s negligence. Hit by car? Lost an eye because of the product you purchased? Here in the Land of Enchantment, you have better protection than most of the country. What does this mean? It means that a lot of law firms from out of state open offices here to take advantage of our Plaintiff Friendly Environment. This creates a lot of competition in the legal world for your personal injury case. This can be good, as competition usually drives down prices. However, it also creates big law firms where you aren’t a person, you are just a set of facts and numbers. The Marek Law Firm prides itself on Client Focused Representation. We always consider your needs as a person, not just the facts of your accident.

It’s good to live in such a beautiful, diverse, multicultural state like New Mexico. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured here, well, you are better off than most. Make sure and sit down with an attorney you trust and who treats you like an individual, when hiring someone to look out for your best interests. If you know someone in trouble with the law or who has been injured recently, please refer them to the Marek Law Firm, where you are a person first.

Stay tuned for next week’s post: The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in New Mexico