A New Mexico criminal record is first acquired after a person is arrested for a felony, misdemeanor (punishable by six months or more), or a DWI charge in the state. The New Mexico State Central Repository for Criminal History maintains the state’s database of arrest and conviction history.
According to 29-10-6(A) of the New Mexico Arrest Record Information Act, individuals may request a copy of their own New Mexico criminal record from the Department of Justice. However, requesting the criminal record of another person is prohibited in the state.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of New Mexico, a criminal record is only available to the subject of the record.
What is included in a New Mexico criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a New Mexico criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- DWI arrests and convictions
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons to access a criminal record.
- Most commonly, people search criminal records as a way to run a background check on a particular person.
- They’re also used by law enforcement to identify or locate people involved in unsolved crimes or by the court system to determine an appropriate sentence after a conviction.
- An individual may want to access his or her own record as well. It’s not uncommon for people to request their own criminal record to see what information is public.
- In some cases, a record could be inaccurate or include outdated information. If that’s the case, it’s important to have the record corrected.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
Arrests and convictions listed on a criminal record are separated into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
To give a better understanding of the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each category of offense:
- Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is usually just a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering.
- Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, yet less serious than a felony. Generally, a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or by a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than in a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
- Felony – A felony is the most severe type of crime, often characterized by the use of a weapon during a crime, serious injury to a victim, and/or holding a person against their will. Felony convictions typically result in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and grand theft.
What is the difference between a New Mexico arrest record and a New Mexico criminal record?
Typically, an arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest, a criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
New Mexico confuses matters slightly by referring to what is normally known as a criminal record as “arrest record information” on the NM.gov website.
How do I search for a New Mexico criminal record?
New Mexico does not have a searchable online database of criminal history record information that is available to the general public.
However, an individual may request a copy of their own New Mexico criminal record, including arrests and convictions, through the following process:
- Complete and sign an Authorization for Release of Information form (Spanish version).
- Get the form notarized by a notary public.
- Prepare a check or money order for $15 payable to “Department of Public Safety” in order to pay the required fee.
- Mail the completed form and payment in an enclosed envelope to:
Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 1628
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628
Processing may take between 7-15 business days. A New Mexico criminal record cannot be requested in-person.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a New Mexico criminal record?
In the case that you have a New Mexico criminal record, a physical copy will be delivered to you once your official request has been processed.
Why can’t I access a New Mexico criminal record?
New Mexico state law does not allow individuals to request the criminal records of others. If a request for your own New Mexico record yields no such record, it means that the New Mexico State Central Repository for Criminal History does not have a record on file under your name.
How do I search for New Mexico criminal case court records?
Use the New Mexico Courts: Case Lookup tool provided by the New Mexico State Judiciary to search a database of court case records maintained by the New Mexico Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Municipal Courts, District Courts, and Magistrate Court.
Available search options include a Name Seach, Case Number Search, and a DWI Search. Case Lookup will not yield information pertaining to juvenile criminal cases or the Family Violence Protection Act Order of Protection cases.
If you can’t find information on the criminal court case you are looking for, use the NMcourts.gov Find a Court page to lookup the contact information of the court that processed the criminal case. Next, contact the court’s clerk of court and make records request to view the court record you are looking for.
Does New Mexico allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
According to the New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act (effective 2020), the following individuals may petition to have portions of their criminal record expunged:
- Victims of identity theft wrongfully identified in arrest records or other public records
- An individual released without conviction one year from the date of the final disposition in the case
- An individual convicted of a municipal ordinance, misdemeanor, or felony that has completed their sentence and has paid all outstanding fines and/or fees related to the conviction
Visit the New Mexico Courts: Expungement Forms page for more information on how to petition to have information on your New Mexico criminal record expunged, and to download and print the necessary forms.
How can I have false information on a New Mexico criminal record corrected?
For information on how to correct false information on your New Mexico criminal record, contact the New Mexico Department of Public Safety: Law Enforcement Records at (505) 827-9181.
If you have been wrongfully identified in an arrest record, it may be necessary to file a petition for expungement (see above section).
How long are New Mexico criminal records kept on file?
The New Mexico State Central Repository for Criminal History maintains criminal history record information for an indefinite period unless a successful petition for expungement has been filed.