Grand Jury/Target Notice and Preliminary Hearings
A New Mexico prosecutor must either go through a grand jury or preliminary hearing to formally bring felony charges.
Grand Jury/Target Notice
If you have received a target notice, it means that the grand jury is going to meet to decide if you should be formally charged with a felony offense.
The grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence; it only decides if there is enough evidence to charge you with a felony.
In New Mexico you have rights at the grand jury, which include the right to testify and ask the grand jury consider evidence in your favor.
You must have all evidence ready for the grand jury 48 hours in advance of the date set for your case, which means that you must act very quickly once you receive the target notice.
No matter what type of case you have, it can be very helpful to fight to have your case dismissed or at least the charges reduced at the grand jury stage. Without an attorney the grand jury almost always brings charges against the accused in just a matter of minutes.
Sometimes prosecutors will decide to have a preliminary hearing to formally charge you with a felony case. A preliminary hearing is like a small trial, but instead of a jury the judge will decide if you will be charged with a felony.
At the preliminary hearing the prosecutor will call the most critical witnesses in the case to give testimony against you. After a prosecution witness testifies your attorney can cross-examine that witness.
You also have the right to bring any witnesses or put on any evidence you have at the preliminary hearing.
It is very important that you have an attorney at the preliminary hearing, because it is a critical part of the case
Many clients represented by the lawyers at McGraw & Strickland have been successful at the grand jury and preliminary hearing stages of the case against them.