Roadrunner Capitol Reports
Legislation Detail


Sen Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez

Actions: [1] SCC/SHPAC/SJC-SCC [2]germane-SHPAC

Scheduled: Not Scheduled

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 Senate Bill 12 (SB 12) renames the Family Violence Protection Act as the Protection Against Abuse and Violence Act, clarifies definitions, and specifies the standard to be implemented for certain orders of protection.  
Legislation Overview:
 First, Senate Bill 12 (SB 12) renames the Family Violence Protection Act as the Protection Against Abuse and Violence Act (Act). 

Second, SB 12 replaces the definition of “domestic abuse” with “abuse”.  Therefore, a person is no longer referred to as a victim of domestic abuse, but as a victim of abuse. The bill amends the definition of abuse by adding or clarifying the following: abuse can result in temporary or permanent bodily injury; severe emotional distress may include fear, depression, anxiety or loss of sleep; harassment can include driving by a residence or workplace for no lawful purpose or following a person in public places; internet/digital/electronic harassment; kidnapping, false imprisonment or restricting or prohibiting movement; interference with communication; exploitation or forced criminal activity; deprivation of real or personal property or damage to jointly owned or community property; harm or threatened harm to an animal; unauthorized distribution of sensitive images; and threats to disclose immigration status. The bill also adds a definition of “credible threat” as a situation that causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of another, and can be demonstrated by a statement, an act or a course of conduct and does not require the use or threatened use of a firearm.

Third, the bill provides that an abuse case can also be filed at the district court in the judicial district where the alleged abuse occurred.  Currently, a case must be filed where the victim of domestic abuse resides or is found.  It adds that an action brought under the Protection Against Abuse and Violence Act is independent of any criminal case involving the parties that did not arise from a violation of the Act. 

Fourth, the bill allows an order of protection to be issued to protect or restrain a minor. A minor who is at least 13 years old and a victim of abuse can petition for an order of protection against the minor’s co-parent or a person with whom the minor has a continuing personal relationship, or that contains allegations of stalking or sexual assault. 

Fifth, SB 12 amends the procedure for obtaining an emergency order or protection. It allows a law enforcement officer to request an emergency order electronically or digitally, and the officer must inform the victim that an officer may petition the court for this order on the victim’s behalf, and a criminal complaint does not have to be filed. It requires a district judge to be available at all times to hear these petitions. Currently, each judicial district determines when a judge is to be available. The bill allows a judge to grant a temporary order if there is an immediate danger of abuse, in addition to the current requirement that an act of abuse has occurred. It adds that a temporary order of protection must enjoin the restrained party from committing or threatening acts of abuse, and must enjoin the restrained party from any contact or communication with the victim.  The bill adds that any child custody and visitation order issued with the order of protection lasts up to six months, and can be extended for an additional six months, and also adds that an order of protection can address custody and treatment of animals.  An order of protection cannot order that the victim participate in treatment or counseling related to the abuse, and that the order must contain a notice that restrained parties are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm while the order is in effect.  Currently, an order of protection is valid for six months, and can be extended for another six months.  This bill provides that an order of protection can be in effect for a fixed period of time of any length.  The bill removes the ability to issue a “mutual order of protection”. 

Currently, an officer may arrest an alleged perpetrator of domestic abuse when appropriate; this bill requires the officer to make the arrest, and must also identify whether one of the parties acted in self-defense. In addition to the jail notifying law enforcement when the perpetrator is released from custody, the bill requires the jail to notify law enforcement as well as the victim, when a perpetrator of abuse, stalking or sexual assault, or a restrained party in a violation of an order of protection, escapes from custody, is released from custody or is transferred to another facility.   

The bill allows a domestic violence special commissioner to hear motions to show cause and adds that the recommendation of the commissioner must be reviewed and signed by a district judge on the same day of the hearing. Currently, there is no time limitation for when the district judge signs the recommendation.  

Lastly, more restrictions are imposed on the internet publication of orders of protection.  Currently, state agencies, law enforcement agencies, and courts cannot make publicly available on the internet any information that would likely reveal the identity or location of the victim in an order of protection. This bill expands this by forbidding any information to be publicly available on the internet regarding the petition, restraining order or an injunction pursuant to an interstate enforcement of domestic violence orders (whether or not it occurred in New Mexico). The address of a protected person must be redacted from the judiciary’s case management and e-filing system.

The bill also clarifies definitions and makes stylistic changes. 

Section 40-13-1.1 is repealed (legislative findings regarding domestic abuse incidents). 

SB 12 is effective July 1, 2024.