Everyone knows that nonconsensual sexual activities, such as rape and sexual assault, are illegal. However, you might not know that some sexual activities that are consensual are actually not recognized as such by law.
Laws concerning sexuality have changed over time. As they have done so, what was once criminal behavior in the realm of sexuality has, at times, been decriminalized.
Continue reading for an overview of laws related to sexual activity in New Mexico.
Laws Related to Sexual Activity in New Mexico
Generally speaking, laws related to sexuality will reflect the prevailing social norms of the time when they were created. As a result, they are subject to change or be overridden. While some states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, New Mexico repealed their sodomy statute in 1975.
In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court heard Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, a man challenged his conviction in Texas for having sex with another man in the privacy of his own home, which violated a state anti-sodomy law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional and unenforceable. In the wake of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, all anti-sodomy laws, as they apply to consenting adults, became unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in New Mexico
New Mexico's prohibited consensual sexual activity statutes are highlighted below.
Sodomy Laws Applicable to
Penalty for Sodomy
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offender
Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts
Under New Mexico Statutes 30-9-14, indecent exposure is a criminal offense. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
Under New Mexico Statutes 30-9-14.1, indecent dancing is a criminal offense characterized by dancing of a sexual nature in public. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
Under New Mexico Statutes 30-9-14.2, indecent waitering is a criminal offense characterized by performing the services of a waiter or waitress in various states of undress or nudity. It is treated as a misdemeanor.
Age of Consent
|The age of consent is 17 years of age in New Mexico under most circumstances. However, under the following circumstances covered by New Mexico Statutes 30-9-11, sexual activity is treated as a fourth-degree felony:
- When a child is between 13 to 16 years of age,
- When the offender is at least 18 years of age and is at least four years older than the child, and
- When the offender is not that child's spouse.
|Under New Mexico Statutes § 30-9-4, it is a crime to promote prostitution, punishable as a fourth-degree felony.
|Under New Mexico Statutes § 30-9-2, it is a crime to engage in sexual activities in exchange for compensation. The first offense is treated as a petty misdemeanor. The second offense is treated as a misdemeanor.
|Under New Mexico Statutes § 30-9-3, patronizing prostitutes is a criminal offense. Patronizing a prostitute refers to paying a prostitute for engaging in sexual activities. The first offense is treated as a petty misdemeanor. The second offense is treated as a misdemeanor.
More Resources for Laws Related to Sexual Activity in New Mexico
Laws related to sexuality can vary from state to state, and the line between legal fun and illegal activity can seem fuzzy at times. For additional articles and information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes. If you would like legal assistance with a sex crime matter, you can consult with a New Mexico criminal defense attorney in your area.