Tribal Criminal Cases

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Bond/Bond Refunds

Officers use a bond schedule to determine the bond. Bond is set as “cash only” and can be posted at the detention facility. Bond is held until the end of the case to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. If a defendant cannot post bond he or she is transported for an initial appearance/arraignment within forty-eight (48) hours.

A bond posted at the detention facility is forwarded to Isleta Tribal Court and may be refunded to the posting-party at the end of the case (not to the defendant). Before a bond refund check can be processed the posting-party must complete a W-9 form   Form and submit it to the Court.

It takes approximately two to three weeks for the Tribal Treasurer’s Office to process bond refund checks. Bond refund checks are picked up at the Court.



The arraignment is the first hearing in a criminal case when the judge advises the defendant of his or her rights, criminal charges and possible penalties and the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, guilty or no contest. When a defendant pleads “not guilty” the judge reviews the bond to determine whether it should be increased, decreased or remain the same. The bond is based on the defendant’s criminal history and seriousness of the charge(s). Police Officers are not required to attend the arraignment.

Conditions of Release

At the arraignment the Court sets “Conditions of Release” which the defendant must abide by while the case is pending. The typical conditions of release include: not having contact with the victim and/or witnesses; not returning to the location of the incident; not purchasing, possessing, or consuming illegal drugs or alcohol; not possessing weapons of any kind; and not leaving the State of New Mexico. The defendant must also obey all tribal, local, state, and federal laws, appear in Court as ordered and maintain current contact information with the Court. If it is determined that a defendant has violated Conditions of Release the judge can issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest, increase the bond and/or impose a sanction of jail time.

Requesting a Continuance (Criminal Cases)

A defendant requesting a continuance in a criminal case must file a Motion to Continue at least seven (7) days before the hearing or in the event of an emergency the party must contact the Court as soon as possible.  In criminal cases the defendant must also add time to “the Rule,” which is the Tribe’s time-limit for prosecuting the case.  According to the Isleta Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4.3 the Prosecutor has (180) days from the date of arraignment to prosecute the case. The time varies depending on whether or not the defendant was arrested and/or incarcerated.

Bench Warrants

When a judge issues a bench warrant it is forwarded to Isleta Police Department (IPD) for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) which notifies law enforcement agencies across the country that the defendant has a bench warrant from Isleta Tribal Court. Judges will sometimes allow a defendant to be seen as a “walk-in” to address a bench warrant but it depends on whether the judge is available or if there have been previous bench warrants issued.

Traffic Arraignment

Persons who receive a traffic citation and choose to address the charges in court must attend a traffic arraignment. The “Court Appearance” box is marked on the citation and the date and time of the arraignment is indicated at the bottom of the citation. Once this box is marked the person must appear for the traffic arraignment. Failure to appear for a traffic arraignment will result in a bench warrant. At the arraignment the defendant is advised of his or her rights, the charges and possible penalties and the judge reviews the citations to determine whether probable cause exists for each charge. The judge does not negotiate or make agreements with defendants. The Officer will not be present at the arraignment and their presence is not required.

Paying a Traffic Citation

If the “Penalty Assessment” box is marked on the citation the penalty must be paid either by mail or in person within thirty (30) days of receiving the citation. 

Payment can be made by either of the following:

Acceptance of Payments for Court Fines & Court Costs:

  • Online payments at Cite Pay USA at
  • Money Order or Cashiers Check in person or by email to P.O. Box 729, Isleta,  NM  87022, made payable to Isleta Tribal Court


Do not mail court appearance or traffic arraignment citations to the Santa Fe Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). If the Court does not receive payment within (30) days, a bench warrant is issued. Those who cannot pay the fine/fee can request to make payments or perform community service hours in lieu of payment. This request must be made using the Request to Convert Fines form.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges

In 1987 the Pueblo of Isleta adopted the New Mexico Motor Vehicle laws found in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) Chapter 66. Therefore the Isleta Tribal Court adheres to the New Mexico DWI law at NMSA § 66-8-102 which outlines requirements for defendants who either plead guilty or are found guilty of a DWI charge.

Domestic Violence Charges

Defendants charged with domestic violence are usually required to get an assessment to determine their counseling needs and must complete either anger management or domestic violence counseling. The Court also imposes Conditions of Release at the arraignment which prohibits the defendant from the following: purchasing, possessing or consuming illegal drugs and alcohol; having any contact with the victim; returning to the location of the incident; and possessing any weapons or firearms.


Defendants ordered to report to the Probation Officer may be required to report daily, weekly or monthly as ordered by the Judge. The Probation Officer monitors defendants on supervised probation, pre-trial services and pre-sentence probation and conducts random drug and alcohol testing.

Probation also informs the Court whether defendants are complying with Conditions of Release, counseling, the Sober link,  GPS or TAD units. The Probation Officer also monitors sex offenders required to register with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and maintains communication with State and Federal Probation Officers.

Monitoring by Device

The Court typically orders defendants to be placed on the Sober link, Global Positioning System (GPS) or Transdermal Alcohol Detection (TAD)

Sober link Alcohol Monitoring
The Court utilizes Sober Link Devices which monitor alcohol use and serve as a deterrent.

GPS devices are utilized to monitor Probationers who have no Contact Orders or Restraining Orders from accessing restricted areas.

An Ankle monitor that provides 24-hour alcohol monitoring.  These are used for the severe cases that require intensive alcohol monitoring.

POI Tribal Court BOND SCHEDULE, revised 6/2017