WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ William Kennedy Smith, scheduled to be tried here on Aug. 5 on charges he raped a woman at the Kennedy estate, plans to begin his medical residency in New Mexico on June 25.

Smith, 30, nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was graduated from Georgetown University Medical School last month and has chosen the University of New Mexico Medical Center in Albuquerque for his residency. Every new doctor must pass the yearlong immersion in the practice of medicine.

Once the hospital receives his final paperwork, it will obtain a state doctor's license for Smith, hospital spokeswoman Gail Sutton said.

Smith pleaded innocent Friday to one count each of second-degree sexual battery and misdemeanor battery and remains free on $10,000 bond.

''At this point there is nothing to prohibit him beginning a residency if he has only been charged,'' Sutton said.

However, a felony conviction and a sentence would force the state to revoke Smith's license, said Dorothy Welby, spokeswoman for the New Mexico State Board of Medical Examiners.

A 29-year-old Jupiter, Fla. woman claims Smith assaulted her on the Kennedy family estate in Palm Beach on March 30.