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DUI/DWI Information for New Mexico

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In New Mexico, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN NEW MEXICO

In New Mexico, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.02% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%.

Having a New Mexico license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in imprisonment for 60 days and the arresting officer will take your license or your license will be revoked for one year.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first offense may result in imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or up to a $500 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWI or for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID):
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be revoked for six months.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License, after the 30 days of suspension and after you have registered for a drug or alcohol assessment program and at a DWI school approved by the authorities or other court ordered rehabilitation program and pay $45 along with insurance proof.
    • You will have to undertake community service for minimum 24 hours and pay a $300 fine.
  2. The second offense may result in imprisonment for up to 364 days and/or up to a $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • You will have to undertake community service for minimum 48 hours and pay a $500 fine.
    • You will have to undergo an in-custody or residential, inpatient court approved treatment program for substance abuse for 28 days, a minimum 90-day court approved treatment drug or substance abuse program.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License, after five years have passed after your prior conviction and if you meet the conditions.
  3. The third offense may result in imprisonment for minimum 30 successive days and/or up to a $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  4. Points will be added to your driving record.
  5. Your license will be revoked for a year.
  6. You will have to undertake community service for minimum 96 hours and pay a $750 fine.
  7. You will have to undergo an in-custody or residential, inpatient court approved treatment program for substance abuse for 28 days, a minimum 90-day court approved treatment drug or substance abuse program.
  8. You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License, after five years have passed after your prior conviction and if you meet the conditions.
  9. The fourth offense is treated as a fourth degree Felony and may result in imprisonment for up to 18 months and/or a fine. Also, if convicted for the fourth offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  10. Points will be added to your driving record.
  11. Your license will be revoked.
  12. You will have to undergo an in-custody counseling and treatment program by the corrections department. If on parole or probation you will have to still undergo the same.
  13. The fifth offense is treated as a fourth degree Felony and may result in imprisonment for two years and/or a fine. Also, if convicted for the fifth or subsequent offenses of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  14. Points will be added to your driving record.
  15. Your license will be revoked.
  16. The sixth offense is treated as a third degree Felony and may result in imprisonment for thirty months.
  17. The seventh or subsequent offense is treated as a third degree Felony and may result in imprisonment for three years.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. Points will be added to your driving record and your license suspended or revoked, if you are convicted for "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" (trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having a BAC higher than 0.02%) while driving.
  2. The license may be revoked for one year after the first conviction, and suspended or revoked after the second conviction or subsequent conviction.
  3. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):
  1. Points will be added to your driving record and you will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least a year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. You will also be issued an "out-of-service" order valid for a fixed duration by the arresting officer.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

New Mexico laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:
  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.
If you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your New Mexico driver license, complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). The driver can schedule an administrative hearing within 10 days of the notice of suspension/revocation. You will have to submit a sworn indigence statement or pay a hearing fee of $25. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be revoked based on his previous five-year driving record for up to a year for a second and subsequent conviction. For a first conviction of BAC of 0.08% or more your license will be revoked for 90 days. You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License, after the 30 days of suspension after you have registered for a drug or alcohol assessment program and at a DWI school approved by the authorities and pay $45 along with insurance proof. The suspension or revocation begins 20 days after the final order of the hearing officer is mailed from the MVD. If the administrative hearing goes against the driver, he can ask for a review from the court. If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins after the arrest, and is final.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the MVD, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.
  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the a drug or alcohol assessment program or Bureau approved DWI school or a comparable program (the agency will send the proof to the MVD once you have completed the program or you will have to provide it), pay the reinstatement fee of $100, and maintain proof of financial responsibility for the appropriate period from the date of suspension/revocation by filing SR-22.
  2. If you are being convicted, it is mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyzer tests on any vehicle you drive for one year if you are convicted for the first time, for two years if you are convicted for the second time, for three years for if you are convicted for the third time and for your lifetime if you are convicted for the fourth and subsequent time.
  3. You can submit the reinstatement application and fees in person at a MVD office near you.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • You may get a DWI conviction despite having results of your breath test within the limit allowed by the law if it is proved that your driving ability was impaired - albeit minimally due to the effects of drugs or alcohol.
  • Aggravated DUI may result in a minimum imprisonment for 48 successive hours for the first conviction, for 96 successive hours for the second conviction and 60 successive days for the third conviction.
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