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Suspended License Information for New Mexico

While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's New Mexico driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).

REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

There are a variety of reasons why your New Mexico driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a New Mexico driver's license to be suspended or revoked.

  • Excessive Moving Violations. The state of New Mexico operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a year, your license will be suspended. If you have accumulated 7-10 points within a year, and the MVD receives notification from a municipal or magistrate judge that your license should be suspended, it will be for three months.
  • Driving Under the Influence. Your New Mexico driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. It is illegal to drive in New Mexico with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% if you're over 21 and 0.02% if you're under 21. Consuming and possessing liquor if you are under 21 is illegal in New Mexico. If you are caught under DUI or in possession of liquor (if you're below 21), your license will be suspended for a year. You can be arrested even if your BAC is below the legal limit if the officer concerned is convinced that you were not driving the vehicle properly due to alcohol or drugs. Penalties for DUI conviction are harsh. They involve serving time in jail for a year and a half, fines up to $5000, paying court fees, doing compulsory community service for up to 48 hours, license revocation for a year and paying the reinstatement fee of $100. Subsequent offenses carry a jail sentence of six months and a fine of $750. Both these penalties are compulsory. A fourth offense of DUI is considered a felony. You can also serve time in jail for up to 60 days if you refuse the chemical test, if your BAC is 0.16% or higher or if you injure a person while intoxicated. More information on DUI and its penalties can be found here.
  • Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
  • Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in New Mexico must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
  • Other Driving Related Violations. Your New Mexico driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include speeding, not wearing a seat belt, running to stop sign, failure to yield, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid, giving false information when you are applying for a license, not settling damages(financial) against a motor vehicle when you have been involved in a accident with the said vehicle, altering your license, using your license illegally, using someone else's license to buy liquor , not appearing for a re- examination when asked to do so by the MVD, allowing someone else to lose your license, using a motor vehicle to commit a crime, vehicular homicide or manslaughter.
  • Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Division can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
  • Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Motor Vehicle Division notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR NEW MEXICO DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED

Having your New Mexico driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.

The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:

  1. If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division. You can surrender your license in person at a MVD Field Office, or mail it to:
    Motor Vehicle Division
    

    Joseph Montoya Building

    P.O. Box 1028

    1100 South St. Francis Drive

    Santa Fe 87504-1028

  2. While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
  3. After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the New Mexico MVD.
  4. You can also apply for a hardship license if you need to drive to work, school or to receive medical treatment. The fee is $45. If you have been convicted of vehicular homicide, you will not be eligible for this license.

APPEALING A SUSPENSION

If you receive a suspension notice from the MVD, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or an MVD Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program may remove points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.

It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.

RESTORING YOUR LICENSE

You will receive a notice from the MVD after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:

  1. Pay a restoration fee. The fee can be paid in person at a MVD Field Office . You can also mail a check or money order payable to the MVD at:
    Motor Vehicle Division
    

    Joseph Montoya Building

    P.O. Box 1028

    1100 South St. Francis Drive

    Santa Fe 87504-1028

  2. Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.

Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your New Mexico driver's license.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

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