The accumulation of demerit points in New Mexico occurs when a conviction of a traffic violation is reported to the state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). The MVD assigns a different amount of penalty points for different types of violations.

Per the rules of the NM point system, drivers who accrue a certain amount of driving points within a specific time period will be penalized with a license suspension. Learn more about the state driver point system and how to fight a traffic ticket in New Mexico by reading the following sections:

  • Moving violations and points in New Mexico
  • Penalties in New Mexico
  • How to fix a driving record in New Mexico
  • Disputing a moving violation charge in New Mexico

Moving Violations and Points in New Mexico

The amount of New Mexico infraction points that you will accumulate on your driver’s record after a traffic violation varies based on the severity of the committed offense. Note that drivers do not accrue moving violation points for all types of offenses.

For instance, instead of assigning DWI points for driving while intoxicated violations, the MVD has the authority to revoke the driver’s license for a specific time period. Review the NM demerit point penalties of several offenses in the following list:

  • Operating a vehicle with defective brakes: 2 points.
  • Driving in a careless manner: 3 careless driving points.
  • Failure to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle: 4 points.
  • Speeding 16 to 25 mph over the posted limit: 5 speeding ticket points.
  • Operating a vehicle in a reckless manner: 6 reckless driving points.

Note: The MVD assigns a different number of demerit points for speeding-related offenses depending on how many miles per hour over the limit the driver was traveling.

If you accumulate 12 or more moving violation points in NM within a 12-month period, the department will automatically suspend your driving privileges for a full year. However, drivers with 7 to 10 driving record points may also incur a license suspension within the state. The MVD will penalize this group of motorists only if ordered to do so by a municipal or magistrate court within the state.

Penalties in New Mexico

The New Mexico traffic violation penalties issued to drivers who violate the motor vehicle laws generally vary based on the seriousness of the offense. In addition to the administrative traffic ticket penalty issued by the MVD, drivers who commit certain more serious violations are also subject to several criminal penalties.

The DUI penalties administered as a result of driving under the influence offenses, for instance, may include any combination of the following:

  • A one-year license revocation administered by the MVD.
  • A court-imposed NM traffic ticket penalty affecting your driving privileges.
  • Steep fines and court costs.
  • A jail sentence and/or a community service sentence.
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program and the state ignition interlock program.

The DWI penalties issued to drivers who already have a similar conviction on their driving records are much harsher than those issues to first-time offenders. The severity of the NM drunk driving penalties also depend on the blood alcohol content (BAC) level that was measured at the time of apprehension.

How to Fix a Driving Record in New Mexico

The option to reduce license points in New Mexico by completing an approved defensive driving course is not currently available to drivers within the state. The MVD generally removes points from your record after a certain time period. However, even if you are unable to enroll in a driving safety course in NM in order to clean your driving record, you can still do so to receive other benefits, such as reduced car insurance rates and improved safe driving skills.

Instead of removing NM infraction points from your record, you may be able to avoid the accumulation of points entirely. Certain state courts offer drivers the option to complete a driver improvement course for purposes of ticket dismissal. When the motorist satisfies the conditions set forth by the court, his or her ticket will be effectively dismissed.

Disputing a Moving Violation Charge in New Mexico

To initiate the process of fighting a speeding ticket in New Mexico or another type of citation, drivers must plead “not guilty” to the court that is processing their citation. Note that, to successfully submit a plea to contest traffic tickets, motorists must visit the presiding court by or on the date displayed on their citations.

If you fail to appear for your arraignment, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. You can start preparing for the process of appealing a traffic ticket in NM after the court records your decision and schedules your trial date. At this point, drivers are also encouraged to hire a traffic ticket lawyer in order to increase their chances of winning the case.

To successfully avoid the traffic violation penalties that may be issued as a result of the offense, motorists must present a thorough defense. If the judge finds you “not guilty” to the violation, you will not be required to pay the fine and your driving transcript will remain unaffected.

Last updated on Thursday, March 14 2019.

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