Traffic tickets in New Mexico are issued by police officers to drivers who commit a traffic violation within the state. Motorists can incur two different types of traffic citations, which vary based on whether or not a court appearance is required to settle the issue. Paying driving fines in NM without appearing in court is an option that is available to drivers who were issued a penalty assessment ticket. In such cases, drivers may be able to provide their traffic tickets payments via various methods. Motorists can also utilize the option to fight traffic tickets if they believe they are not guilty of the offense. Learn how to settle a traffic ticket in NM by reading the following sections:
- Fighting a New Mexico ticket.
- Paying a New Mexico ticket.
- Lost tickets in New Mexico.
- New Mexico fines and penalties.
- Points in New Mexico.
- How tickets affect a New Mexico driver's license.
- New Mexico car insurance fines and violations.
Fighting a New Mexico Ticket
When drivers receive a traffic ticket, they can either choose to pay the NM traffic fine or prepare a traffic ticket defense to contest their citation in court. The process of fighting traffic tickets in New Mexico can be initiated by submitting a plea of "not guilty" to the court handling your case on the date displayed on the traffic citation. After the court sets your trial date, you can start preparing your case.
Motorists who are contesting a traffic ticket in New Mexico can expect one of two outcomes: a verdict of guilty or a "not guilty". If the judge declares you guilty, you may be facing several types of penalties. In addition to paying driving fines, guilty drivers may also be subject to license suspensions or revocations and community service and jail sentences. The conviction will also be reported on your driving record. A verdict of "not guilty", on the other hand, means that you will not accrue demerit points on your record, you will not be required to pay the NM traffic violation fine and your car insurance rates will remain unaffected.
Paying a New Mexico Ticket
The methods available to pay driving tickets in New Mexico generally vary based on the type of traffic ticket you have received and the practices of the court that is handling the issue. The option of paying traffic tickets online in NM, for instance, is generally available to drivers who were issued a penalty assessment citation, which must generally be paid to the state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). While traffic tickets issued for certain minor offenses are paid to the MVD, more serious offenses incur traffic fines payable in person or by mail to a specific state court. Certain state courts even allow drivers to pay the fine by phone with a valid credit card. Learn how to pay traffic citations in NM by visiting the "How to Pay Traffic Tickets" page.
Lost Tickets in New Mexico
To successfully pay speeding tickets in New Mexico or other types of citations, drivers must have the information displayed on the citation at their disposal. Therefore, in the event of a lost NM traffic ticket, you may be unable to provide your payment or even initiate the process to dispute it in court. The fastest way to find your traffic citation information is to utilize the official Case Lookup application available through the New Mexico Courts website. After entering your personal information, such as driver's license number, name and date of birth, the system will provide you with the results. If you were not successful in retrieving your traffic violation ticket data via the internet, you can still contact your traffic court and complete the procedure via more conventional methods.
Note: You must contact the court in the county where the offense was committed, instead of the one in your residential area.
New Mexico Fines and Penalties
Drivers who decide to settle their New Mexico traffic ticket issues by paying the applicable fine can successfully complete the procedure by providing the full fine amount by the date displayed on the citation. NM traffic fines vary based on factors such as the type of traffic citation that was issued, the nature of the offense and the court that is handling the issue.
For instance, the following list provides examples of NM traffic violations penalized with penalty assessment tickets and their resulting fines:
- Failure to obey traffic signals and signs: $71 to $85
- Releasing control of your vehicle to an unauthorized individual: $85 to $100
- Passing a school bus: $161 to $175
- Speeding in a construction or a safety zone from 21 to 245 mph over the posted limit: $261 to $275
In addition to the ticket violation payment, drivers may also be required to pay certain court-set fees, costs and surcharges, depending on their circumstances. More serious offenses may also incur additional penalties, such as specific jail sentences and license suspensions.
Points in New Mexico
Convictions of traffic violations in New Mexico also generally lead to the accumulation of demerit points on the driver's record of the motorist who has committed the offense. The point values of specific NM traffic tickets vary based on the nature of the infraction. The following list outlines several examples of offenses and their corresponding point penalties in New Mexico:
- Operating a vehicle with defective brakes: 2 points.
- Careless driving: 3 points.
- Failure to yield to an incoming emergency vehicle: 4 points.
- Speeding 16 to 25 mph over the posted limit: 5 points.
- Illegal racing on a highway: 6 points.
Note: Drivers who utilize the option to take traffic ticket to court in NM may also be able to avoid a conviction on their record by completing an approved traffic school program. If you are eligible for this option, you will not incur any penalty points on your record.
How Tickets Affect a New Mexico Drivers License
Motorists who receive multiple traffic citations in New Mexico within a specific time period may lose their driving privileges as well. Per the regulations of the state point system, traffic violations that result in seven to 10 points within a 12-month period may lead to a driving license suspension of up to three months. In such cases, the MVD will only suspend your credential upon recommendation from a municipal or a magistrate court. If you fail to dismiss traffic tickets in NM which result in 12 or more points within a one-year period, on the other hand, the division will automatically suspend your license for the duration of 12 months.
New Mexico Car Insurance Fines and Violations
Drivers can also incur traffic tickets in New Mexico if they fail to present proof of a valid vehicle insurance policy upon request from a law enforcement official. To avoid paying or contesting a traffic ticket for an insurance-related offense, motorists must maintain the minimum amount of coverage as specified by state law. Insured drivers who were unable to present the required proof can easily dismiss traffic tickets in NM by submitting the necessary evidence at a later date.
Note: New Mexico automobile insurance providers generally adjust your insurance premiums based on the amount of traffic citations you have incurred within a specific time period.