Everything You NEED to Know about DWI or DUI in New Mexico
This blog post incorporates the most recent New Mexico laws (2019) pertaining to Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol in New Mexico.
New Mexico has some of the strictest laws in the country when it comes to Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol. NMSA 1978, Section 66-8-102. Whether you feel intoxicated or not, it is illegal to drive in New Mexico when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Being arrested for DWI can result in heavy fines or even jail time. It is in your best interest to contact a New Mexico criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
What are the Penalties and Consequences for a Misdemeanor DWI/DUI in New Mexico?
The penalties for Driving Under the Influence in New Mexico vary greatly by the circumstances. Under New Mexico law, a first offense can carry up to 90 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. A sentence on a first offense can be deferred or suspended, (the mandatory minimum may NOT be deferred or suspended) which means it will not be imposed if you are compliant with the one-year probationary period. Mandatory penalties of a DWI/DUI first offense include: the installation and use of an ignition interlock device, DWI school, an alcohol screening and compliance with the recommendations, 24 hours community service, and treatment if recommended.
A second and third conviction for DWI/DUI carries up to 364 days of jail time, and a fine of up to $1,000. Like first offenses, sentences for second or third convictions can be suspended in part, meaning that the non-mandatory jail time or fine will not be imposed if you comply with probation. Probation for second and third offenses can range from 1 to 5 years. Unlike first convictions, second and third convictions (and aggravated first conditions, as explained in the next section) carry a mandatory jail sentence; second convictions carry a mandatory 96 hours, and third convictions carry a mandatory 30 days in jail. Both carry substantial and mandatory community service hours.
Second convictions require the following mandatory consequences: fines of up to $1,000, with a mandatory $500 fine, mandatory minimum 48 hours community service, treatment, installation of the ignition interlock device during the probationary period and palm print impressions DWI Third convictions require the following mandatory penalties: fines of up to $1,000, with a mandatory $750 fine, mandatory minimum of 96 hours of community service, treatment, installation of the ignition interlock device during the period of probation and palm printing. Once again, probation may range from 1 to 5 years for a second or third conviction.
How is an Aggravated DWI/DUI Different?
You might be looking at charges of Aggravated DWI if your BAC was .16 or higher, if you caused bodily harm to someone while Driving Under the Influence, or if you refused to have your blood alcohol tested. NMSA 1978, Section 66-8-102(D). If you are convicted of Aggravated DWI, you must serve a mandatory 48 hours in jail for your first offense. If you are convicted of Aggravated DWI as a second offense, you must serve a mandatory 8 days of jail time. If you are convicted of Aggravated DWI as your third offense, you must serve at least at least 90 days of jail time.
What are the Penalties and Consequences for a Felony DWI/DUI in New Mexico?
A fourth or subsequent DWI/DWI charge is considered a felony in the New Mexico. The charge depends on the number of prior valid convictions the prosecution is able to prove to the court. A felony DWI/DUI invokes significant mandatory incarceration time and felony probation requirements. A DWI FOURTH conviction is a fourth-degree felony, with a mandatory minimum six months imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 18 months imprisonment. NMSA 1978, Section 66-8-102G. A DWI FIFTH conviction is also a fourth-degree felony. However, it carries a mandatory one year of imprisonment with a maximum of two years imprisonment. NMSA 1978, Section 68-8-102H. A DWI SIXTH is a third-degree felony , with a mandatory eighteen months of imprisonment with a maximum of thirty months imprisonment. NMSA 1978, Section 68-8-102I. A DWI SEVENTH conviction is also a third-degree felony. However, it carries a mandatory minimum of two years with a maximum of three years imprisonment. NMSA 1978, Section 68-8-102J. A DWI EIGHTH or subsequent conviction is a second-degree felony, with a mandatory MINIMUM OF TEN YEARS incarceration and a maximum of twelve years. NMSA 1978, Section 66-8-102K. All felony DWI convictions require felony probation/parole monitoring and compliance with felony probationary requirements.
Will I lose my Driver’s License if I am Charged with a DWI/DUI?
If you refuse to take a breath test, or if your B.A.C. is above the legal limit, the arresting officer will confiscate your license upon arrest. The officer should also provide you with a Notice of Revocation. The Notice will be sent to the Motor Vehicle Division, which will automatically revoke your driver’s license 20 days after your arrest, whether or not you go to court, through the administrative “Implied Consent Act.” To prevent your license from being revoked, you MUST submit a REQUEST FOR ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING along with a money order for $25.00 within 10 days of your arrest to:
Driver Services Bureau
1100 South St. Francis Drive, Room 2092
P.O. Box 1028
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1028
The Request for Hearing form may be accessed at: http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov
If you do lose your license, the period of revocation will depend on your age and whether you have previously had your license revoked:
Over 21 years of age (at or above 0.08%)
- 1st Offense – 6 months for failing a chemical test
- 1st Offense – One year for refusing a chemical test
- 2nd or Subsequent Offense – One year for failing or refusing a chemical test
Under 21 years of age (at or above 0.02%)
- 1st and subsequent – One year for failing or refusing a chemical test
You can also lose your license if you are convicted of DWI. As with Implied Consent, the period of restriction depends on your DWI/DUI history.
- 1st Offense – One Year
- 2nd Offense – Two Years
- 3rd Offense – Three Years
- 4th or Subsequent Offense – Lifetime
What can an Experienced DWI/DUI Attorney do for me? We can help.
The effective defense of a DWI/DUI arrest is specialized, complex and detailed. I am certified by the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and to conduct DWI/DUI investigations. I will use that specialized knowledge and experience to provide you with the best defense possible.
We fight to WIN for our clients in Las Vegas, Mora, Santa Rosa, Raton, Springer, Espanola, Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque and everywhere in between. My team and I will obtain every piece of evidence, conduct a thorough defense investigation, prepare a defense of your case with you and fight for your driver’s license and challenge the prosecutor every step of the way. If you or a loved one finds yourself facing a DWI/DUI charge call us, we can help!