New Mexico DWI Laws

by lawdawg on December 18, 2012

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This article is brought to you by the Albuquerque DWI lawyers at the New Mexico Legal Group. If you have been charged with a DWI in New Mexico you need an experienced DWI defense lawyer to protect your future.

Under New Mexico DWI laws, a driver is considered unable to effectively operate a motor vehicle if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. Drivers who are under 21 may not have a BAC of more than .02, and commercial drivers may not operate a vehicle over .04. The first three DWI offenses are misdemeanors in New Mexico, and subsequent offenses are felonies.

Penalties for a first DWI conviction are a fine of $500, 6 months to one year of license revocation, up to 90 days of jail time, mandatory DWI education and community service. An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a device that is required to be attached to the offender’s vehicle for one year. This device is a breathalyzer that controls the turning of the ignition, and will only allow a driver to operate a vehicle if the IID does not detect alcohol.

Second DWI offenses call for a 2-year license revocation, up to 364 days in jail with 96 mandatory hours, a fine of $500 – $1,000, community service, IID for two years and up to 5 years of probation. An alcohol evaluation and treatment program will also be required within a time frame specified by the court. Penalties for a third offense are 30 – 364 days in jail, a fine of $750 – $1,000, alcohol evaluation and treatment, a license suspension of 3 years, IID for 3 years, alcohol evaluation, community service and probation of up to 5 years.

Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and subsequent DWI offenses are felonies and come with much harsher penalties. Aggravated DWI is a charge in which there is a BAC of .16 or above, the refusal to take a BAC test, or if the driver caused bodily injury while driving while under the influence. Refusal to take the test results in a one-year license revocation for the first, second and third offense.

Under the umbrella of New Mexico’s DWI laws, there is an implied consent law that requires any person who is suspected of driving while intoxicated to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. Police may legally request your chemical test submission within three hours of driving. Refusal to submit to such a test will result in the charge of aggravated DWI, and license suspension of one year.

Most states have what is commonly called a “look-back” period, which is the time frame that a DWI remains on your record and can be viewed as a “prior offense.” In New Mexico, however, prior offenses stay on your record forever. If you get a DWI today, twenty years from now it could come back to haunt you. Although most of the state’s DWI penalties are very similar to other states and are not especially extreme, the omission of a look-back period provides a hefty incentive not to drink and drive.

New Mexico is also a state that has barred the plea bargain of “wet reckless,” which is a lesser penalty in some states of reckless driving involving alcohol. If you have been arrested for a DWI in New Mexico and want to know your rights and options of how to fight the charge, contact a DWI attorney who can help you with your case.




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