New Mexico DWI Laws
If you or a loved one were arrested for drunk driving, it’s important that you fully understand New Mexico DWI laws. Below, experienced criminal defense lawyer Ray Twohig outlines the criminal charges and penalties you might face during a drunk driving case.
Blood Alcohol Content Levels and New Mexico DWI Laws
Depending on your age and your type of driver’s license, New Mexico DWI laws impose different blood alcohol content (BAC) thresholds. They include the following:
- Under 21 years old: 0.02% BAC
- 21 years old or more: 0.08% BAC
- Commercial driver’s license: 0.04% BAC
If you’re arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and your test results meet or exceed these thresholds, you will face criminal charges.
If law enforcement arrests and charges you with a drunk driving offense, you must take the charges seriously. State law imposes serious penalties for DWI.
What Are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in New Mexico?
New Mexico imposes harsh penalties on drunk drivers. While you might only face a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for your first offense, the penalties can increase dramatically if you are a repeat offender or if you seriously injured someone. Currently, a New Mexico DWI conviction might entail:
- First offense: up to 90 days in jail, $500 in fines, a suspended license for up to one year, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
- Second offense: A minimum of 96 hours and up to 364 days in jail, $500 to $1,000 in fines, a suspended license for two years, and an ignition interlock device.
- Third offense: A minimum of 30 days and up to 364 days in jail, $750 to $1,000 in fines, a suspended license for three years, and an ignition interlock device.
- Fourth offense: A minimum of six months and up to 18 months in jail, $5,000 in fines, a suspended license for at least five years, and an ignition interlock device.
- Fifth offense: A minimum of one year and up to two years in jail, $5,000 in fines, a suspended license for at least five years, and an ignition interlock device.
- Sixth offense: A minimum of 18 months and up to 30 months in jail, $5,000 in fines, a suspended license for at least five years, and an ignition interlock device.
- Seventh offense: A minimum of two years and up to three years in jail, $5,000 in fines, a suspended license for at least five years, and an ignition interlock device.
Up to six years in jail, a license suspension of up to one year.
Refusing to take a Blood Alcohol Test
Driver’s licenses suspension for one year.
If you are convicted of an aggravated DWI, your sentence will be even higher. New Mexico DWI laws state that a DWI is aggravated if you have a BAC of 0.16 or more or caused an injury accident.
Importantly, New Mexico DWI laws prohibit you from pleading down to a lower offense as part of a plea bargain. For this reason, it’s important to have an experienced DWI lawyer at your side throughout your criminal case.
Finally, if your drunk driving resulted in a serious injury accident, you will likely face civil lawsuits as well. The accident victim might have the right to compensation for his or her:
- lost income,
- medical bills,
- pain and suffering, and
- other damages.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested Under New Mexico DWI Laws?
Don’t panic or become combative — this will only make matters worse. Instead, do your best to remain calm and polite. You typically do not have to participate in field sobriety tests. However, once they arrest you, law enforcement will insist on taking your blood-alcohol levels. If you refuse this BAC test, you will face additional criminal charges.
It’s important that you remain silent after your arrest. While you typically need to provide the officer with your driver’s license and name, you do not have to answer any other questions. Instead, you should remain silent until your Albuquerque DWI lawyer is present. Frequently, police officers try to get suspects to make incriminating statements that will damage their case later on. If you wait until your lawyer is present, he or she will help you preserve your defenses and protect your legal rights.
Discuss New Mexico DWI Laws With an Albuquerque Criminal Defense Lawyer
At Twohig Law Firm, we understand how intimidating the New Mexico DWI laws seem. We’re here to answer your questions and guide you through the criminal justice system. We know that good people make mistakes. We also know that a police officer’s errors can sometimes lead to dismissed or reduced charges. Before you discuss your case with a prosecutor or law enforcement officer, call Twohig Law Firm for a free consultation.
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