New Mexico prohibits motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Drivers who are found guilty of this crime can face punishments ranging from jail time to paying steep civil fines.
Avoiding a DUI in New Mexico calls for drivers in the state to understand the limits put on allowable blood alcohol contents or BACs. They also need to be aware of what legal penalties that they can recive if they are found guilty of this offense.
DUI in New Mexico
New Mexico defines the act of driving under the influence as Driving While Intoxicated or DWI. This crime involves driving any kind of motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. It is also defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug that renders a person totally incapable of safely driving a vehicle.
The standard or per se BAC limit in New Mexico is 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers age 21 and older who have a BAC at or above this limit can be arrested for DWI.
The state uses a different BAC level for commercial drivers. The BAC limit for holders of CDLs in New Mexico is 0.04 percent or higher.
New Mexico also uses a lower BAC for drivers under the age of 21. Underage drivers cannot drive with a BAC of 0.02 or higher. They can be arrested for DWI if they are at or higher than this limit.
Drivers whose BACs are at or above 0.16 percent can be charged with aggravated DWI. This charge comes with harsher penalties like bigger fines and more time in jail.
DWI Penalties in New Mexico
Drivers who are found guilty of DWI in New Mexico can receive punishments that range from jail time to monetary fines. The severity of the penalties reflect the driver’s prior DWI history and his or her BAC limit.
A first DWI offense in New Mexico is charged as a misdemeanor and results in penalties like:
- Up to 90 days in jail
- A fine of up to $500
- Up to one year of probation
- 24 hours of community service
Additional penalties for a first-time DWI conviction include mandatory DUI school, completing a substance abuse evaluation and using an ignition interlock device or IID for up to a year on every vehicle that the person owns.
A second DWI is also a misdemeanor and results in punishments like:
- Up to 364 days in jail
- A fine of up to $1000
- Up to six years of probation
- 48 hours of community service
The penalties also include using an IID for up to two years, completing a substance abuse evaluation, and taking part in a 28-day inpatient treatment or a 90-day outpatient drug treatment program.
A third DWI conviction in New Mexico is a charged as a misdemeanor and leads to consequences like:
- Up to $1000 in fines
- Up to 364 days in jail
- Up to five years of probation
- 96 hours of community service
The offender likewise has to use an IID for up to three years, completing an alcohol evaluation, and finish either a 28-day inpatient treatment or 90-day outpatient treatment program.
Fourth and subsequent DWI in New Mexico are charged as felonies and receive more severe penalties. Jail sentences can top out at two years while fines can max out at $5000. Offenders likewise need to finish inpatient alcohol abuse programs, complete community service and use IIDs for up to three years.
Drivers’ license Sanctions in New Mexico
Drivers in New Mexico who are found guilty of DWI can also have their drivers’ licenses suspended as part of their legal punishments. The length of time for which their licenses are suspended correlate with the number of DWI convictions that they have on their record.
A first DWI results in a one-year license suspension while a second DWI garners a two-year license suspension. A third DWI leads to a person’s license being suspended for three years.
Additionally, drivers will have to use an IID on all of their vehicles during the suspension period. The length of time that they must use an IID likewise correlates to the number of DWI convictions on their driving record.