Brief Review of DWI Law and Penalties in New Mexico

Penalties for a DWI arrest in New Mexico can vary for drivers depending on whether it is their first DWI arrest, the amount alcohol in their blood (BAC), the county where they are arrested and if their DWI caused another person bodily injury or death. New Mexico has some of the toughest DWI laws in the country, and even if this is the driver’s first DWI offense, it is a good idea to call a New Mexico DWI lawyer. A DWI attorney can review the DWI case and answer all of the DWI questions.

DWI in the state of New Mexico includes:

  1. Operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs at a level which makes the driver incapable of safely operating the car.
  2. The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. If the driver is a commercial truck driver it is illegal to operate a truck with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
  3. The driver is under the age of 21, and their BAC is 0.02% or higher

Aggravated DWI can occur if a New Mexico driver has a BAC of 0.16% or higher, the driver causes personal injury to another person while they are intoxicated or they refuse to take a chemical test.

Penalties for DWI in New Mexico

First offense

(Misdemeanor)

  • Could be required to spend up to 90 days in jail
  • Mandatory attendance of an alcohol education class and an alcohol evaluation class
  • License revocation for 6 months to 1 year. If the driver is under the age of 21 their license will be suspended for 1 year.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device for one year
  • Community Service

Second Offense

(Misdemeanor)

  • Required 2 year license revocation
  • 96 hours mandatory jail sentence and up to 364 days in jail
  • Required to pay a fine of $500 and up to a maximum of $1,000
  • Alcohol evaluation and class
  • Required community service
  • Required installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Third Offense

(Misdemeanor)

  • Mandatory 3 year license revocation
  • Up to 5 years probation
  • Minimum $750 fines and penalties with a maximum of $1,000
  • Required community service
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device for 3 years

Fourth Offense

(Felony in the 4th Degree)

  • Permanent license revocation with a 5 year court review
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment and evaluation class
  • Lifetime Ignition Interlock Device with a 5 year court review
  • Maximum $5,000 fine
  • Maximum 18 months in prison with 6 months mandatory jail time

Refusing to take a breath or blood test

New Mexico drivers who refuse to submit to a blood test will automatically lose their driver’s license for 20 days after their DWI arrest. This revocation can be challenged by filing a written request for a DWI hearing with in ten days from the date of the DWI arrest. The arresting officer will generally give the driver notice of revocation at the time they are arrested. If not, the Department of Motor Vehicles will send the notice via registered mail.

Failure to make a written request for a DWI administrative hearing will lead to the revocation of the driver’s New Mexico driver’s license. A request for a hearing must be received by the motor vehicle department with in 10 days from the date of the DWI arrest. A DWI attorney can help complete this form and review all of the DWI arrest information.

Common Questions about DWI arrests in New Mexico

  • Do I need to hire a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer?

New Mexico drivers do not have to hire a New Mexico DWI lawyer, but New Mexico’s DWI laws are some of the toughest in the country. Failure to file the proper DWI forms can lead to a license suspension. DWI offenses are not like other traffic violations. Serious consequences for a DWI arrest can include: jail time, fines and penalties, alcohol treatment classes and license suspensions.

  • What happens if my first DWI was an aggravated DWI?

Drivers who are arrested with a blood alcohol level of 0.16% or higher, who have caused injury to another driver or who have refused to submit to a BAC test can be charged with an aggravated DWI. The type of penalties assessed against the driver will depend on many different factors, but at the minimum, the driver will be required to spend at least 48 hours in jail. A criminal defense lawyer can review your case and tell you the specific penalties you may face.