In New Mexico, as in any other state, a DUI charge is a serious offense. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you could face penalties ranging from a fine all the way up to long prison sentences or the complete revocation of your driving privileges. In most cases, you’ll have to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) even after your first offense. Understanding New Mexico DUI laws is critical and an important step in moving forward. However, the legal system can be complicated, and determining which laws apply to your situation can be difficult.
Here are the basic New Mexico DUI laws that every driver in the state should know.
Is it Legal to Drive? BAC Levels and Legality
In the state of New Mexico, as is the case in almost every U.S. state, it’s always illegal to drive if your BAC level is 0.08% or higher. This law applies to every driver in every situation. Depending on your age, other BAC levels and situations may also be illegal. Here are a few additional circumstances you should be aware of.
- Under 21 – If you’re under the age of 21, a BAC of 0.01% is illegal. If you’re pulled over and you test at this level or higher, it’s automatically considered to be illegal because you’re not old enough to be drinking in the first place.
- Under 18 – Any measurable sign of alcohol while driving a vehicle is illegal in the state of New Mexico. If charges are filed, most court proceedings will occur in juvenile court.
- Commercial Vehicle – If you’re driving a vehicle that requires a commercial license and you’re given a sobriety test, any level above 0.04% is considered illegal due to the nature of commercial driving.
- Repeat Offender – The laws regarding repeat DUI offenders in New Mexico are not clear-cut and vary depending on the factors surrounding your specific case. Consult with your attorney to find out the most accurate information.
Circumstantial DUI Laws in New Mexico
While many of the penalties you’ll face are based on your age, you’ll also be confronted with different sets of penalties based on your situation. New Mexico DUI laws assign different penalties to different drivers depending on how many offenses they’ve had in the past for driving under the influence or drunk driving. Here are some of the minimum penalties you’ll likely face depending on how many offenses you’ve had in the past.
In the state of New Mexico, your first DUI offense can carry with it some steep penalties. While they’re not as severe as the penalties imposed upon repeat offenders, they’re still serious and can greatly affect the lives of those subjected to them. Here’s what you can expect if you’ve been convicted of a DUI/DWI in New Mexico for the first time.
- Fines of up to $500.
- License Suspension that can last up to a year. If you refuse a BAC test, you’ll face an automatic one-year license revocation.
- Imprisonment that can last up to 90 days.
- IID Installation – New Mexico imposes an automatic IID installation program, even on your first offense.
After your second offense, you’ll be imposed to the same types of penalties listed above. However, second offenses are treated as repeat offenses in New Mexico, so there are stiffer penalties associated with them. Here’s what you’ll be looking at if you’re convicted of a second DUI/DWI in New Mexico.
- Fines that range from $500 to $1,000.
- License Suspension of up to two years with an automatic one-year suspension for refusing the BAC test.
- Imprisonment lasting from 96 hours to 364 days depending on your situation.
- Mandatory IID Installation.
If you receive your third DUI charge or conviction in New Mexico, DUI laws state that you could face any combination of the following penalties.
- Fines ranging from $750 to $1,000.
- License suspension of up to three years.
- Imprisonment lasting from 30 days to 364 days.
- Mandatory IID Installation
Repeat offenders who obtain four or more DUI convictions in New Mexico will be met with any combination of the following penalties.
- Fines of up to $5,000.
- Lifetime license suspension.
- Imprisonment lasting from six to 18 months.
- Mandatory IID Installation to last a lifetime including five-year reviews.
Special Restricted Driver’s Licenses in New Mexico
Most DUI-related violations in New Mexico will result in license suspension. In some cases, you can become eligible for a special restricted license which will allow you limited driving privileges before your suspension is up. Keep in mind that these licenses are only available to those who are 21 years of age and older. If you’re convicted of a DUI and you’re below the legal drinking age, your license will likely be revoked or suspended, depending on your specific situation. However, some restricted driving privileges may be available, but you’ll have to install an IID on any vehicle you’ll be driving in order to have access to any of those privileges. Consult with your attorney to find out which options are available to you.
IID Installation in New Mexico
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in New Mexico and you’re required to install an IID, that installation will be initiated by a court order. Once you receive the order, you’ll typically have about 14 days to get the IID installed. It’s critical that you only visit a state-approved IID vendor in New Mexico. Any other vendor will not be able to provide you with reporting, proof of installation, or help you make any progress towards your goal. In fact, if you have your IID installed by a vendor who is not approved by the state, you’ll have to start the process all over again and pay additional fees to go to an approved vendor, so it’s important to make sure you’re having your IID installed at an approved and reputable vendor from the outset.
Also, keep in mind that just because you install an IID doesn’t mean you automatically have your driving privileges back. Sometimes you’re only allowed to go certain places or drive during certain times. You’ll still have to go through legal proceedings that may or may not require you to obtain a special restricted driver’s license in order to drive elsewhere. Again, always check the specifics of your individual court order so you remain in compliance at all times.
While the information reflected here is current as of this writing, laws do change from time to time and unique circumstances may change the penalties and requirements that you’re subject to.