What is considered DUI in New Mexico?
What are the penalties you will face for DUI?
Are there other alcohol-related driving laws in the state?
We’re going to answer all these questions and more.
In this article, we’ll talk about the New Mexico DUI laws, the penalties, and so much more. We won’t skip anything, so you’ll know EVERYTHING.
Are you ready?
DUI Laws in New Mexico
In New Mexico, there are several DUI and DUI-related laws, including:
- Illegal BAC levels
- Implied Consent Act
- Drugs and driving
- Open Container Law
Let’s get into the details.
Illegal BAC Levels
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measures the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Now, in New Mexico, it is illegal to drive with a BAC level of:
- 0.08% for drivers 21 and above
- 0.02% for drivers below 21
- 0.04% for commercial drivers
If a law enforcement officer has a reason to suspect you of DUI, they will ask you to pull over and complete a BAC test. This can either be a breath, blood, or urine test.
If the BAC test shows that you go over the legal alcohol limit, you will be charged with DUI.
NOTE: Even if your BAC level is within the legal limits, you may still be charged with DUI if you show signs of aggravated or reckless driving.
Implied Consent Act
Can you refuse a BAC test?
Under the Implied Consent Act, all drivers operating a motor vehicle in New Mexico have agreed to consent to a BAC test when asked. You consented to act the moment you got your New Mexico-issued driver’s license.
If you refuse to take a BAC test, you will be given a license suspension of up to one year.
To add to that, refusal to take a BAC test makes you ineligible to use an ignition interlock device that is offered during the revocation period for violators.
NOTE: Drivers can opt to get tested by an independent clinic or lab, but must show their results immediately.
Drugs and Driving
It’s not just alcohol that can impair drivers. Drugs can do that, too — yes, even drugs that are purchased over the counter can affect your driving.
And, any amount of drugs found in your system will be charged against you as a DUI.
To know the effects of a certain pill, always check the label and take note of the effects that they may have on you. Drugs taken for headaches, allergies, and fever can make you feel drowsy, which lowers your focus and guard when driving.
In general, if you are taking any sort of over-the-counter or prescribed drugs that can impair your driving, DO NOT DRIVE.
Open Container Law
In New Mexico, possession of alcoholic beverages with open containers is not allowed inside a moving vehicle. If you must transport open containers of alcohol, it should be out of reach from the driver and passengers — you can place it in the trunk.
This law is there to avoid drinking while driving.
Exceptions to this law are when the open container of alcohol is in:
- The living quarters of a motor vehicle used for recreational purposes
- A truck camper
- An area that is not normally occupied by the driver or passenger if the vehicle has no trunk
- The bed of a pick-up truck when there are no passengers occupying it.
Take note that the glove compartment is considered to be an area near the driver and passenger, so it should not be stored there.
DUI Penalties in New Mexico
Since DUI is a serious offense, you can only expect the penalties to be harsh.
Below is a table of penalties per DUI offense in New Mexico:
|Offense||Fine||Community Service||Jail Time||Ignition Interlock Device||Substance Abuse Screening and Treatment programs|
|1st||Up to $500||At least 24 hours||Up to 90 days||3 years||Yes|
|2nd||Up to $1,000||At least 48 hours||Up to 364 days||3 years||Yes|
|3rd||Up to $1,000||At least 96 hours||Up to 364 days||3 years||Yes|
|4th||Up to $5,000||N/A||Up to 18 months – 6 months mandatory||3 years||Yes|
|5th||Up to $5,000||N/A||Up to 24 months – 12 months mandatory||3 years||Yes|
|6th||Up to $5,000||N/A||Up to 30 months – 18 months mandatory||3 years||Yes|
If your BAC level goes over 0.15%, you caused an injury or death, or you are driving with a minor with you, expect the penalties to be even harsher.
NOTE: On the fourth offense, a DUI is already considered a felony.
Dangers of DUI
Why does the State of New Mexico implement all these DUI laws?
Why are the penalties so harsh?
This is because DUI is SUPER dangerous to everyone and must be avoided at all costs.
Here are just some of the dangers of driving under the influence:
- Drowsy driving
- Increases the chances of bad decision-making
- Reduces the alertness and focus you need when driving
- Reduces your ability to judge the distance between you and other objects/vehicles
- Reduces coordination of hand and eyes
All these lead to higher risks of getting into an accident. So do yourself and others a favor — NEVER DRINK OR USE DRUGS AND DRIVE.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more about DUI in New Mexico? We’ve answered some FAQs for even more information.
Is a DUI a felony in New Mexico?
A DUI is only considered a felony on the 4th offense and subsequent offenses. For the first, second, and third offenses, it is considered a misdemeanor.
How long does a DUI stay on your driving record in New Mexico?
Unfortunately, you can only remove points from a DUI after 55 years. That’s a long, long time!
Can a DUI be dismissed in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, a DUI can only be dismissed if there is evidence of the following:
- No sufficient grounds for an enforcer to stop you
- No legitimate reason for asking you to take a BAC test
- Improper testing
- There are no witnesses given to support the police’s testimony
If you are planning to work on your DUI dismissal, it’s best to hire an attorney focusing on these types of cases.
What is the difference between a DUI and DWI in New Mexico?
A DUI and a DWI in New Mexico are the same. DUI stands for driving under the influence, while DWI stands for driving while intoxicated.
What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer in New Mexico?
If you refuse a breathalyzer test in New Mexico, you may lose your driver’s license for up to one year.
Can I get my interlock removed early in New Mexico?
Removing your interlock device early is possible, but it requires a long process. You need to provide your Judgment and Sentencing paperwork and a copy of your interlock license, but you can only pass this two weeks from your removal date.
And that was everything you needed to know about the New Mexico DUI laws.
Getting convicted of a DUI is both inconvenient and expensive. Apart from the hefty fines, you will be required to take treatment programs and go through jail time.
To avoid getting penalized, the best solution is to never drink and drive. If you are taking medications, it is best to avoid driving as well.
Remember, these substances have big effects on your driving, even if you don’t notice it.
Most importantly, you must avoid DUI to ensure everyone’s safety.