What Are New Mexico's DUI Laws?

Authorities recorded well over 400 road fatalities in New Mexico over the last year alone, many of which involved drunk drivers. In fact, members of the Eddy County DWI Program reported that a significant number of New Mexicans continue to drive while impaired. According to the group, New Mexico claimed the eighth-highest driving under the influence (DUI) severity score of any state in the country.

You violate New Mexico's DWI or DUI laws if you operate a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. A conviction for DUI can have both civil and financial repercussions.

Court cases involving intoxicated driving in New Mexico may result in prison time, fines, mandatory DWI educational programs, ignition interlock devices, and more. A conviction for driving under the influence may result in a driver's license suspension of 90 days or more.

However, regardless of the cause, learning more about the actions you should take following a car accident in New Mexico is essential. Vehicle collisions are invariably horrifying and overwhelming for victims, particularly those involving drunk drivers.

Data on DUI Accidents in New Mexico

Experts say New Mexico had 289 arrests for every 100,000 drivers and close to 9 DUI-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers, giving the state a severity score of 67.5. Moreover, the number of accidents involving alcohol in New Mexico increased from 2,020 to 2,150 in the last year alone.

Compared to pre-COVID levels, the percentage of total collisions that involved alcohol remained elevated at about 5%. In addition, the number of catastrophic accidents involving alcohol increased to 157, the highest number in at least a decade.

Alcohol's Effects on Drivers

Alcohol rapidly impairs reasoning, vision, concentration, pronunciation, and equilibrium. Everyone metabolizes alcohol in a unique manner, so it is difficult to predict how many alcoholic beverages will send you over the legal limit.

Alcohol delays a motorist's reflexes and reaction time, impairs vision, and reduces alertness. As the quantity of alcohol in your system increases, your judgment generally deteriorates. You will have difficulty gauging distances, speed, and other vehicles' movements.

Essentially, alcohol impairs all of the necessary abilities for safe driving. From the intestines, alcohol enters the bloodstream and travels to all areas of the body. The drug reaches the brain within 20 to 40 minutes and affects the areas responsible for attention and reaction time, to name just a few. This is simply one of many reasons why alcohol consumption is so hazardous.

Drinking and Driving in New Mexico

In approximately 40% of fatal automobile accidents across the country, alcohol is a contributing factor. Even one drink can impair driving ability:

  • 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof liquor (one shot glass) plain or with a mixer, 12 ounces of beer (regular size can, bottle, or glass), or a 5-ounce glass of wine constitutes an alcoholic beverage.
  • Specialty beverages may contain more alcohol and are equivalent to consuming several standard drinks.

Your body eliminates one of these drinks per hour, and there isn't a foolproof way to sober up quickly. Coffee, fresh air, exercise, and cold showers are ineffective. In other words, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when driving.

DWI/DUI Laws in New Mexico

If you are found guilty of DWI in New Mexico for the first time, you will have to pay steep fines and court fees and may be sent to prison. You will also be required to undergo treatment and install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and authorities have the ability to revoke your driver's license.

Additional convictions for DWI will result in higher penalties, more prison time, and a lengthier license suspension. Any conviction for driving under the influence will remain on your driving record for 55 years.

Furthermore, if you are arrested for DWI, and your breath test is at or above the legal limit, or refuse to take the test, your license will be confiscated immediately. The officer confiscates your driver's license and notifies the Motor Vehicle Division, which then suspends it for up to one year. 

If you are found guilty in court, your license will be suspended in a separate proceeding. When a police officer confiscates your license, you have twenty days before the revocation takes effect. If you wish to contest the revocation, you must request a hearing within ten days of your arrest. The request must be submitted in writing along with a $25 hearing fee or a sworn statement of indigence. The hearing will occur within ninety days.

What is Implied Consent in New Mexico?

Under New Mexico law, anyone operating a motor vehicle is presumed to have consented to a breath or blood test, also known as Implied Consent. However, remember that this requirement only applies if the officer has probable cause to believe the motorist in question is under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Calling the Police After a DUI Accident

Whether or not an inebriated driver caused an accident, filing a police report after a car crash in New Mexico is paramount. In fact, state law requires drivers to contact officers following a car accident in New Mexico as quickly as they can.

In addition, if you intend to file a claim for personal injury, you will need this form of evidence to support your case. A police report can also be used to your advantage when communicating and negotiating with insurers.

Contact a Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Albuquerque

If an intoxicated driver in New Mexico has injured you or a loved one, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your legal rights. Please get in touch with Will Ferguson & Associates for a free consultation if you've been involved in a crash caused by another driver's carelessness.

Contact our Albuquerque car accident lawyers at (505) 243-5566 to find out if you are eligible for compensation. We will manage all aspects of your case if we determine that you and your family have a valid claim for compensation. Do not hesitate to contact our skilled and compassionate accident attorneys for the seasoned legal counsel you deserve.

Why Choose
Will Ferguson & Associates To Fight For You?

No Fees Unless We Win

We Communicate with You Every Step of the Way

Free Consultations

Over 40+ Years
Defending The Injured

Millions Recovered For Our Clients
Contact Us

Request a FREE Case Review.

    Required Fields *

    1720 Louisiana Blvd NE #100 Albuquerque, NM 87110
    Rio Rancho

    333 Rio Rancho Boulevard Northeast Rio Rancho, NM

    1720 Louisiana Blvd NE #100 Albuquerque, NM 87110
    Rio Rancho

    333 Rio Rancho Boulevard Northeast Rio Rancho, NM

    Request a
    FREE Case Review

      Required Fields *