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What is a DUI and a DWI in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, traffic offenses related to alcohol, drugs, and other intoxication are classified as DWI (driving while intoxicated). DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI are two terms that may be used together or have different meanings depending on each state’s constitution. The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department is responsible for all traffic-related offenses in the state. As stated under the drinking and driving laws in New Mexico, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if

● The blood alcohol content of the individual (above 21 years old) is above 0.08%

● The blood alcohol content of the individual (below 21 years old) is above 0.02%

● The blood alcohol content of a commercial driver is above 0.04%

Offenders arrested by law enforcement agencies for violating any of these crimes are required to take a breath or blood test to know their blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Failure to do this test may lead to involuntary suspension of the offender’s driver’s license.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in New Mexico

DUI and DWI are distinguished from each other in certain states, ensuring that the sanctions for each other can be more serious than the other. However, DUI and DWI are identical in New Mexico, and the sentences vary only based on how many prior arrests an offender has.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in New Mexico?

Offenders charged with a DUI offense for the first time may get a license suspension on the spot. This may not occur if the road user decides to take a breath test and pass it. The law enforcement officer seizes the license away and informs the Motor Vehicle Branch, choosing to suspend it for up to a year. This process is known as an Implied Consent or an administrative suspension, which is different from challenging the DWI in court. Note that offenders are given 20 days to go to court before the suspension goes into effect. A written appeal should be sent together with a court fee of $25 within ten days of arrest. Court hearings for the DWI case should occur within 90 days from the date of filing the appeal. During the hearing, the court will pass a judgment based on issues such as

● Reasonable grounds for the arrest

● Refusal to take the test or not

● Previous DWI convictions or not

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in New Mexico?

It is very likely to serve jail time for a first time DWI offense in New Mexico. Generally, DUI laws in New Mexico require first-time offenders to serve a 90-days jail sentence. Other possible penalties for first-time offenders include:

● A $500 fine

● One year probation

● 24 hours of community service

● One year ignition interlock license and a mandatory ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle for one year.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in New Mexico?

A DWI conviction in New Mexico may have both financial and legal implications. Generally, motorists are charged for such offense when driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. The penalties for DWI in New Mexico depend on the seriousness of the crime, the time between violations, and whether it is the person’s 1st or subsequent offense. Here is an overview of DWI penalties as applicable in New Mexico.

First and second time DWI: This is often considered a misdemeanor. As such, offenders may be given the following penalties.

● A $500 or $1000 mandatory fine

● One to five years of probation

● A mandatory 96 hours of consecutive jail time

● A possible jail sentence of 364 days

● 48 hours of community service

● A 28-day in-patient or 90-day out-patient alcohol/drug abuse treatment program

● An ignition interlock license for one or two years

Third time DWI offense: Being classified as a misdemeanor, offenders in this category may get up to:

● $750 or $1000 mandatory fine

● Five years of probation

● 30 days consecutive jail sentence together with 364 days of jail time

● 96 hours of community service

● 28-day in-patient or 90-day out-patient alcohol/drug abuse treatment program

● An ignition interlock license for three years

Fourth and fifth time DWI offense: This is considered a 4th-degree felony in New Mexico. Therefore, offenders will get up to

● Six to twelve months mandatory jail sentence (18 to 24 months imprisonment)

● $5000 fine

● Five years of probation

● A mandatory alcohol/drug abuse treatment program

● Three years of ignition interlock license

Sixth and Seventh time DWI offense: This is a 3rd-degree felony, and offenders will get the following penalties.

● 18 months to two years mandatory imprisonment together with 30 months or three years total jail sentence

● $5000 fine

● Five years of probation

● A mandatory alcohol/drug abuse treatment program

● Three years of ignition interlock license

Note that an ignition interlock system operates by forcing a driver to blow through a mouthpiece before starting a car to measure their breath alcohol content (BAC). If the system senses a BAC higher than the monitoring agency’s amount, the engine will not start.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in New Mexico?

Unlike other states, DWI records in New Mexico may remain on a criminal history record for up to 55 years. Offenders are not allowed to expunge their DWI conviction record until after the stipulated waiting period. However, if there was no conviction or the case was dismissed, the defendant may file a petition to expunge or seal the DWI arrest record.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

● The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile

● The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused of.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in New Mexico?

DUI checkpoints are legal in New Mexico since the Supreme Court maintains that the checkpoints are identical to screenings in airports. Hence, the search is not a breach of the Fourth Amendment Provision. DUI checkpoints are also legal because of a US Supreme Court ruling in 1990, which held that the state’s concern and capacity to keep people safe from drunk drivers exceeds any concern over the violation of privacy. DWI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, can be found through Google searches.

Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?

Generally, DUI means driving under the influence while DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Both terms are used for offenders charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or substance abuse. In some states, both terms have slightly different meanings based on the severity of the crime. However, in New Mexico, the official term used in describing these cases is DWI.

What is an Aggravated DWI in New Mexico?

Aggravated DWI in New Mexico refers to higher blood alcohol content above 0.16. It also relates to the refusal to take the blood/breath test. Other cases of aggravated DWIs involve injuries, minors, death, or multiple offenses. Aggravated DWIs lead to lengthy jail sentences, higher fines, and license suspension.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in New Mexico?

DWI offenders are expected to challenge the charges before them with a professional traffic attorney in New Mexico. Court proceedings related to traffic offenses often take place before a magistrate court judge who will decide if there will be a jury trial or not. In New Mexico, DWI sentences depend on the seriousness, the defendant’s compliance, and any aggravating factors.

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