New Mexico's Boating Under the Influence Laws

Read about New Mexico’s boating while intoxicated (BWI) laws and the consequences of a conviction.

New Mexico law prohibits operating a motorboat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating while intoxicated (BWI) for operating a motorboat while: 

  • impaired by alcohol or drugs “to a degree that renders him [or her] incapable of safely operating a motorboat,” or
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-13-3 (2016).)

BWI Penalties

The consequences of a New Mexico BWI conviction depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, the possible penalties are:

  • First-offense BWI. A first BWI typically carries up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum $500 in fines. Convicted boaters must also complete a state-approved boating safety course.
  • Second-offense BWI. A second BWI generally carries up to 364 days in jail and/or a maximum $750 in fines.

(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-13-3 (2016).)

“Aggravated” BWI

New Mexico law provides enhanced penalties for certain BWIs deemed to be “aggravated” offenses. Generally, a BWI is an aggravated offense if the boater:

  • had a BAC of .16% or greater
  • caused bodily injury to another person, or
  • refused to take a chemical test in violation of New Mexico’s implied consent laws.

The consequences of an aggravated BWI conviction are:

  • First aggravated BWI. A first BWI that is an aggravated offense carries 48 hours to 90 days in jail and up to $1,250 in fines. Convicted boaters must also complete a state-approved boating safety course.
  • Second aggravated BWI. A second BWI that is an aggravated offense carries 48 hours to 364 days in jail and up to $1,750 in fines.

(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-13-3 (2016).)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a New Mexico BWI are serious, and the facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with an experienced BWI lawyer. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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