When conducting DUI investigations, officers often request that the driver take a breath or blood test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the amount of drugs in the driver’s system. The results are frequently used by prosecutors to prove a DUI in court.
New Mexico’s “implied consent” law states that any person who operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have consented to a breath or blood test. However, this requirement applies only if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
License suspension. Drivers who refuse to submit to a lawfully requested blood or breath test are looking at a one-year license revocation.
Restricted license. Persons who refuse chemical testing are not eligible for the ignition interlock license—that allow the person to drive during the revocation period—normally available to DUI offenders.
Evidentiary uses. The absence of a valid chemical test result can make criminal prosecution more difficult. However, the fact that a driver refused to submit to testing can actually be used against him or her at trial. Refusal doesn’t directly prove intoxication but can indicate consciousness of guilt. In other words, jurors might believe the driver refused the test to avoid detection.
Additionally, refusal of a chemical test does not always preclude further testing. In some situations, the officer can obtain a warrant and forcibly test the driver.
If you refused a chemical test in New Mexico, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a DUI lawyer. The license revocation process is quick and complicated. A qualified DUI attorney can tell you how the law applies to your case and help you decide on the best course of action.