New Mexico's DUI penalties depend primarily on the number of prior convictions that the driver has. Unlike many other states, New Mexico counts all priors no matter how long ago they occurred.
This article covers New Mexico's DUI laws (including important definitions) and the penalties you'll face for a first, second, third, and fourth conviction.
New Mexico prohibits a person from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle under any of the following conditions:
In other words, a DUI charge can be based on BAC or actual impairment. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-8-102.)
A first DUI conviction in New Mexico is a misdemeanor and generally carries:
All DUI offenders are required to complete a substance abuse screening. Based on the results of the screening, the judge determines the appropriate substance abuse treatment program. At a minimum, a first- DUI offender must take a DUI educational course.
A second DUI conviction in New Mexico is a misdemeanor and generally carries:
A second offender must complete a 28-day inpatient course or other court-approved treatment.
A third DUI conviction in New Mexico is a misdemeanor and generally carries:
A third offender must complete a 28-day inpatient course or other court-approved treatment.
A fourth DUI conviction in New Mexico is a felony and generally carries six to 18 months in jail.
If the DUI involved an injury accident or the driver's BAC was .16% or greater, the offense will be considered an "aggravated DUI." Aggravated status will increase the mandatory jail time by 48 hours for a first offense, 96 hours for a second offense, and 60 days for a third offense.
A New Mexico DUI can affect a person's driving privileges at two different stages—once at the time of arrest and a second time after conviction in criminal court.
Drivers who are lawfully arrested for a DUI are required by New Mexico's "implied consent" laws to submit to BAC testing. Drivers who produce a BAC over the legal limit will have their driver's license immediately seized and subsequently revoked for six months on a first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense. A refusal of testing can also result in a one-year revocation. These revocations that follow a DUI arrest come from the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). (However, drivers can challenge the revocation by requesting an "administrative per se hearing.")
A driver with a revoked license may be eligible for an ignition interlock license, which permits the person to drive only with an ignition interlock device (IID). However, this license is not permitted for those who refused testing.
A DUI conviction in criminal court will result in the following license-related consequences.
The revocation periods for criminal convictions generally are not in addition to the arrest-related revocation; the arrest-related revocation is typically credited against the conviction-related revocation.
New Mexico does not have a separate crime for persons under 21 years of age. However, a person under 21 years old who produces a BAC of .02% or more while driving will have their driver's license suspended for one year.
Regardless of the type of charge, it's always best to talk to an experienced DUI attorney if you've been cited for driving under the influence. A qualified lawyer can tell you how the law applies to your situation and help you decide on the best course of action.