A first-offense DUI (driving under the influence) conviction in New Mexico generally results in a fine, driver’s license suspension, and community service. A number of factors can affect sentencing, but this article addresses the possible penalties for a first DUI in New Mexico.
A DUI is considered a first offense in New Mexico if the driver has no prior DUI convictions within his or her lifetime. Prior to sentencing, the convicted person must obtain a drug and alcohol screening. Based on the screening results and the circumstances of the DUI, the judge will determine the appropriate penalties within the following parameters.
Community service. A first-offense DUI requires at least 24 hours of community service.
Jail time. The judge can order up to 90 days in jail, but there is no required jail time unless the DUI is “aggravated.” An aggravated DUI is any DUI that involves an injury accident or a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .16% or greater. (Get an estimate of how many drinks it takes.) For those convicted of aggravated DUI, 48 hours of jail is the mandatory minimum.
Treatment. In addition to the drug and alcohol screening, all persons must complete an approved DUI educational course.
Fines. A person who’s convicted of a first DUI must pay a fine of up to $500. (Learn more about the costs of a first DUI.)
A New Mexico DUI might affect your license twice: first, at the time of arrest, and then at the time of conviction.
Revocation. During the DUI investigation, the officer will likely request a breath or blood test. For a failed test—a BAC of .08% or more—the driver faces a six-month administrative license revocation imposed by the Motor Vehicle Division (NVD). And if the driver is ultimately convicted of a DUI in criminal court, there’s a one-year revocation imposed by the court. However, any administrative revocation time completed is credited against the revocation from the court.
However, the driver can request an ignition interlock license, which permits the driver to operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID).
Ignition interlock device. Additionally, any person convicted will be required to install an IID in all vehicles driven by the offender for one year following license reinstatement.
A skilled attorney can often help negotiate the sentence prior to any trial or plea. While New Mexico prohibits reducing a DUI to a different charge, many of the penalties may be reduced or even eliminated. Speak to a qualified DUI attorney as soon as you can to discuss possible outcomes.