If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI in New Mexico, you probably have a lot of questions. We have tried to provide as much information as possible on our website and New Mexico criminal law blog. Though the days and months ahead may still be difficult and stressful, it is hoped that the information provided here will at least help you to make some informed decision about your case.
The first question most have is whether you will go to jail for your DWI. The answer to this question depends on many many factors. First, and foremost, the answer depends on whether you have been charged previously and whether you have been charged with aggravated DWI. There is no mandatory jail time for first time simple DWI (i.e first offense and non-aggravated). However, there is mandatory jail time for aggravated and repeat DWI offenses. Do not panic however, there are still often options for avoiding jail even for aggravated and repeat offenders.
Other questions will come up with regard to conditions of release, defenses to the charges, plea options, fines and penalties. Each of these depends on the circumstances of the case. Again, the primary variables are whether the charges are aggravated and whether you are charged as a repeat offender. These two variables will often influence whether or not you want to go to trial or enter a plea.
Taking the issues in order, the first issue will be the circumstances and basis for the DWI stop. This is often critical to your defense. Next, the circumstances and manner of filed sobriety testing will be at issues. Next, your breath alcohol score (BAC) will be at issue. This in turn raises a host of issues as to the accuracy of the measurement, the circumstances of the testing, the timing of testing, whether alternative testing was allowed, and other issues.
Many other fact specific issues come up as well. Though the outlines may be similar, every case is indeed different. Again, it is hoped that these pages will help you to understand the issues so that you have a say in your case. However, these pages are not meant to substitute for individual legal advice. No amount of reading can prepare you to represent yourself and it would be highly inadvisable to try this approach.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, seek the advice of an experienced DWI attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, there are many very capable attorneys in the New Mexico Public Defenders Office. You should not go it alone!