There are numerous and severe consequences for a DWI/DUI in New Mexico. Some of these consequences result even in the absence of a conviction. The DWI/DUI arrest itself carries consequences independent of the results of the later criminal proceeding. A conviction even for a first time DWI/DUI carries mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimums are set by statute and the judges throughout New Mexico are not allowed to deviate from those statutory minimums.
In cases of aggravated DWI/DUI, the statutory minimums are increased. Likewise, with subsequent arrests and convictions, the statutory minimums are increased. First, second and third DWI/DUI convictions are charged as misdemeanors. A fourth or subsequent DWI/DUI arrest, following three prior convictions, is charged as a 4th degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
In addition to the criminal consequences, there are also consequences for your New Mexico driving privileges. The driver’s license issue is independent of the criminal consequences. In fact, you may lose your driver’s license despite the fact that the DWI/DUI gets dismissed or you are later acquitted at trial. The MVD proceedings are held separately. It is important that you strictly comply with the MVD rules and procedures which means getting your MVD Hearing Request sent in within 10 days of arrest.
New Mexico’s legislature, courts, prosecutors and law enforcement are very serious about the enforcement and prosecution of the DWI/DUI laws. The news constantly reminds us of the seriousness of the offense with DWI/DUI related fatalities regularly making the front pages of New Mexico’s newspapers. New Mexico suffers close to 200 DWI/DUI related deaths every year. The United States as a whole suffered close to 12,000 DWI/DUI related deaths in 2008 alone. Remarkably, these numbers actually improved over prior years suggesting that the harsher treatment of DWI/DUI is having some impact on the problem both in New Mexico and nationally. As such, one might expect that the penalties will grow even more severe in coming years. This is in fact a constant refrain from the legislature, the Governor, and many in the public that push for mandatory jail time even on a first offense.
In short, DWI/DUI is taken very seriously in New Mexico. As such, you should take it seriously as well. Do not drink and drive! Not even a little. The consequences are simply too great. If you do get arrested for DWI/DUI, seek the assistance of a New Mexico DWI/DUI Attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, pay close attention to the deadlines in your case. The absence of an attorney will not relieve you of the consequences of missing those deadlines.