Given the high number of serious injuries and fatalities attributed yearly to DWI in New Mexico, the penalties for driving while intoxicated in the state are serious and severe.  The consequences for DWI convictions get more serious with repeat offenses.  The consequences are also move serious for aggravated DWI offenses.

First Time DWI

A first DWI offense is treated as a misdemeanor and has a maximum jail time of 90 days and a maximum fine of $500.  For a first-time aggravated DWI offense, there is a mandatory additional 48 hours jail time.  Defendants convicted of a first DWI will also have their license revoked for one year.  First time offenders will also be required to obtain an ignition interlock license and pay for the costs of installing an ignition interlock system in all of the vehicles that they use for a period of one year.  An ignition interlock system is a device that prevents an impaired or intoxicated driver from operating the vehicle.  A first time offender also faces mandatory screening, DWI school, and a minimum of 24 hours of community service.  The court may also order treatment and probation for up to one year.

Second & Third DWI

Second and third time DWI offenses are also considered misdemeanors.  However, the penalties escalate significantly between the 2nd and 3rd conviction.  The second DWI carries a mandatory minimum of 96 hours and maximum of 364 days in jail.   An aggravated DWI as a second offense carries an additional mandatory 96 hours of jail time.  There is also a mandatory $500 fine with a maximum of $1,000.  Second time offenders will also have their license revoked for two years as well as be forced to serve a minimum of 48 hours of community service.  Like first offenders, second time DWI offenders will also have to submit to screening and treatment and use an ignition interlock device for two years.

A defendant convicted of a third DWI offense will face a mandatory 30 days in jail, and pay fines between $750 and $1,000.  A third aggravated DWI has a mandatory minimum of 60 additional consecutive days in jail.  Third time offenders will also have their license revoked for three years must serve a minimum of 96 hours of community service.  Third time DWI offenders must submit to screening and treatment and use an ignition interlock device for three years.

Fourth & Subsequent – Felony DWI

Fourth offenses and all subsequent offenses are treated as felonies in New Mexico, again with escalating penalties and charges for each additional offense.  Fourth and fifth DWI convictions are considered 4th degree felonies and are punishable by a minimum of six months (4th) and one year (5th) in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.  Fourth and fifth time offenders will also have their license revoked for life and must submit to screening and treatment and use an ignition interlock device for life.  These offenders may apply to a district court for a restoration of their license after five years.

Sixth, seventh, and subsequent DWI offenses are considered 3rd degree felonies and are punishable by a mandatory minimum of 18 months (6th) to 2 years (7th) and a maximum fine of $5,000.  Like fourth and fifth time offenders, subsequent offenders will also have their license revoked for life and must submit to screening and treatment and use an ignition interlock device for life.  These offenders may also apply to a district court for a restoration of their license after five years.

DWI Accidents

A DWI accident is very serious.  At best, you can be charged with aggravated DWI.  However, the possible charges are much worse.  For instance, a DWI accident resulting in death will typically be charged as vehicular homicide.  Vehicular homicide is considered a 3rd degree felony and is punishable with a maximum sentence of 6 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.  Defendants convicted of vehicular homicide also face an additional four years of jail time for each prior DWI within the last 10 years.

Finally, driving with a license revoked due to DWI is a misdemeanor and punishable by a minimum of 7 days and maximum of 364 days in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $300.  Defendants convicted of driving with a license revoked due to DWI also face 30 days of vehicle immobilization and one year added to their license revocation period.

In addition to the escalating criminal penalties, there are escalating costs as well.  First, you will find that the attorney fees rise significantly from one DWI to the next.  There are also many court imposed costs beyond the statutory fines.  These will mount quickly.

Contact an Attorney Now!

In short, DWI is extremely costly in terms of criminal penalties, attorney fees, and other costs.  If you are reading this, it is probably too late for the “don‘t drink and drive lecture.”  Instead, you should be contacting an attorney experienced in New Mexico DWI defense who can help you to minimize the fallout from your DWI arrest.  There are some important early steps and early deadlines in a DWI case that you should be aware of to help to make the best of a tough situation.

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