It is also important for you understand the DWI process to come. An experienced Albuquerque DWI Attorney can help.
The Albuquerque DWI Attorneys at Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached at (505) 242-5958.
Important Deadlines Come Quickly
One of the first things that you should understand is that there are several important deadlines in your DWI case that can significantly impact your rights. These include both administrative deadlines and deadlines in your criminal court case.
The most immediate deadlines that come up are administrative hearing deadlines. Though these do not affect your criminal case, missing one of these deadlines can significantly affect your rights:
- MVD License Revocation — In all cases where a driver’s breath or blood alcohol score is .08 or above, the driver is subject to driver’s license revocation. The driver has a right to a hearing. The Request for MVD hearing must be made within 10 days of arrest.
- Vehicle Seizure — More and more DWI arrests are resulting in vehicle seizure. This is particularly so in Albuquerque where the City has taken a very aggressive stance on DWI and vehicle seizure. In Albuquerque, you have only 10 days from arrest to Request a Vehicle Seizure Hearing.
Criminal Court Deadlines
The next set of deadlines deal with the actual DWI criminal prosecution. These deadlines involve custom and practice, constitutional rights, rules of discovery, rules of evidence and procedural issues.
Those deadlines based on constitutional law and procedural rights (which often have their basis in the constitution) provide the greatest protection for the DWI defendant. They also provide the greatest opportunities for defending against the DWI charges. The criminal court deadlines include but are not limited to the following:
- Waiver of Arraignment — You may waiver your right to an arraignment. This means you do not have to go to the arraignment. You must have an attorney to file a Waiver of Arraignment and it should be filed well in advance of the hearing.
- Recusal of the Assigned Judge — You have a right to recuse the first judge assigned to your case. This is referred to as your right to Peremptory Recusal of the Judge. You are allowed only one and it must be exercised within 10 days of arraignment.
- Discovery and Trial Deadlines — These form the most significant basis for pre-trial dismissal of all misdemeanor cases including DWI’s. They have evolved from the rules of discovery, the constitution, the rules of evidence, and case law. They are very important and often offer the greatest opportunity for the defense of the DWI charges against you.
Criminal Defense Strategies
The defense of your DWI charges requires significant preparation and knowledge. There are many opportunities for the defense of your charges.
The law on DWI has evolved in some respects very rapidly due to the technology and science of DWI and the many evidentiary and discovery issues that arise out of the science. Like criminal law generally, DWI law and defense have also developed over the years through the constant evolution of case law and the ever-evolving application of the United States and New Mexico Constitutions.
All of this comes into play in the defense of your DWI charges. Only through thorough preparation and knowledge of your case will some of these defenses be apparent. When such a defense is available, it is important to recognize it as early as possible.
The term misdemeanor covers a wide variety of offenses such as assault, battery, most DWI/DUI offenses, possession of marijuana, theft, and petty larceny.
The most common misdemeanor other than DWI/DUI is battery against a household member or domestic violence. The key aspect of a misdemeanor is that the maximum possible jail time is one year.
Maximum Jail Time of One Year on Misdemeanor Conviction
Misdemeanor convictions can carry penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each crime of which you’re convicted.
There is the possibility of consecutive sentences on conviction for multiple counts. As such, there is the possibility that one incident involving multiple misdemeanor charges could result in more than one year of jail time.
Alternatives to Jail Time Preferred for First Offenses by Most Judges
New Mexico courts for the most part prefer alternatives to jail for first offenses or less serious offenses. In some cases such as first-time DWI, this preference is statutorily defined with these cases getting First Offender Program.
In addition to the DWI First Offender Program. there are other jail alternatives. This would include Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program. It would also include Drug Court and Mental Health Court. There are others as well.
The punishment, including alternatives to jail, will depend upon the defendant’s criminal history, the nature and seriousness of the crime, compliance with the conditions of release, the ability to comply with probation, drug and alcohol use, completion of counseling, and many other factors depending upon the case and the individual.
DWI Pre-trial Hearings
During the course of your DWI/DUI, your case will be set for a number of pre-trial hearings. These hearings are called so that the attorneys on both sides can report the status and any problems with the case to the judge.
It is quite common that the District Attorney has not provided discovery by the time of the first pre-trial hearing. Often, the District Attorney will provide the discovery in Court. By rule, the District Attorney is supposed to provide discovery within 30 days of the arraignment. More often, the discovery has not been provided. This will be reported to the judge along with any issues regarding witness interviews.
The District Attorney is required to make witnesses available for the defense to interview. In DWI/DUI cases, the State‘s witness list will typically contain only police officers. In these situations, your attorney will set up the police officer interviews directly with the police department. Again, it is very common that the police officers do not show up for interviews or the defense attorney was unable to get them scheduled at all. This too will be reported to the judge.
Judges frequently will give the District Attorney numerous opportunities to provide discovery and make witnesses available. However, your attorney will request a dismissal at each pre-trial hearing where these issues are present. Many, though far from all judges, will eventually sanction the District Attorney for its failure to cooperate in discovery or witness interviews by excluding discovery, excluding witnesses, or outright dismissal of the case against you. It depends on the judge which makes your early decision of whether to keep the first assigned judge very important.
Collins & Collins, P.C. is Here to Help You
If you do want to hire a private attorney, the Collins & Collins, P.C. is here to help guide you through what can be a long and stressful process. We welcome your calls or online contact. We have also provided a great deal of information on the pages that follow to help educate you on what to expect in the days and months ahead in your DWI case.