In New Mexico, your driver’s license can be revoked under two separate circumstances related to driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence (DWI/DUI).
First, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) has the authority to revoke your driver’s license automatically if you fail a breath or blood test, or if you refuse to take one. This is an administrative revocation of your driver’s license.
Alternately, your license can be revoked if you’re convicted of a DWI. This is a criminal revocation of your driver’s license. For conviction of a first DWI offense in New Mexico, you can face license suspension for up to a year. In addition to the license revocation, you can also face up to 90 days in jail, an ignition interlock for one year, DWI school, an alcohol evaluation, community service, and a possible treatment requirement. The criminal penalties including the revocation of your license grow worse with successive convictions.
Administrative MVD Revocation
In the first situation of an MVD revocation, your license is revoked automatically if it is found at the MVD Revocation hearing that your breath or blood alcohol levels were .08 or higher. There are minimal requirements on the part of the State at the MVD hearing. These hearings can seem no more than a formality with the only real requirement being that the police officer(s) actually show up.
The second basis for automatic revocation is the failure to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test under New Mexico Statutes. In the state of New Mexico, every person who drives a vehicle within the boundaries of the state has already given her or his consent to a breath and/or blood alcohol concentration test if they’re pulled over for suspicion of a DWI, simply by the act of driving in the state. This is called the New Mexico Implied Consent Act.
While the law suggests that you have already consented to a breath or blood alcohol test by choosing to drive, you do still have a right to refuse the test. However, in exercising that right, it is important to know that there are serious consequences to refusing a test. These not only include the administrative license revocation (or the MVD revocation), but also a charge of an Aggravated DWI. Unlike a simple DWI, an aggravated DWI carries mandatory jail time.
Request for MVD Revocation Hearing
With an administrative revocation following the failure to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test, it’s important to know that you only have a limited period of time in which to request an MVD hearing.
You must submit a written request for this hearing, and the Motor Vehicle Department must receive it within 10 days from the date that you were originally served with the Notice of Revocation.
There is a standard form for the MVD hearing request that is submitted to MVD. In addition to basic identifying information, you must also request that the police officer(s) involved in the DWI investigation and arrest be present at the hearing. In addition, the request must include a $25.00 payment. Failure to make a request with the required accompanying information and $25.00 fee within 10 days of the Notice of Revocation will waive your right to the hearing, and your license will automatically be revoked.
License Revocation Following a DWI/DUI Conviction
In the second situation of a revocation following a conviction, depending on whether you’re a first-time or multiple offender, your license can be revoked for anywhere from 1 year (with a 1st misdemeanor offense conviction) to up to the remainder of your life (with a 4th degree felony conviction for a 4th or subsequent conviction).
In most cases of conviction, the time of revocation is longer than an MVD revocation. A 1st misdemeanor offense carries a 1-year revocation in both administrative and criminal conviction revocations. However, with a 2nd misdemeanor offense, an administrative revocation continues to carry a 1-year revocation period, while a 2nd misdemeanor offense conviction carries a 2-year revocation.
Because revocation of your license may be among the most harmful consequences of a DWI charge, it is important to understand the process and your rights. It is important to contact an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible to full protect your rights.