What Happens to my Driver’s License in DWI Case in New Mexico?

The issue of your driver’s license is among the first issues that will come up in your New Mexico DWI case. There are many important deadlines in a DWI case. Among the earliest deadlines in your DWI case involve your driver’s license.

The question of what happens to your driver’s license has a couple of different aspects. The first involves the Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) revocation of your license under the New Mexico Implied Consent Act. The second involves consequences upon conviction.

MVD and Criminal Court Revocations are Somewhat Independent 

The two are related but somewhat independent. The MVD revocation may occur and often does, even though the DWI charges are often dismissed or the defendant is acquitted at trial. The consequences following a conviction are distinct and follow only upon conviction. It is important to understand both aspects.

MVD Revocation Hearing

There is a strict 10-day deadline that applies to the MVD revocation. You must submit a Request for Hearing with the MVD on the revocation of your license within 10 days of the DWI arrest. Along with the Request for Hearing, you must include a check for $25.00. You can find the form at the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles website.

If you fail to request the hearing within 10 days of arrest, your license will be automatically revoked. There are a number of requirements for license revocation at the hearing but the burden is pretty low on MVD for the revocation.

The critical aspect is that you blew .08 or above, or refused the breath alcohol test. However, if it applies to you, keep in mind that for MVD Revocation, the levels are lower for commercial drivers (.04) and those under 21 years of age (.02).

Revocation Penalties Escalate with Subsequent DWI’s or Refusal of Breath Test 

In case you submitted to the breath alcohol test and blew .08, your license is revoked for 6 months on a first DWI offense, 2 years for the second DWI, 3 years for the third DWI and lifetime revocation with a 5 year court review for a 4th or greater DWI. In case you refuse the breath alcohol test, your license is automatically suspended for 1 year even on a first time DWI under the New Mexico Implied Consent Act.

Keep in mind that these revocations occur through MVD under the Implied Consent Act. They do not require a conviction. There are separate and additional penalties for conviction.

Revocation for Conviction of DWI

The revocations following conviction somewhat coincide with the MVD revocation. However, the revocation is couched in terms of a requirement of an ignition interlock device.

In case of conviction, the revocation is more severe on a first time DWI. For a first DWI conviction, there is a one-year revocation. On the MVD revocation, it is only 6 months.

The remainder of the license consequences directly coincides with the MVD revocation: 2 years on a second DWI, 3 years on a third DWI, and lifetime revocation on 4th or higher with a 5-year review by the court.

Ignition Interlock Device

Loss of your driver’s license can be devastating financially. For all of the above revocations, you may apply for an ignition interlock device, which will allow you to drive.

If you are going to continue driving then it is extremely important to follow the rules regarding the ignition interlock. Failure to follow these rules will result in a charge of driving on a revoked license. This is a very serious charge carrying significant penalties.

In short, the consequences to your driving privileges can be severe. In some cases, the loss of driving privileges can be more disastrous than the conviction, jail time, fines and other consequences.

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