WHAT IS DWI?
- In New Mexico, it is illegal to drive with a breath or blood
alcohol concentration of .08 or more if you're 21 or over, or .02 if
you're under 21, or .04 if you drive a commercial vehicle.
- If your breath or blood test is at or above the legal limit, or
if you refuse to take the breath or blood test, you will lose your
license, in most cases for a year.
- You can be convicted of DWI even if the breath or blood test is
below the legal limit if it is proven that your ability to drive was
impaired to the slightest degree by drugs or alcohol.
- People who drive after drinking risk heavy fines, higher insurance rates, loss of license and jail sentences.
Drinking and Driving is Dangerous
Alcohol is involved in about 40% of the traffic crashes in which someone is killed.
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE! THERE IS NO SAFE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL!
Even one drink of alcohol can affect your driving.
An alcohol drink is 1 1/2 oz. of 80-proof liquor (one shot glass)
straight or with a mixer, 12 oz. of beer (a regular size can, bottle,
or glass) or a 5 oz. glass of wine. Specialty drinks can have more
alcohol in them and are the same as having several normal drinks.
Your body gets rid of one alcoholic drink per hour. There is no
way to sober up quickly. Coffee, fresh air, exercise or cold showers
will not help. Time is the only thing that will sober you up. The best
plan is to designate someone who is not drinking to be the driver, or
make other plans before you start to drink about how you will get home.
The Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol quickly affects judgment, vision, concentration, speech
and balance. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. It is difficult
to predict how many drinks will put you at or over the legal limit.
Alcohol slows your reflexes and reaction time, reduces your
ability to see clearly and makes you less alert. As the amount of
alcohol in your body increases, your judgment worsens and your skills
decrease. You will have trouble judging distances, speeds and the
movement of other vehicles. You will also have trouble controlling your
Alcohol reduces all of the important skills you need to drive
safely. Alcohol goes from your stomach into your blood and to all parts
of your body. It reaches your brain in 20 to 40 minutes. Alcohol affects
those areas of your brain that control judgment and skill. This is one
reason why drinking alcohol is so dangerous. It affects your judgment
and reduces your ability to know when to stop drinking.
Other Drugs and Driving
Besides alcohol, there are many other drugs that can affect a
person’s ability to drive safely. These drugs can have effects like
those of alcohol, or even worse. This is true of many prescription drugs
and even many of the drugs you can buy without a prescription.
Drugs taken for headaches, colds, hay fever or other allergies or
those to calm nerves can make a person drowsy and affect their driving.
Pep pills, uppers and diet pills can make a driver feel more alert for a
short time. Later however, they can cause a person to be nervous,
dizzy, unable to concentrate, and they can affect your vision. Other
prescription drugs can affect your reflexes, judgment, vision and
alertness in ways similar to alcohol.
Driving under the influence of any drug that makes you drive unsafely is against the law.
- If you are driving, check the label before you take a drug for
warnings about its effect. If you are not sure it is safe to take the
drug and drive, ask your doctor or pharmacist about any side effects.
- Never drink alcohol while you are taking other drugs. These
drugs could multiply the effects of alcohol or have additional effects
of their own. These effects not only reduce your ability to be a safe
driver but also could cause serious health problems, even death.
- Illegal drugs are not good for your health and affect your ability to be a safe driver.
- Studies have shown that people who use marijuana make more
mistakes, have more trouble adjusting to glare and get arrested for
traffic violations more than other drivers.
Alcohol and the Law
If you are found guilty of DWI and it is your first conviction,
you will pay stiff fines and court costs, and you could be sentenced to
jail. You will also be ordered to treatment and to install an ignition
interlock device on your vehicle. MVD has the authority to revoke your
driver license. Subsequent DWI convictions will result in increased
fines, more jail time and a longer license revocation. Any DWI
conviction will remain on your driving record for 55 years.
DWI and Administrative License Revocation
If you are arrested for DWI, your license will be confiscated on
the spot if your breath test is at or above the legal limit, or if you
have refused to take the test. The police officer takes away your
license and notifies the Motor Vehicle Division, which then revokes it
for up to one year. This action is called an Implied Consent or an
administrative revocation and is completely separate from anything that
happens when you go to court for DWI. If you are convicted in court,
your license will also be revoked in a separate court action.
When your license is confiscated by the police officer you have
20 days before the revocation takes effect. If you want to protest the
revocation, you must request an administrative hearing within 10 days of
your arrest. The request must be in writing and be accompanied by a $25
hearing fee, or a sworn statement of indigency. The hearing will take
place within 90 days.
The issues that will be discussed in your hearing are very limited. These issues are:
- that the officer had reasonable grounds to stop you;
- that you were arrested;
- that the hearing was held within 90 days of your notice of revocation;
- if you refused the test, that the police officer notified you that you could lose your license; and/or
- that the chemical test was administered properly, and you tested at or above the legal limit.
The only exception to the one-year revocation of your license is:
- if you have never had an administration revocation for DWI before, and
- if you didn't refuse to take the breath test.
If you are revoked for a DWI, you cannot qualify for any kind of license except an ignition interlock license.
Once your license is revoked, it stays revoked until you reinstate it.
The penalties for driving while revoked are severe. You can be
sentenced to jail for up to a year (mandatory jail seven days) and can
be fined up to $1,000 (mandatory fine is $300).
Your car can also be "booted" or immobilized for 30 days so you can't drive it.
Your driver’s license can be revoked for both a violation of the
Implied Consent Act and a DWI conviction through a criminal court. The
revocation periods are as follows:
Implied Consent* - Over 21 years of age (at or above 0.08%)
1st Offense – 6 months for failing a chemical test
1st Offense – One year for refusing a chemical test
2nd or Subsequent Offense – One year for failing or refusing a chemical test
Implied Consent* - Under 21 years of age (at or above 0.02%)
1st and subsequent – One year for failing or refusing a chemical test
Criminal Conviction of DWI in Court
1st Offense – One Year
2nd Offense – Two Years
3rd Offense – Three Years
4th or Subsequent Offense – Lifetime
Arrest or Criminal Conviction for a DWI
– Those with a commercial driver license arrested or convicted of a DWI, whether or not operating a commercial vehicle:
1st Offense – One year disqualification
2nd Offense – Lifetime disqualification
*Implied Consent - Refusal to submit to a breath/ blood test;
failure of breath/ blood test, or blood alcohol content (BAC) at or
above .08 (or BAC at or above .02 for persons less than 21 years of age,
or at or above .04 for person driving a commercial motor vehicle).
For More DWI Resources Click on the following Links
IPL web site posters
IPL web site DWI Schools list