Chapter 16, Section A:
Off-Highway Motor Vehicles (OHVs) - General Information

Revised August 25, 2008


Off-Highway Motor Vehicles (66-1-4.13B and 66-3-1001.1D)

Sec. 66-1-4.13B NMSA 1978 defines an off-highway motor vehicle (OHV) as any motor vehicle  operated or used exclusively off the highways of this state and that is not legally equipped for operation on the highways of this state.

Sec. 66-3-1001.1D further specifies that an off-highway motor vehicle is designed by the manufacturer for operation exclusively off the highway or road and includes an:

  1. all-terrain vehicle (ATV) a motor vehicle 50 inches or less in width, having an unladen dry weight of 1,000 pounds or less, traveling on three or more low-pressure tires and having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebar-type steering control;
  2. off-highway motorcycle a motor vehicle traveling on not more than two tires and having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and that has handlebar-type steering control; or
  3. snowmobile a motor vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice and steered and supported in whole or in part by skis, belts, cleats, runners or low-pressure tires.

Other vehicles that (if not exempted by Sec. 6-3-1005 below) meet the definition of OHVs include dune buggies and golf carts.

Motor Vehicles Subject to Off-Highway Registration (66-3-1003)

General rule (66-3-1003)

Unless exempted from the provisions of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, a person shall not operate an off-highway motor vehicle unless the vehicle has been registered.

Exemptions (6-3-1005)

The provisions of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act shall not apply to persons who operate off-highway motor vehicles on privately held lands or to off-highway motor vehicles that are:

  1. owned and operated by an agency or department of the United States, this state or a political subdivision of this state;
  2. operated exclusively on lands privately held; provided that the appropriate tax or fee has been paid in lieu of the motor vehicle registration fees;
  3. owned by nonresidents and used in this state only for organized and endorsed competition purposes; provided that the use is not on a rental basis;
  4. brought into this state by manufacturers or distributors for wholesale purposes and not used for demonstrations;
  5. in the possession of dealers as stock-in-trade and not used for demonstration purposes;
  6. farm tractors, as defined in Section 66-1-4.6 NMSA 1978, special mobile equipment, as defined in Section 66-1-4.16 NMSA 1978, or off-highway motor vehicles being used for agricultural operations; or
  7. used exclusively on private closed courses, whether owned by the rider or another person; provided that, if applicable, the excise tax and registration fees have been paid and are current.