Albuquerque DWI/DUI Defense Lawyers
DWI/DUI Laws in New Mexico
Drunk Driving is one of the most prosecuted crimes in New Mexico. Driving under the influence of any substance, whether alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication, is illegal under New Mexico law NMSA 66-8-102. This law applies to any amount of alcohol in a driver’s system, but it is generally charged when a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you need an experienced and aggressive Albuquerque DWI defense lawyer. Call Raymon Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation at (505) 390-1040.
New Mexico state law has different BAC levels for different classes of drivers, which include:
- Drivers younger than 21 years old cannot legally drive when their blood alcohol limit is .02 or higher
- Commercial drivers cannot operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol limit that is .04 or higher
- Drivers who are at least 21 years old cannot legally drive with a blood alcohol limit of .08 or higher
- Driving with a blood alcohol limit of .16 or higher is a more serious offense known as aggravated DWI that carries harsher penalties
If Albuquerque police officers suspect a driver is impaired, they can request a breathalyzer or chemical test, which may include taking blood, urine, or hair. While drivers have the right to refuse, New Mexico has implied consent laws, which means that refusing to take a test can lead to an automatic license suspension. However, officers must have reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired; for example, witnessing the driver committing a moving violation or being involved in a traffic collision.
In order for you to be convicted of a DWI in New Mexico, the district attorney must prove that:
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs or had a BAC above the legal limit; AND
- You were physically in control of the vehicle.
“Physically in control” does not mean you were driving the car, just that you could drive the car. This means if you were sitting in the driver’s seat while parked, you can be convicted of a DWI if the prosecution can prove that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at that time.
This may sound impossible to beat, but there are several ways an experienced DWI lawyer can defend you. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty, and the arresting officer must have followed the legal procedures when they pulled you over. Depending on the circumstances of your case, our legal team may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
There are two consequences for driving under the influence: the criminal side and the administrative side. The criminal side is focused on punishing defendants for violating the law, while the administrative side deals with your driver’s license.
In New Mexico, the penalties for a DWI are based on your criminal record, meaning that the more DWIs you have, the harsher your punishment. In addition, charges can either be non-aggravated or aggravated. Non-aggravated means that your BAC level was between 0.08% and less than 0.15%; aggravated means that your BAC was 0.15% or higher, which will come with harsher penalties.
Punishment ranges for DWI convictions vary dramatically based on prior DWI convictions as displayed below:
Up to 90 days in jail or a year on probation and up to a $500.00 fine
Interlock license for one year; at least 24 hours community service; alcohol screening; court fees
Up to 1 year in jail or 5 years’ probation and up to a $1,000 fine
96 consecutive hours of jail time; Interlock license for two years; $500 fine; at least 48 hours of community service; complete alcohol or drug abuse screening and court-approved treatment; court fees
Up to 1 year in jail or 5 years’ probation and up to a $1,000 fine
30 consecutive days of jail time; Interlock license for 3 years; $750 fine; up to 96 hours of community service; complete alcohol or drug abuse screening and court-approved treatment; court fees
Up to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 fine.
6 months in prison; interlock license for life; complete alcohol or drug abuse screening and court-approved treatment
Up to 2 years in prison and up to $5,000 fine.
One year in prison; interlock license for life; complete alcohol abuse screening and court-approved treatment
Up to 30 months in prison and up to $5,000 fine
18 months in prison; interlock license for life; complete alcohol or drug abuse screening and court-approved treatment
7th or Higher Offense
Up to 3 years in prison and up to $5,000 fine
Two years in prison; interlock license for life; complete alcohol or drug abuse screening and court-approved treatment
Exigent circumstances can additionally lead to increased penalties, such as aggravated DWIs or DWIs with a child passenger.
Entering a Diversion Program
To prevent defendants from becoming repeat offenders, many states, including New Mexico, have developed diversion programs. A diversion program is an alternative to jail that can help defendants learn how to avoid committing a crime again. While these programs mainly focus on juvenile offenders, there are several programs for adults, including those who’ve committed DWIs.
During the pretrial phase of your case, the court will determine if you are eligible for a DWI diversion program, which typically requires that this be your first offense, that you have a clean criminal record, and that you’ve never been in a program before.
Upon completing the program, your DWI charge will be dismissed, and your record will be clear of any conviction.
Beating a DWI Charge
Even if you cannot enter a diversion program, you still have several options when fighting a DWI charge. At Raymon Law Group, our lead defense lawyer can launch an in-depth review to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments and utilize one of the following defenses on your behalf:
- You were in the passenger seat and not in control of the vehicle.
- You were pulled over illegally.
- The testing equipment was damaged or improperly used.
- You only showed the objective signs of a DWI.
- The officer performed misconduct when arresting you.
You should never allow your rights to be taken from you without a fair trial. By working with an experienced DWI attorney, you may be able to avoid jail time, or have your charges dropped altogether. But the first step is to pick up the phone and contact our legal team.
Speak to an Experienced New Mexico DWI Lawyer
At Raymon Law Group, our Albuquerque criminal defense lawyer is dedicated to providing legal guidance for our neighbors when they end up on the wrong side of the law. We understand how afraid and stressed you are after being arrested, but we have the knowledge you need to endure.
If you or someone you love was charged with a DWI in Albuquerque, reach out to Raymon Law Group. With our years of experience, we can build a strong case on your behalf and fight to have your charges dropped. Call us at (505) 390-1040 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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