New Mexico DUI Laws

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New Mexico DUI laws state that anyone who is driving with a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above can be charged with a DWI, or “driving while intoxicated.” Anyone under 21 can be charged if their BAC is higher than 0.02%.
Each year, over 10,000 people in the US are killed on the road as a result of drunk driving crashes.
It is a dangerous crime to operate a vehicle while under the influence of substances like alcohol or drugs. Penalties vary by state, but even a first-time offense could cost the driver up to $10,000 in legal fees and fines. A DWI in New Mexico will most certainly impact your car insurance rates, too.
Here’s what you need to know about the DUI laws in New Mexico, compiled by Jerry, the car insurance comparison and broker app.
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What is a DUI?

DUI is an acronym that stands for driving under the influence. In other states, they use other acronyms to mean the same thing. New Mexico uses DWI to mean “driving while intoxicated or impaired.”
A New Mexico driver can be charged with a DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or for being in actual physical control of a vehicle. This includes legal drugs, like prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.

DWI in New Mexico

In New Mexico, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
  • 0.04% or higher if you hold a commercial driver’s license
  • 0.02% or higher if you’re under the age of 21
You can be charged with an aggravated DUI for two reasons—you caused an accident that involved an injury or your BAC was .16% or higher. An aggravated DUI carries higher penalties, including increased mandatory jail time.
There is zero tolerance for minors driving under the influence. People under the age of 21 may not carry alcohol inside a vehicle unless a parent is present and the container is unopened, full, and sealed.
Every state has an implied consent law, which says that you consent to be tested if an officer suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you are lawfully arrested for a DWI, you are required to submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. New Mexico drivers who unlawfully refuse a chemical test can be penalized with revocation of their license for one year.
You do not have the right to consult with legal counsel before taking the test.

Penalties for a DWI in New Mexico

Penalties for DWIs are quite strict and the conviction will remain on your driving record for 10 years in New Mexico.

First conviction

In New Mexico, a first-offense DWI for a driver 21 and older could result in the following penalties:
FineUp to $500
JailUp to 90 days
License suspensionUp to one year
Vehicle impoundmentPossible
SR-22 requirementNo
Ignition interlock deviceYes, one year
An aggravated DUI will increase a driver’s mandatory jail time by 48 hours for a first offense, 96 hours for a second offense, and 60 days for a third offense.
The state of New Mexico can require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, which will prevent you from starting the car if there is any alcohol on your breath. A first offense DWI carries a one-year IID requirement.
New Mexico does not have a separate crime for underage motorists who drive under the influence. However, if a person under 21 is caught with a BAC of .02% or higher while driving, they will lose their license for one year.

Subsequent convictions

If you are convicted of a DWI again, you will be subject to increased penalties.
Fine$500 to $5,000
Jail96 hours to three years
License suspensionTwo years to lifetime suspension
Vehicle impoundmentPossible
SR-22 requirementNo
Ignition interlock deviceThree years to lifetime
All DUI offenders in New Mexico must complete a substance abuse screening, which will help a judge determine the appropriate abuse treatment program. A first-time offender must take an educational course, at minimum. Subsequent offenses could require a 28-day inpatient course or other court-approved treatment.

Hardship license

Many states offer hardship licenses so that convicted drivers may still drive to and from essential appointments and work. In some circumstances, New Mexico drivers may qualify. If you do, drivers:
  • Must install an IID on your vehicle.
  • Must agree only to drive vehicles with an IID.
You will not be eligible for a hardship license if you refused testing or if you caused a vehicular homicide.
Key Takeaway Minimum penalties are usually increased if you had a very high blood alcohol concentration, if you have multiple convictions, or if you were involved in an accident where someone was injured.
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Does a DWI impact car insurance in New Mexico?

Yes, insurance companies are very concerned with DUI and DWI convictions. You will be classified as a high-risk driver for insurance purposes. This often results in a hefty increase in your premium.
You may struggle to find insurance in New Mexico with a DWI on record. The best strategy is to shop around. The Jerry app will help you compare rates from up to 50 top insurance companies—in just 60 seconds. You won’t have to deal with lengthy forms or bad hold music.
With a conviction on your record in New Mexico, expect substantially higher rates than your previous payment. Note that New Mexico is one of the very few states that does not require drivers to carry SR-22 insurance after a DUI.

Other effects of a DWI

In addition to the financial penalties and higher insurance rates, you could face additional consequences due to a DWI conviction.
License revocation: After a DWI or DUI charge, you will probably have your license revoked or suspended.
Ignition interlock device: Every state has a version of the ignition interlock program. This requires drivers with a DWI conviction to install an IID in their vehicle, which can disable your engine if any alcohol is detected on your breath.
Background checks: DWIs appear on your background check and will be visible to any employer who pulls your record. This could jeopardize your job prospects, especially since it will stay on your record for 10 years.

How to find cheap insurance after a DWI

Jerry is the easiest and most effective way for someone with a DWI conviction in New Mexico to find a customized car insurance policy.
If you’re looking for a new insurance company, Jerry can provide you with competitive quotes in under a minute. Swapping is just as effortless. Jerry takes care of all the paperwork and phone calls and can even assist you in canceling your old policy!
“I’ve gotten pulled over a few times in the past. With Jerry, the police never had an issue verifying my insurance. The app is convenient, easy, and cheap!” —Dalton T.
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