New Mexico DUI Laws

New Mexico DUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. For people under 21, it’s more than 0.02%.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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. Anyone under 21 can be charged if their BAC is higher than 0.02%.
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 will most certainly impact your
New Mexico car insurance rates
, too.

What is a DUI?

DUI is an acronym that stands for driving under the influence. 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
  • 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:
Up to $500
Up to 90 days
License suspension
Up to one year
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
Ignition interlock device
Yes, 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
second DWI in New Mexico
, you will be subject to increased penalties.
$500 to $5,000
96 hours to three years
License suspension
Two years to lifetime suspension
Vehicle impoundment
SR-22 requirement
Ignition interlock device
Three 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, you must:
  • Install an IID on your vehicle
  • 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 will classify as a high-risk driver, which 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.
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
    driving record
    for 10 years.

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