What Happens When You Get a 2nd DUI in New Mexico

DUIs stay on your record for 55 years in New Mexico. If you make the mistake again in your driving career, you will be subject to harsher penalties.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you’re convicted of a 2nd DUI in
New Mexico
within 55 years of a first offense, you’ll be punished with a minimum of 96 hours of jail time, $500 in fines, five years of probation, two years of an ignition interlock license, community service, and required substance abuse treatment.
And that’s just the minimum—the upper range of punishments is much more severe. And considering a DUI stays on your driving record for 55 years, it’s easier to become a repeat offender in New Mexico than in states with an expiration date for DUI convictions.

What is a 2nd offense DUI in New Mexico?

New Mexico DUI laws
more commonly
refer to a DUI as a DWI
(driving while intoxicated, drugs or alcohol) to include more nuance and context in its definition—see below:
  • You’re 21 or older and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
  • You’re under 21 and have a BAC of 0.02% or higher
  • You have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and have a BAC of 0.04% or higher
  • Even if you are below these BAC thresholds, you can be convicted of a DWI if it is proven that your ability to drive was impaired to the slightest degree by drugs or alcohol
Registering a BAC above a certain threshold will guarantee you a DUI/DWI in New Mexico—but this isn’t the only requirement.
Failure to disprove even slight impairments from a substance through roadside sobriety tests can earn you a conviction.
A DWI stays on your record for a whopping 55 years, so there’s really no way of avoiding the increasing punishments if you’re convicted a second time.

What is the punishment for a 2nd DUI in New Mexico?

If your 2nd DWI offense is within 55 years of your first conviction, you’ll be facing the following punishments:
  • Misdemeanor on your record
  • 96 hours to 364 days of jail time
  • $500 to $1,000 in fines (not including fees and penalty assessments)
  • Up to five years on probation
  • Two years of an ignition interlock license
  • Additional mandatory penalties: 48 hours of community service and completion of a 28-day in-patient, 90-day out-patient, or court-ordered substance abuse treatment program
But not all DWIs are made equal: aggravated DWI occurs when you have a .16 BAC or above, refuse to take a breath or blood test, or are involved in a crash that caused bodily injury while driving impaired.
The punishments are a little complex, so follow along:
  • If no bodily harm or death is caused, four days of imprisonment will be added to the standard 2nd DWI sentence.
  • When a DWI involves great bodily harm, it's a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies of this type carry three years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
  • Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence is considered "homicide by vehicle" and a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies involving deaths carry 15 years in prison and $12,500 in fines.
Something else worth noting: Refusing a breath or blood test will only make matters worse. Not only will you still be subject to all the stated punishments (depending on circumstance), but your license will be confiscated on the spot and you'll probably receive a one-year
license suspension
Key Takeaway There is a lot of nuance in New Mexico’s DUI laws. As a result, even slight impairments can net you a conviction.

How much does a 2nd DUI in New Mexico cost in the long run?

So far, we’ve covered the punishments on the front end of a 2nd DUI conviction. But what about the downstream aftermath? 
Well, when you add it all up, you could be paying well over $10,000 for this ignorant mistake. Don’t believe us? Let’s break it down.

Fees, penalty assessments, and DUI school

According to
New Mexico Statute 66-8-102(T)
, you may be responsible for additional costs: “any other fine or fee that may be imposed pursuant to the conviction or other disposition of the offense under this section, the court may order the offender to pay the costs of any court-ordered screening and treatment programs.”
These legal terms don’t define an exact amount, which leaves the door open for exponential fines to be piled on.

Alternative transportation

Asking your family and friends for a ride every time—stressful. Taking public transportation—inconvenient. Using ride-share services—costly
Every way you look at it, there’s really no way to substitute the luxury and efficiency of having your own vehicle. If your license is suspended due to a second DUI in New Mexico, however,  you won’t have any choice but to make alternate arrangements.

Increased car insurance costs 

A DUI (let alone a 2nd offense) doesn’t exactly communicate to your insurance provider that you’re a safe and responsible driver. Providing you coverage is a considerable risk, so they raise rates by an average of 80% to level the playing field.
Apply that to the average New Mexico car insurance rate of $1,935 per year, and you’re looking at paying an extra $1,550 annually to maintain just the minimum state-required insurance. 

How to avoid jail time for a 2nd DUI in New Mexico

If you’re facing a 2nd DUI conviction in New Mexico, there are a couple of steps you can take to ease the pain of punishment. Here’s what to do: 
  • Hire a defense attorney. Bringing down jail time in a 2nd DUI conviction is difficult, and you’ll need a skilled advocate on your side to navigate this situation. 
  • Plead guilty to a “wet reckless” charge. This lesser offense carries lighter penalties and can help you avoid jail time.
It should be known, that some circumstances restrict the use of a plea bargain for a 2nd DUI case. But if your lawyer has the green light to try, they could potentially lower the potential punishments to five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $100 in fines under a “wet reckless” charge.

How to find affordable car insurance in New Mexico after a 2nd DUI

Before you can get your license back following a 2nd DUI, you must file an
SR-22 certificate
with the DMV to prove your
car insurance coverage
complies with New Mexico state law.
Shopping for affordable quotes with an SR-22 certificate on your record can be a daunting task. Insurance companies aren’t exactly lining up to insure “high-risk” drivers, which is a label you’ll have practically forever as a New Mexico driver (remember, it’s on your record for 55 years).
But not all hope is lost! The best way to navigate a hostile insurance market after a DUI is with a
trusted comparison tool
on your side—a broker like
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No, only after your fourth DUI offense will you be charged with a felony. However, causing great bodily harm or death due to impaired driving can instantly escalate your charge to felony status, regardless of how many DUIs you’ve had.
Yes, 96 hours to 364 days of jail time is mandatory for a 2nd DUI in New Mexico.
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