New Mexico Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in New Mexico?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. In New Mexico, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is
    .02 or greater.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in New Mexico

  • A first-time offender faces imprisonment of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $500, or both. These offenders are also required to perform 24 to 48 hours of community service work. They may also be required to pay an additional fine of $300. First-time offenders must also complete a screening program and attend a driver rehabilitation program for alcohol. The driver’s license revocation period is one year.
  • A person who commits a second DWI faces imprisonment of up to 364 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. At a minimum, the offender will be required to serve 96 hours in jail and pay a fine of $500. In addition, 48 hours of community service work is required. Those who commit a second offense are also required to participate in and complete one of the following: not less than 28 days in an in-patient, residential or in-custody substance abuse program; not less than 90 days in an out-patient treatment program; a drug court program; or any other substance abuse treatment program ordered by the judge. The driver’s license revocation period is two years.
  • A person who commits a third DWI faces imprisonment of up to 364 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. At a minimum, the offender will be required to serve 30 days in jail and pay a $750 fine. Those who commit a third offense are also required to participate in and complete one of the following: not less than 28 days in an in-patient, residential or in-custody substance abuse program; not less than 90 days in an out-patient treatment program; a drug court program; or any other substance abuse treatment program ordered by the judge. The driver’s license revocation period is three years.
  • A person who commits a fourth DWI will be sentenced to six to 18 months in prison. Fourth-time offenders are also subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is for life, subject to a five-year review.
  • A person who commits a fifth DWI will be sentenced to one to two years in prison. Fifth-time offenders are also subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is for life, subject to a five-year review.
  • A person who commits a sixth DWI will be sentenced to 18 to 30 months in prison. Sixth-time offenders are also subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is for life, subject to a five-year review.
  • A person who commits a seventh DWI will be sentenced to two to three years in prison. Seventh-time offenders are also subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is for life, subject to a five-year review.

Additional Penalties for Aggravated DWI

A person commits an aggravated DWI when he or she has a BAC of .16 or more or causes bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence. In addition to other penalties associated with New Mexico’s DWI laws, the following penalties apply to those who commit an aggravated DWI:

  • A first-time offender will be sentenced to not less than 48 hours in jail. If the offender fails to complete court-ordered community service or DWI school within specified time limits, the offender will be sentenced to an additional 48 hours in jail.
  • A second-time offender will be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 96 hours. If the offender fails to complete court-ordered community service or a treatment program ordered by the judge, the offender will be sentenced to an additional seven days in jail.

Ignition Interlock

In addition to other penalties associated with New Mexico’s DWI laws, when a person is convicted of DWI, he or she will be required to obtain an ignition interlock license and have an ignition interlock device installed on all vehicles driven by the offender following restoration of driving privileges for the following time periods:

  • First-time offenders must use an ignition interlock device for one year.
  • Second-time offenders must use an ignition interlock device for two years.
  • Third-time offenders must use an ignition device for three years.
  • Those who commit a fourth or subsequent DWI must use an ignition interlock device for the rest of their lives. These offenders, however, may apply for removal of the system five years after the date of conviction and every five years thereafter. Removal may be ordered for good cause shown. Under New Mexico law, “good cause” may include an alcohol screening and proof from the interlock vendor that the person has not had violations of the interlock device.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties that may apply under New Mexico’s DWI laws, a commercial driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year if a chemical test reveals he was driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04 or more or a non-commercial vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more. Additionally, a commercial driver who is convicted of driving a commercial vehicle for the first time while under the influence will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is at least three years. A second offense will result in disqualification of the commercial license for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of not less than 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, a person under 21 who drives with a BAC of .02 or more faces revocation of his or her driver’s license.

What is New Mexico’s Tort Liability for Alcohol Liquor Sales or Service Statute?

In New Mexico, licensed drinking establishments that sell alcohol to an intoxicated person when it was reasonably apparent to the server that the person was intoxicated and the server knew that the person was intoxicated may be civilly liable for injuries suffered by third persons. This law prohibits the intoxicated person from collecting any damages against the drinking establishment for his or her own injuries, unless the establishment acted with gross negligence and reckless disregard to the safety of the intoxicated person.

This law also permits a drinking establishment to be liable for injuries suffered for negligently serving or selling alcohol to a minor if it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the server knew, or that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would know, that the person who received the alcohol was a minor and that the establishment’s unlawful sale of alcohol was the cause of the injury.

Under this law, a social host can be held liable to any person for injury caused by the intoxication of a social guest if the alcohol was provided in reckless disregard to the rights of others, including the social guest.

Liability under New Mexico’s Tort Liability Liquor Sales or Service Statute is limited to $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of one person in each transaction or occurrence, $100,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons in a transaction or occurrence, and $20,000 for property damage.

Selling or Giving Alcohol to a Person Under 21

In New Mexico, it is a crime for a licensed drinking establishment to sell alcohol to a person under 21. A violation of this statute subjects the drinking establishment to suspension of its liquor license and a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, the server faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. It is also a crime for a person to give alcohol to a minor. A person who violates this statute faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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