You Can Be Charged With DWI If You Are Under .08 In New Mexico

breathalyzerWhen most people head out for an evening of fun, they don’t set out with the intention of ending the evening in handcuffs due to a driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest. A lot of people are now using personal breathalyzers to try to stay under the legal limit of .08, but as many are finding out, in certain states you can be arrested for DWI even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under .08.

In New Mexico, police officers can arrest you for DWI if they feel you are impaired to the slightest degree. How do they decide if you’re impaired? Once stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over, an officer will speak to you and attempt to detect the scent of alcohol or look inside your vehicle for open containers. They may ask you to submit to field sobriety tests that include walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet, and if they feel they have cause, they’ll ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. The results of the breathalyzer will determine exactly what your BAC is, and at that point, even if your BAC is lower than .08, the police officer may arrest you for DWI.

No matter what your BAC, if you are arrested and convicted of DWI in New Mexico, you’ll spend up to 90 days in jail, pay fines up to $500, lose your driver’s license for a period of one year, and must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.

Your personal breathalyzer might say you’re well below the legal limit of .08, but drinking any amount of alcohol makes it unsafe to drive a vehicle and could net you a DWI conviction. For more information on DWI and ignition interlock laws in New Mexico, visit Guardian Interlock’s New Mexico page.

New Mexico Has The Most Ignition Interlocks Per Capita

ignition interlock Is it a good thing to be the state with the most ignition interlocks installed per capita than any other state? One man in New Mexico says yes, and he feels that New Mexico is reaping the benefits of changes to their driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws.

A recent survey by Dr.Dick Roth, an advocate for ending DWI in the state, showed that New Mexico had 57 ignition interlocks installed per 10,000 people. This number is higher than any other state, and that’s why New Mexico is seeing a drastic reduction in DWI arrests and fatal crashes.

Since changing their DWI laws in 2005, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that drunk driving deaths have dropped by 33%. Dr. Roth also believes that with so many ignition interlocks in use the roads are much safer for everyone, and he thinks that New Mexico DWI and ignition interlock laws are a good model for other states to follow.

In New Mexico, if you’re arrested for DWI and you’re a first time offender you’ll spend up to 90 days in jail, pay fines up to $500, lose your driver’s license for one year, and be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

It’s a really bad idea to be a repeat offender in the state – a four time or more offender will go to jail for 6 to 18 months, pay fines up to $5,000, and must use an ignition interlock for life. The offender has the option of applying for a review at the 5-year mark, and may be able to have their driver’s license privileges reinstated at that time.

All 50 states have some type of ignition interlock law, but more states are now following the trend of requiring them for first offenders. With more ignition interlocks in use, roads will be safer all across the country.

No Alcohol For Ignition Interlock Users In New Mexico?

Guardian InterlockNew Mexico might be taking ignition interlock and DUI laws to a new level in 2015. They’ve introduced a new bill called HB 30, and if passed, it’s going to take away the privilege of an ignition interlock user to purchase alcohol.

Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, New Mexico has proposed the following – anyone convicted of drunk driving who uses an ignition interlock device and has a state issued ignition interlock license should be banned from purchasing alcohol. To stop them from buying beer, wine, or spirits, a line would be added to their driver’s license that says ‘No Alcohol Sales.’ That mark would tell servers or those who work in liquor stores that the person may not purchase alcohol anywhere it is served or sold.

This is the second time a proposal to stop ignition interlock users from purchasing alcohol has been presented in New Mexico. A similar bill was passed in 2013, but was not approved by Senate Judiciary. This time around the bill has been rewritten, and state lawmakers who support it are hopeful it will be passed in 2015.

Rep. Egolf’s idea for the bill came after he watched a man at a gas station begin to drink alcohol after he blew into his ignition interlock device to start his vehicle. That’s one of the reasons why interlock users are required to take rolling retests. An interlock device rolling retest is designed to stop a drinking driver from drinking after having someone else start their vehicle for them, or if they decide to start their vehicle sober and then drive while drinking alcohol.

In addition to rolling retests, adding a “No Alcohol Sales” addition to an ignition interlock users’ driver’s license will work to stop interlock users in New Mexico who are determined to drink and drive. For more information on drinking and driving laws in New Mexico, visit the Guardian Interlock DUI and Ignition Interlock laws in New Mexico.

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