DWI - DUI Criminal Case
Driving While Intoxicated
When someone is arrested in New Mexico for driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs (DWI or DUI) there are potentially three separate cases against them. The cases are totally separate proceedings and Frechette & Associates will provide the representation needed for all stages. Rod and Michelle Frechette have attended hundreds of hours of national conferences in DWI defense and are some of the most experienced DWI defense attorneys in the state of New Mexico. Todd Hotchkiss, a firm associate, is a leader in criminal DWI appeals. The majority of our caseload consists of DWI offenses. Please see our extensive credentials in About Us.
The DWI or DUI Criminal Case
The criminal case imposes penalties for DWI which vary depending on the criminal conviction history of the charged individual. DWI includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication. Aggravated DWI is charged when a person:
- Refuses to take the breath or blood test upon arrest.
- Has a blood/alcohol level of .16 or greater, or
- Causes an accident with injuries.
|Penalties for 1st offense||Penalties for 2nd offense||Penalties for 3rd offense||Felony penalties for 4th offense and above|
In order to reinstate driving privileges after 5 years or more of revocation you must petition the district court. These district court requests can be made every five years.
Some jurisdictions have electronic monitoring programs (usually ankle bracelets) which would enable you to live at home and serve a jail sentence. There are special criteria which must be fulfilled in order to qualify for this program. A judge may also order it as a condition of pretrial release. Time in this type of program counts as credit towards any jail sentence. You may be subject to urine and breath testing, curfew and other conditions as well.
Some jurisdictions have DWI/Drug Court for people convicted of a subsequent DWI offense. It is usually voluntary and includes an average of a year or more intensive outpatient counseling as well as frequent contact with probation, court personnel and judges. Those who successfully complete the program sometimes receive credit for time served and for programs completed.
The Vehicle Forfeiture Case
The vehicle being driven at the time of the DWI may be seized after a repeat offense of DWI or Driving While Revoked in some jurisdictions, especially Albuquerque. A civil hearing must be requested within five days of the notice to avoid automatic forfeiture of the vehicle. The vehicle can be seized even if you do not own it.
The MVD License Revocation Hearing
The MVD civil hearing seeks to take away the DWI offender's privilege to drive more quickly than the criminal trial, whether or not you are convicted of the crime. You can lose your driving privilege for six months or 1 year in this proceeding. The hearing must be requested in writing within 10 days of arrest and sent to Santa Fe MVD with a $25 check or money order, otherwise you will be automatically revoked 20 days after arrest.
6 month revocation:
- If an individual is over 21 years old and the breath/blood test result was a .08 or greater.
1 year revocation:
- Refusal to take the breath/blood test; or
- License was previously revoked; or
- Person less than 21 years old and the test result is a .02 or higher.
Driving on a revoked license will result in arrest and penalties of 7 to 364 days jail, $300 to $1000 fine, an additional one year loss of license, and potential vehicle immobilization or forfeiture. Driving privileges will not be restored until the period of revocation has expired, application to MVD is made and all fees paid. In order to qualify for a driving privilege after a license revocation of 5 years or more, an order of reinstatement from a district court must first be obtained.
The interlock license may be court ordered as a condition of release from jail, as part of the criminal sentence, or may be obtained so the individual can continue driving while revoked. This license option is available to all who are revoked. Service providers to install and maintain a breath alcohol ignition interlock device on a vehicle are available across New Mexico. See the NM MVD hyperlink in this site for more information.