DUI Law in Albuquerque, NM
What Is a DUI?
DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.
Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.
Possible Consequences of an Albuquerque, New Mexico DUI Conviction
Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get an Albuquerque law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.
If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Albuquerque, NM you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. In New Mexico, a DUI is typically referred to as DWI. According to New Mexico’s Department of Transportation, fines can range from up to $500 for your first DWI, to up to $10,000 for an 8th offense. In addition, you will be responsible for approximately $200 in court costs.
However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:
- Any damage to property while driving under the influence
- If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
- Cases that include child endangerment
- Any court costs associated with your case
Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in Albuquerque. If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.
If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.
In New Mexico, a first DWI offense can result in up to one year on probation. Probation can include a mandatory 24 hours of community service, alcohol abuse screening, and use of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year. In addition, probationary fees can amount to $150. For residents of Albuquerque, you will typically report to a probation officer at Bernalillo County Court, located at 401 Lomas Blvd NW. If you violate probation, your license suspension period could be increased, and you could end up serving jail time.
Drug and Alcohol Education Program
Following an Albuquerque, NM DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.
In New Mexico, your first DWI offense results in mandatory DWI school. In New Mexico, alcohol education programs are administered by the University of New Mexico Transportation Safety Center and require a $50 application fee. For Albuquerque residents, you can enroll in the state-approved Metropolitan Court DWI School. Once the course is completed and your suspension or revocation period is done, the cost to reinstate your license is typically $100.
The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.
Suspension or Loss of License
No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.
If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.
What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in Albuquerque, New Mexico?
If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:
Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With Albuquerque, NM DUI Law
Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Albuquerque DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.
Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws
Albuquerque, NM has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case.
Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing
You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In Albuquerque, New Mexico you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.
In New Mexico, you must request an administrative hearing within ten days of your arrest. You can hand deliver or mail the Request for Hearing form and $25 fee to the New Mexico Motor Vehicles Division. Otherwise, your driver’s license suspension begins 20 days after your arrest. If you live in Albuquerque, your hearing will typically be held at the Albuquerque Administrative Hearings Office, located at 505 Marquette Ave North West.
Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance
You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Albuquerque. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.
Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration
You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.
Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Albuquerque, NM lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across New Mexico state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!