DUI Law in Santa Fe, 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 Santa Fe, 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 a Santa Fe, New Mexico
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 a Santa Fe law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.
If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Santa Fe, New Mexico, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. Under New Mexico law, DUI fines in Santa Fe can range from $500 to $10,000.
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 Santa Fe. 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.
The Department of Corrections is responsible for handling DUI probations in New Mexico. You will most likely be assigned to an officer at one of the two Santa Fe offices in Region I. Your Santa Fe DUI probation can involve alcohol treatment, fines, and regular contact with your probation officer. In addition, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Any violation of your probation can result in additional penalties, including jail time.
Drug and Alcohol Education Program
Following a Santa Fe 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.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Santa Fe, you will typically be required to take an education course. In addition, you may be referred to a treatment program. The education component in Santa Fe is conducted at the Santa Fe Police Department DWI School. The course is 12 hours, usually taken over 3 consecutive Saturdays, and costs $175.
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 Santa Fe, 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 DUI Law
Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Santa Fe 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
Santa Fe, New Mexico 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 Santa Fe, 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.
The New Mexico Administrative Hearings Office has jurisdiction over license suspensions resulting from a DUI arrest in Santa Fe. In order to contest the suspension, you must request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. There is a hearing office in Santa Fe, and your hearing should be scheduled within 90 days of your request.
Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance
You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Santa Fe. 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 Santa Fe, New Mexico
Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Santa Fe 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!