Albuquerque Repeat Offender Defense Attorneys
Repeat DWI/DUI Offender Defense Lawyers Serving all of New Mexico
For citizens who have been arrested for DWI and are being charged for their first offense, the penalties are far more lenient than those being charged for multiple offenses. That is not to say the penalties for DWI offenses are not strong; they often carry jail time, steep fines, and a revocation of driver’s licenses even for first time offenders. If the driver had a high BAC, then they may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed. However, the consequences for repeat offenders are much harsher.
This is not without good cause. Not only is it clear that repeat offenders have not learned anything from their experiences, but they are often the most common perpetrators of the crime. Roughly one third of all drunk drivers arrested are repeat offenders. Furthermore, the average drunk driver has driven while intoxicated on 80 occasions before they are arrested for the first time.
Statistics have also shown that suspending a drunk driver’s license does little to stop that person from driving. Up to 75 percent of drunk drivers who have had their licenses suspended for previous infractions will continue to drive, and some continue to drive drunk with their suspended license.
If a person is convicted for drunk driving for the second or third time, then he or she will have to pay much steeper fines, serve certain jail time, and have their driver’s license revoked for up to three years. Second time offenders will begin to see the harsher punishments reserved for repeat offenders. After all, because repeat offenders are the most likely to continue drinking and driving, it is only natural to hope that greater punishments will be incentives to not drive drunk.
Repeat offenders will also have to attend mandatory sessions to assess their drinking problem and begin treatment. Alcohol education courses will be required, and often times the driver’s vehicle will be immobilized or impounded for up to 30 days. At the least, an ignition interlock device will be required. An ignition interlock license will likely be the only type of driver’s license that the driver will be able to obtain until the time of their revocation is complete. At this point, the driver may apply to get another driver’s license.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the other New Mexico cities, the fourth offense of DWI is considered to be a fourth degree felony. This means that the driver will have their license revoked permanently and will face all of the possible sentencing that a fourth degree felony entails.
If a driver is arrested while driving with a revoked license, then the penalties can be quite severe. There are a minimum 7 days of jail time and a mandatory $300 fine. The maximum allowable penalty in this case is a year of jail time and a $1000 fine. While the courts rarely sentence a person to the maximum allowable penalties, even a minimum stay in jail is best avoided.
In the majority of cases, courts will not give convicted DWI offenders the maximum allowable sentences. Instead, they will frequently choose the minimum sentences, often because the offender had the help and advice of strong legal counsel. Some of the larger courts, in Santa Fe for example, may decide to give stronger sentences to repeat offenders, but many manage to get off comparatively lightly. The ones who do not have good legal counsel, on the other hand, will almost always serve worse or stronger sentences than those who hired experienced attorneys.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is New Mexico’s “lookback period”?
New Mexico is one of several states that has no lookback period. This means that any previous DWI will count against you, no matter how long ago it occurred. If you were convicted of DWI in 1979, for example, and are arrested again for DWI in 2017, it will be considered a second offense.
What happens if I am convicted of DWI while holding only an out-of-state driver’s license?
- New Mexico will notify the state that issued your driver’s license of your DWI conviction.
- The state that issued your driver’s license will then suspend your license for the period mandated by its own state law.
- New Mexico will forbid you from driving in New Mexico under any state’s driver’s license.
Am I legally required to take a field sobriety test?
A “field sobriety test” means an exercise such as walking a straight line or touching your nose with your forefinger while your eyes are closed. You may refuse to do this without penalty. Nevertheless, the officer will then demand that you submit to a breath, blood or urine test. If you refuse that, your driver’s license will be suspended even if you are not convicted of DWI.
Can the police confiscate my car for multiple DWIs?
No, New Mexico law does not allow confiscation of your vehicle for multiple DWIs, as some other states do. It can forbid you from driving it, however, or require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device.
How many beers can I have before I am considered legally drunk in New Mexico?
Whatever number it takes to get your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) up to 0.08. That depends on your gender, your body weight, how much food you have in your stomach and other factors. You can be arrested for DWI even with a BAC of below 0.08 if you show evidence of impaired ability.
I have been charged with fourth-offense DWI. Can a plea bargain help me avoid a felony conviction?
Not likely. In New Mexico, it is nearly impossible to plea bargain a DWI down to a lesser charge, because New Mexico has enacted an anti-plea bargaining statute. You might be better off pleading not guilty and seeking an acquittal if you have a reasonable defense.
What is an aggravated DWI?
You can be charged with aggravated DWI if:
- Your BAC is 0.16 or higher;
- You caused bodily injury to someone else because of intoxicated driving; or
- You refused a blood, breath or alcohol test in violation of the Implied Consent Act, and you were convicted of DWI anyway.
Conviction of aggravated DWI carries increased penalties.
What is the “rising BAC” defense?
Since it takes a certain period of time for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream, you might argue that you drank a lot immediately before being pulled over, but the alcohol wasn’t absorbed until later, before you were tested. You can then assert that your BAC didn’t exceed the legal limit until after you were pulled over.
Contact us today
For anyone seeking the assistance or advice of experienced criminal law attorneys in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contact us at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices.