How Much a DWI Will Cost You in the Land of Enchantment
When it comes to drinking and driving, the state of New Mexico takes a very harsh stance when it comes to those who are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Regardless of where in the state the infraction occurs – Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, or in any other city – the punishments that will be faced are serious and sometimes difficult to overcome. While jail sentences and license suspension are steep, it is really the cost of drinking and driving individuals should take into consideration.
What Penalties Will I Face for DWI in New Mexico?
Each state handles the crime of Driving Under the Influence in its own way and will have its own set of penalties and fines for those who are found guilty. In the state of New Mexico, there are very specific penalties offenders will face, and these penalties will vary depending on the number of previous offenses. For first time offenders, the penalties below are what they will need to contend with should they be found guilty of driving while intoxicated:
- Up to 90 Days in Jail
- Fines Up to $500
- License Suspension Up to 1 Year
- Having to Install/Maintain an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
It is important to keep in mind these are the penalties for first time offenders, or those who have no previous DUI offenses. The state of New Mexico does not have a lookback period like a number of other states which means, if individuals have any previous DUI offenses, their most recent offense will be considered an elevated issue, meaning higher and harsher penalties overall.
Implied Consent Law in New Mexico
New Mexico also practices what is known as an implied consent law. This means as a condition of having a driver’s license, the driver automatically consents to having a chemical test done to determine his or her Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) should he or she be suspected of drinking and driving. Drivers do have the option to refuse this test, but it will result in an immediate, automatic license revocation for a period of one year regardless of how many previous offenses or refusals the individual has on his or her record.
What You Will Pay for DWI Before You Are Convicted
When many of us think about the financial repercussions of DUI in New Mexico, we often think about the high fines used as penalties for being convicted. The truth is, a DWI will cost an offender a great deal more than a simple fine and the cost could begin as being pulled over. Should an individual be pulled over and arrested for suspicion of DWI, his or her vehicle will be towed to the local impound lot. In order to get the vehicle back, the individual will need to pay for the towing and storage fees, which could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the situation.
Should there be aggravated circumstances associated with the crime, like evading police, having a minor in the car, or showing well above the legal BAC limit of 0.08 percent, it may be necessary for the offender to be booked into the local jail. When this happens, bail will generally be set as a condition of release, meaning the bail will need to be paid in order to get out of jail. Bail for an aggravated DUI will fall between $500 and $5,000 – if the offender cannot pay this on his or her own, he or she will often need to borrow money from family member or friends or hire a bail bondsman to get out of jail.
The fines and penalties associated with being convicted of DWI are harsh and can often negatively impact an individual’s life for a number of years after the incident. With this in mind, it is no surprise that many people who are charged with DUI seek the legal counsel of a knowledgeable DUI attorney in their state. The state of New Mexico does not allow plea bargaining for DWI charges, so having a lawyer is important for those who wish to beat a conviction. A good lawyer will often cost anywhere between $1,000 and $15,000 depending on how the pay structure is set up.
What You Will Pay for DWI After You Are Convicted
If the case does not go in the driver’s favor and they are ultimately found guilty, they will then have to face the penalties that were outlined above if they are first time offenders. As mentioned, each state will have different penalties for those who are convicted of DWI and in addition to different penalties, it is also important to keep in mind that the penalties tend to get more severe with the number of previous DWI offenses the individual has – those who are repeat offenders are punished more severely in hopes it will discourage further drinking and driving behavior.
Once the offenders have been convicted, they will likely see a change in their car insurance. Since drinking and driving is a very risky behavior, car insurance companies will generally raise a policy holder’s rate in order to cover the higher likelihood he or she will need to make an insurance claim. While almost all insurance companies will raise an offender’s rate after DWI, how much that rate increases will be determined by the insurance company, based on it specific mathematical calculations.
Although the increase to car insurance will vary from one provider to the next, insurance companies in New Mexico are about average when it comes to raising insurance rates when compared to other states. On average, and individual can expect to see insurance rates increase by about 75 percent, which will tack an additional $80 to $90 onto monthly premium payments. It is important to remember this is the average for providers in the state – some companies will raise rates more and others will raise them less depending on the specific circumstances and policies.
How You Can Avoid the Cost of DWI
When all is said and done, being convicted of Driving Under the influence could cost someone almost $40,000 not including lost wages and other expenses we have not discussed. The financial repercussions of DWI alone should be enough to discourage drinking and driving, not to mention the immense risk this behavior poses to the driver and everyone around him or her. In order to avoid the cost of DWI guilty convictions, simply do not drink and drive – always drink responsibly and find a sober ride home after a night out.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.