In the U.S., each state is left to determine its own laws and regulations regarding DWI offenses. However, in in the fight for sober streets, a handful of states stand out as examples of excellent policies. New Mexico, for example, was the first state to pass an all-offender ignition interlock program for DWI offenders that includes clear guidelines for use of the device, including the mandatory time requirement for each offense. New Mexico has a “cut and dry” approach to ignition interlock devices, until you realize that a DWI offender could lose his or her vehicle because of driving while intoxicated, eliminating the chance of installing the device on a vehicle.
New Mexico, we clearly have a problem.
If DWI offenders have their vehicles repossessed as a result of the crime, there is no way they can install and maintain an ignition interlock on that vehicle. They cannot easily move forward in their recovery from the DWI, as they have no car to get them to and from work, court or other important appointments. The law regarding repossessing personal property in New Mexico is not specific to drunk driving, but it can happen, and perhaps lawmakers need to take a closer look at the effects of a car repossession versus an ignition interlock installation.
With risks that include fatal accidents, injuries and losing a vehicle, it makes no sense for anyone to drive while intoxicated. However, people make mistakes and deserve a chance to redeem their lives once the dust settles. After a DWI in New Mexico, that rehabilitation and recovery that an ignition interlock offers is a lot easier when the vehicle owned by the offender is safely in a driveway or parking lot, close to the offender’s home. A repossession takes away the chances of an ignition interlock device, and a success story. There is no reason to remove the vehicle – just the ability to operate it while intoxicated.