Across the country it is a crime to drink and drive. All 50 states define the legal limit for intoxication at the same .08 percent BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level. Beyond that limit most of the nation’s DWI laws become less similar, reflecting more the viewpoint of each individual state. In New Mexico, for example, implied consent violations actually trigger more consequences both in and out of court. Legally, that means if you refuse a BAC test at the time of your arrest, you’ll be charged with an aggravated DWI.
Aggravated DWI in New Mexico means more than a mandatory ignition interlock restriction.
New Mexico requires ignition interlock devices for all DWI convictions, so an aggravated DWI will just extend your time requirement with the device. On top of that, with an aggravated DWI conviction an offender will also face:
- Up to 90 days in prison.
- Up to $500 in fines.
- Probation (after release from prison) for up to a year.
- At least 24 hours of community service.
- Complete an alcohol screening.
- Attend DWI school.
If you refuse the BAC test, you also have administrative restrictions on your license. The police officer will immediately suspend your license through the DMV. If you don’t contest the suspension, you will have a 21-month license suspension that is separate from whatever criminal consequences are ahead of you.
Obviously, the solution here is to not drive while intoxicated in New Mexico to skip the criminal aggravated DWI consequences and those from the DMV. New Mexico is known for its tough stance on drunk driving, and many other states are following its lead, including adopting all-offender ignition interlock laws and administrative penalties for refusing BAC testing. While restrictive, there are good reasons for such laws, especially when those restrictions are proven to save lives each day in New Mexico and across the U.S.