Though DUI/DWI laws vary from state to state, most states, including New Mexico, can agree that a person’s driving becomes impaired when he or she reaches and surpasses a blood alcohol content limit of .08%. However, though .08% is the standard limit, New Mexico law provides for some exceptions. As a resident of the great Land of Enchantment, it’s important that you thoroughly understand state laws so that a) you can avoid drunk driving and b) defend your rights should you find yourself facing DWI charges.
Legal Alcohol Limits in New Mexico
As previously mentioned, New Mexico recognizes a legal alcohol limit of .08% for most drivers. However, certain factors affect at which point certain individuals become intoxicated, including age and occupation. Additional limits worth noting are as follows:
- The legal alcohol limit for someone operating a commercial vehicle is .04%.
- The legal alcohol limit for an individual under the legal drinking age of 21 is .02%.
An officer will typically assess a driver’s BAC via a breathalyzer test, though some officers use other means, such as blood analyses and field sobriety tests.
“Impaired to the Slightest Degree”
Unfortunately for law-abiding citizens, the .08 legal limit may have little, if any, significance. New Mexico’s standard for legal impairment is “impaired to the slightest degree.” If an officer truly believes a person was impaired at the time of the stop, the courts are likely to agree with him or her. This is the case even if breath and blood tests reveal that the person’s BAC was below .08.
Though this standard has been met with great opposition, the courts — appellate courts included—have found the “impaired to the slightest degree” standard to be perfectly acceptable. This makes it difficult for defendants to argue their innocence and protect their constitutional rights.
Contact a Skilled Attorney As Soon After Your Arrest As Possible
In an effort to reduce the prevalence of DUIs throughout the state, New Mexico lawmakers have devised laws that make it difficult for defendants in DUI cases to defend their freedoms. A practiced and knowledgeable lawyer, such as ours at Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys at Law, PC, are familiar with the ins and outs of state laws as well as with what defenses have the best chance of succeeding. For the skilled representation your case deserves, contact our Albuquerque office today.