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New Mexico Attorney Cynthia Payne

New Mexico DWI Deferred Adjudication

Heavy fines, time in jail, and a permanent criminal record are heavy prices to pay for a single mistake on the roads.

But that’s what can happen if you are convicted of DWI in New Mexico. Penalties are harsh and it is never a wise move to simply accept the charge and the punishment.

After all, a criminal record follows you around for life.

With the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer, you have a chance of the case being dismissed or acquittal at trial.

Even if you are likely to be convicted but it is your first offense, a DWI lawyer may be able to argue for deferred adjudication (sometimes called a deferred sentence).

Speak to a DWI lawyer at New Mexico Legal Group for a free case evaluation. Call 505.876.9175.

Standard penalties for DWI/DUI in New Mexico

The standard penalties for DWI in New Mexico vary depending on whether it is your first (or subsequent) conviction.

First-offense DWI

Possible penalties for a first-time DWI conviction in New Mexico include:

  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine

In reality, few first-time offenders serve any time in jail for a simple first-time DWI, unless it is an aggravated DWI offense. However, the following penalties are mandatory:

  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Completion of DWI school
  • Alcohol screening and completion of any required counseling
  • 24 hours of community service
  • Completion of a Victim Impact Panel
  • Addiction treatment (if recommended).
  • Revocation of your drivers’ license

Second-offense DWI

Second DWI convictions may carry the following penalties:

  • Up to a year (less a day) in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000 ($500 mandatory)
  • Probation for between one and five years

Mandatory penalties include:

  • Jail sentence of 96 hours (192 hours for an aggravated offense)
  • Minimum 48 hours of community service
  • Installation of an IID during the probationary period

Third-offense DWI

Third-time DWI penalties include:

  • Mandatory 30 days in jail (90 days for an aggravated offense)
  • Fines of up to $1,000 (mandatory $750 fine)
  • Mandatory minimum of 96 hours of community service
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Installation of an IID
  • Probation between one and five years

A third-time DWI is still treated as a misdemeanor, like a first or second offense.

However, any subsequent offenses will be sentenced as felonies, which means harsher punishments.

What is a deferred adjudication/sentence?

If your attorney can argue for a deferred sentence or deferred adjudication, it means you won’t have to serve jail time if you’re compliant with a one-year probationary period.

This is most common in first-offense DWI cases in New Mexico and may be offered as part of the pre-trial plea-bargaining process.

The deferred sentence requires an admission of guilt from the defendant. It remains a criminal sentence but it is deferred (put off) until the completion of the probation period, upon which the charges may be dismissed.

This probationary period means that rather than being behind bars, a defendant can continue to work, resume family life, and be a productive member of the community.

However, the privilege usually comes with strict terms of probation, including regular meetings with a probation or parole officer, attendance at any required counseling, drug or alcohol programs, and/or community service (see the First Offender Program below).

If the terms of probation are violated, the judge may order the defendant to serve the jail sentence immediately. If the defendant commits another crime, the first offense still counts as a prior offense.

Note that if you successfully complete a deferred sentence, it means that it is technically not a conviction (and you will receive an order of dismissal), however, the underlying charges will remain and are likely to appear in a background check.

You are more likely to secure a deferred sentence if you have an experienced New Mexico DWI lawyer who is accustomed to the local court system and in liaising with the prosecution.

DWI First Offender Program in New Mexico

For a simple, first-time DWI offender in New Mexico, jail time is unlikely and a deferred sentence possible if you are prepared to plead guilty.

The First Offender Program may include deferred sentencing for one year and supervised probation.

The following conditions are imposed as part of the program:

  • Completion of DWI school
  • Screening for alcohol and drug abuse
  • Completion of a Victim Impact Panel
  • Counseling and treatment (if recommended following screening)
  • Random drug and alcohol testing (if necessary following screening)
  • No consumption or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Installation of an IID for one year (you can drive but not if you have consumed alcohol)
  • Community service (24 hours)
  • Payment of court costs
  • Payment of probation costs (may be waived by the court)

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Have you been charged with DWI in New Mexico?

A deferred or adjudicated sentence may be the best outcome for you depending on the precise circumstances of your DWI.

It’s best to discuss your options during a free case evaluation with one of the DWI attorneys at New Mexico Legal Group. Call 505.876.9175.
Albuquerque

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