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Clients’ Rights

SHOULD YOU PLEAD GUILTY TO A DUI / DWI?

Deciding whether or not to take a plea to a DUI / DWI is a very important matter.

When you plead guilty or no contest you, sign a form that says you are giving up all your constitutional trial rights and the right to appeal. This means you cannot take back the plea once you have plead and been sentenced.

At trial you would have the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the right to bring evidence, the right to testify, the right to be presumed innocent, the right to have the prosecution bear the burned of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to a trial. All these rights are waived when you plead guilty or no contest.

Once you plead guilty or no contest, you are convicted of the offense. This counts as a conviction and when later asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must answer "yes." A plea equals a conviction-just as if a jury found you guilty.

Once convicted for a DUI / DWI you can face probation, time in jail, or time in prison. You will also face a number of requirements like DUI School, community service, attending a victim impact panel, and most onerously...and interlock device must be installed on every vehicle you drive.

Once convicted of a DUI / DWI, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your regular license and the only way to drive will be to get an interlock license, which requires any vehicle you are driving have an interlock device installed. Beyond that, the Court virtually always requires that you install an interlock devise as part of the sentence.

The following is a table with New Mexico's DUI / DWI penalties:

1st Offense MISDEMEANOR
  • 6 months to 1 year license revocation (1 year if under 21)
  • Up to 90 days jail.
  • Mandatory: DWI school, alcohol evaluation, ignition interlock for 1 year, community service.
  • Other: treatment
2st Offense MISDEMEANOR
  • 2-year license revocation.
  • Up to 364 days jail, 96 hours mandatory.
  • Up to $1,000 fine, $500 mandatory
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, community service, treatment, ignition interlock for 2 years.
  • Other: Up to 5 years probation.
3rd Offense MISDEMEANOR
  • 3-year license revocation.
  • Up to 364 days jail, mandatory 30 days.
  • Up to $1,000 fine, $750 mandatory .
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, community service, treatment, ignition interlock for 3 years.
  • Other: Up to 5 years probation.
4th Offense FELONY 4th DEGREE
  • Lifetime license revocation with 5-year court review.
  • Up to 18 months prison, 6 months mandatory.
  • Up to $5,000 fine.
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, treatment, lifetime ignition interlock with 5-year court review.
5th Offense FELONY 4th DEGREE
  • Lifetime license revocation with 5-year court review.
  • Up to 2 years prison, 1 year mandatory.
  • Up to $5,000 fine.
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, treatment, lifetime ignition interlock with 5-year court review.
6th Offense FELONY 3rd DEGREE
  • Lifetime license revocation with 5-year court review.
  • Up to 30 months prison, 18 months mandatory.
  • Up to $5,000 fine.
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, treatment, lifetime ignition interlock with 5-year court review.
7th or Subsequent Offense FELONY 3rd DEGREE
  • Lifetime license revocation with 5-year court review.
  • Up to 3-year prison, 2-year mandatory.
  • Up to $5,000 fine.
  • Other mandatory penalties: alcohol evaluation, treatment, lifetime ignition interlock with 5-year court review.
Additional to DWI
Aggravated DWI .16 BAC or above, refusal to take BAC test, or cause bodily injury while DWI
  • 1st offense, mandatory: additional 2 days jail.
  • 2nd offense, mandatory: additional 4 days jail.
  • 3rd offense, mandatory: additional 60 days jail.
Driving While Revoked for DWI MISDEMEANOR
  • 1-year revocation added to current revocation period.
  • Up to one year in jail, 7 days mandatory.
  • Up to $1,000 fine; $300 mandatory.
  • Other: 30 days immobilization of vehicle driven by offender.
Other
Selling or Giving Alcohol to a Minor FELONY 4th DEGREE
  • To knowingly sell, serve or give alcoholic beverages to a minor, or to permit a minor to consume alcoholic beverages, or to assist a minor to buy alcoholic beverages.
  • Does not apply to parents serving their own children in their home, or to an adult spouse of a minor.
  • Does not apply to the use of alcohol in religious services.

* Minor here means someone under 21 years of age.

If you are charged with DUI / DWI you need a criminal defense lawyer. You can contact McGraw & Strickland at (575) 323-1529

Las Cruces, NM

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McGraw & Strickland, LLC
165 West Lucero Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Phone: 575-523-4321
Fax: 575-680-1200
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