No, you should not drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. You could be legally drunk after consuming as little as one glass of wine. The size of the glass, your weight, how you metabolize alcohol, and other factors can affect whether you would become intoxicated. Your best strategy is not to drink and drive to avoid being charged with DWI or causing a car accident.
What Is DWI in New Mexico?
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense in New Mexico. A person can be charged with DWI for driving or being in physical control of a motor vehicle in these situations:
- They drive when their blood alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher.
- They drive when their ability to drive is impaired due to the consumption of any amount of alcohol or drugs, even if their BAC is lower than 0.08 percent.
Commercial drivers can be charged with DWI if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. Drivers under 18 years old are considered legally drunk if their BAC is 0.02 percent or higher.
Individuals face harsh consequences if they are convicted of DWI in New Mexico. For a first offense, their punishment could include the following:
- Jail and fine. They may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $500 or both
- Community service. They would be required to perform 24 to 48 hours of community service.
- Rehabilitation program. They would have to complete a driver rehabilitation program for alcohol.
- Driver’s license suspension. Their driver’s license would be suspended for one year. When their driving privileges are restored, they may only be able to drive with an ignition interlock device for one year.
What Should You Do if You Are in an Auto Crash With a Drunk Driver?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should take the following steps to build a winning case so that you receive the maximum recovery from the negligent motorist’s insurance company:
- Obtain prompt medical care. You should be examined by a doctor within 72 hours of your collision—even if you do not believe you were hurt. This protects your health if you suffered an injury and avoids disputes with the insurance company about the cause and severity of your injuries.
- Contact the police. Call the police at the crash scene, and obtain a copy of the police report. It can contain helpful information, such as details of how the accident occurred, initial breathalyzer test results, the officer’s conclusions about who caused the collision, and whether the drunk driver was arrested for DWI or received a traffic citation.
- Look for signs of intoxication. Look for signs that the driver is intoxicated, such as open alcohol containers, the driver’s slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, or their use of mouthwash, gum, or eye drops before the police arrive. Report anything you observe to the law enforcement officer.
- Collect evidence. You will need proof that the drunk driver’s negligence caused your crash. Helpful evidence to collect includes photos of the damage to the vehicles, crash scene, skid marks, and your injuries, eyewitness contact information and statements, results of a breath or blood alcohol test, and vehicle event data information. You should also obtain the contact information for the driver and their insurance company.
- Retain a lawyer. You should hire a skilled car accident lawyer immediately after the collision to file your claim and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company.
Were you or a family member injured in a drunk driving collision in Roswell or Southeast New Mexico? Our experienced car accident lawyers are here to explain your options and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve under New Mexico law. Call our Roswell office at 575-300-4000 or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.