One of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life is the day that they receive their driver’s license. Before receiving your New Mexico driver’s license, however, there are a number of tests t…Read More
Learn About DWI Risks With New Mexico’s MVD Express
Driving while intoxicated is the act of operating a motor vehicle after drinking the amount of alcohol necessary to elevate your blood alcohol content level beyond the legal limit. This reckless act is incredibly risky and carries severe repercussions that can affect you and the ones that you love most around you. Not only is driving while intoxicated extremely dangerous, it also comes with exorbitant penalties and fines that can take years to completely pay off. As you can see, DWIs carry a multitude of consequences which we will be talking about more in-depth today.
At MVD Express, we offer DWI services for those that have been convicted of driving while intoxicated. In fact, many people that are convicted of a DWI visit MVD Express to apply for and obtain their state interlock license. We know that long lines and oversized crowds can cause people to avoid the MVD altogether, which is why each of our 10 unique locations experience minimum wait times and the most in customer satisfaction. Thanks to our online wait time calculator, our customers can see which of our locations are least busy so that they can be helped promptly and efficiently. However, most of our customers are required to wait less than 15 minutes at any of our 10 locations, which is one of the many reasons why MVD Express has been a “Best of the City” award recipient from 2014 to 2017. If you are interested in reading about the risks associated with driving while intoxicated, continue reading more below.
DWI vs DUI
Depending on what state you currently live in, you may have either heard of the term “DUI” or “DWI.” While both of these terms appear to be similar, they vary in their meaning. Some states even use both terms to differentiate individuals impaired by alcohol and individuals impaired by drugs. A DWI, for example, is the act of driving while intoxicated. DWIs are strictly used for those who are impaired by the effects of alcohol and, depending on which state you live in, can be viewed as a far more serious charge than a DUI. On the other hand, DUIs are often issued to individuals who are suspected to have been driving under the influence of drugs.
However, New Mexico has a strict policy for first-time DWI offenders that can include up to three months in jail, license revocation, mandatory DWI school, and much more. These laws have been set in place as a means to curb drunk driving in the state of New Mexico, and for good reason. New Mexico’s history of alcohol abuse and drunk driving fatalities is well known, as the state led the country from 2006 to 2010 for alcohol-associated deaths. In fact, it was found that there were 51.2 deaths attributable to alcohol per 100,000 population in New Mexico between these years.
New Mexico DWI Statistics
In 2016, New Mexico drivers were ranked as the sixth-worst drivers in the entire country, a small step up from the previous year, where New Mexico was ranked as second-worst. This is partly due to the fact that New Mexico lead the country in bicycling and pedestrian deaths in 2015, however, there is a significant amount of data to suggest that drunken driving played a major role in the substantial amount of driver-related fatalities. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found that, “drivers with a blood-alcohol content of 0.01 or higher were involved in 144 of the state’s 383 fatal accidents that year.” This staggering statistic sheds light on New Mexico’s DWI problem, especially when taking into account that, in 2015, some form of alcohol was present in 38 percent of New Mexico’s fatal crashes.
Even more concerning is that New Mexico citizens are aware of the state’s longstanding problem with driving while intoxicated. In 2012, for example, the rate of alcohol-involved driving deaths in New Mexico totaled nearly 10 individuals, per 100,000 population. To put this shocking statistic into perspective, the national average for alcohol-involved driving deaths in 2012 totaled just 6.7 individuals, per 100,000 population. As you can see, New Mexico’s history of driving while intoxicated is well documented, and continues to be a serious problem for the Land of Enchantment.
How Alcohol Impairs Driving
While you may feel that you are able to drive properly after one drink, the truth is that one alcoholic beverage can take up to one hour to fully metabolize. This timeframe for metabolizing alcohol increases exponentially as you continue to consume alcoholic beverages throughout the night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 percent can lead to a minor loss of judgement, a decline in the ability to rapidly track a moving target, and a decline in the ability to effectively perform two tasks at once.
The effects of consuming alcoholic beverages become significantly more debilitating once your BAC reaches .05 to .08 percent. Those who choose to drive with an elevated BAC will find that they have difficulty steering, have problems maintaining consistent speeds, have an impaired perception of their surroundings, and will not be able to properly process information. It’s no wonder that from 2006 to 2010, it was estimated that at least 1,570 years of potential life were lost due to alcohol-involved fatalities. Driving while intoxicated has become such a widespread problem in New Mexico, that in 1993, a state-sponsored program was created with the intention of deterring drunk driving. Today, New Mexico continues to make “None for the Road” a required awareness program that must be completed before receiving your state license.
None for the Road
As a direct response to the influx of drunk drivers in New Mexico, the state-sponsored “None for the Road” has become a mandatory awareness program that continues to help inform New Mexico residents about the dangers of drunk driving. This informative program is required to be completed by first-time licensees between the ages of 18 and 24 so that they may present their “None for the Road” certification when obtaining their state license at MVD Express. Although there is a small fee for completing this course, it is a small price to pay to reduce the amount of drunk drivers, injuries, and deaths on the road.
We know that young drivers may be more susceptible to peer pressure, and statistics show that adolescents consume alcohol at a rather alarming rate. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “about 7.3 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 report current alcohol consumption; this represents 19 percent of this age group for whom alcohol consumption is illegal.” This is just one of the many reasons why New Mexico’s “None for the Road” DWI awareness program continues to be a mandatory course for first-time licensees.
The Cost of DWIs
DWIs are taken very seriously in the state of New Mexico, and they come with costly fines that will continue to impact your life years down the road. First-time offenders can face up to a $500 fine, up to 90 days in jail, and up to a one-year license revocation. To make matters worse, DWI offenders have to pay for an ignition interlock system with required installation. On average, ignition interlock systems cost around $100 to install, with a monthly service fee of $75. After factoring these expenses into the cost of receiving your first DWI, you could be faced with thousands of dollars in fees that may be incredibly difficult to repay.
Fines and mandatory monthly payments should be expected if you receive a DWI, but many drivers fail to take into account the cost of a DWI lawyer, alcohol treatment and education costs, towing and impound fees, and the cost of insurance after the incident has occurred. In fact, you can expect your car insurance rates to increase anywhere from 30 to 47 percent after receiving your first DWI. Clearly, one would hope that the cost of drunk driving alone would be enough to deter individuals from committing such a dangerous offense. While you can expect to pay thousands of dollars in fines after receiving a DWI, you may not be expecting some of the substantial penalties that driving while intoxicated can bring.
The Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated
There are a number of penalties associated with DWIs that range in severity. While first-, second-, and third-time DWI offenders are charged with misdemeanors, any additional offenses are recognized as felonies. These charges can cost you a significant amount in fines, and DWIs can also require you to spend a substantial amount of time at treatment and alcohol evaluation classes, community service events, and in most cases, jail time. Below are just a few of the many penalties that you can expect if convicted of driving while intoxicated.
Ignition Interlock. An ignition interlock system is a piece of equipment that must be installed in your car if you are convicted of a DWI. These systems require users to blow into a breathalyzer before their car can be turned on. In fact, ignition interlock systems also require that users blow into their device at random intervals while driving.
Alcohol Evaluation. Alcohol assessments are mandatory for all DWI offenders, and can cost hundreds of dollars for each assessment. These assessments evaluate your current relationship with alcohol, and your counselor will suggest if further alcohol treatment is required, or if there is not enough sufficient evidence to suggest that you have a drug or alcohol problem.
Jail Time. Whether you have just received your first DWI, or you have received multiple DWIs in the past, you will most likely have to spend some time in jail. First-time DWI offenders face up to 90 days in jail, while fourth-time offenders must serve a mandatory sentence of six months in prison.
Probation. Although first-time offenders will be required to complete some form of community service, repeat offenders face up to five years of probation. Driving while intoxicated may seem like a simple mistake, however, the ramifications of your actions can continue to plague you for years.
License Revocation. One of the most debilitating penalties for those convicted of DWI is facing a six-month to one-year license revocation. However, second-time offenders in the state of New Mexico must surrender their license for two years, while fourth-time offenders will have their license revoked for life with the option of a 5-year court review.
Ways That You Can Prevent DWIs
The easiest way for you to prevent driving while intoxicated is simply by choosing not to drink and drive. However, if you are in a position where someone you know is thinking about driving while intoxicated, consider intervening or making yourself the designated driver. If you see someone on the roads of New Mexico who you believe may be driving while intoxicated, don’t hesitate to dial #394 (#DWI) to reach New Mexico’s Drunk Busters hotline.
It is also important to keep in mind the times of day when drunk driving is most likely to occur. According to 2015 data provided by the New Mexico Department of Transportation, alcohol-involved crashes occurred most between the hours of eight and nine at night. As such, it is important to remain aware and active while driving during times when alcohol-involved crashes are most likely to occur.
Choosing to drive while intoxicated not only puts yourself in danger, it puts everyone else around you in danger as well. From probation and jail time to license revocation and severe fines, the penalties associated with driving while intoxicated are far worse than choosing to drive sober. If you have been recently convicted of a DWI and need to obtain an interlock license, visit one of our 10 unique locations today. We work hard to ensure that our customers are served quickly and efficiently, and even allow all individuals to schedule an appointment at MVD Express by using our online scheduling tool. To learn more about our full offering of services, or if you have any additional questions or concerns, contact our team of friendly professionals today.