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Can a DUI Affect Your Apartment Hunt?


Man calling an apartment agent from his desk. Looking for an apartment can be hard enough as it is, but those who have a New Mexico DUI on their record may find it even more difficult. While a DUI conviction will not automatically mean that an apartment complex refuses to approve your application, it can raise some concerns and make the process a little more challenging.

When you apply to rent an apartment, the landlord will almost always conduct an in-depth check into your background. They will check your employment history, credit score, and verify that you have enough income to make the rent payment. In addition, many apartment complexes will also run a criminal background check. Those with felony convictions on their record will find it especially challenging to get an apartment. However, even those with misdemeanor offenses, such as drunk driving convictions, can run into problems.

It is important to understand a landlord’s concerns so you can address them. This can greatly increase your chances of approval. There are several reasons why landlords may choose not to rent to you if you have a DUI conviction:

  •   The belief that past criminal conduct is an accurate predictor of future behavior;
  •   The belief that a person with a DUI has a drinking problem;
  •   The belief that someone with a DUI may have a hard time holding a job; or
  •   The belief that someone with a DUI would spend their money on alcohol instead of rent.

The reason many landlords express a hesitation to rent to those with prior convictions may not be fair, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a regular occurrence. We all make mistakes, and just because you have been convicted of a DUI does not mean that you are more likely to engage in other criminal behavior. In fact, many people who have DUIs on their record have since learned their lesson and turned their life around. Thus, having a DUI on your record does not mean you are not capable of holding a job, paying your rent on time, and being a responsible tenant.

Unfortunately, under New Mexico law, DUI convictions cannot be expunged. This means that, once you get a DUI, it will remain on your record forever. That being the case, the best thing to do is, to be honest with a landlord. At the same time, you will want to be sure to address their concerns. What makes you a good tenant? What did you do to change your life since your conviction?  Are you involved in a recovery program? Being forthcoming and confronting these tough questions head-on may be the best way to indicate to the landlord that you are a good candidate.

Besides taking these steps, there is little you can do to mitigate the effects of the DUI. However, if you have an open DUI, it does not have to result in a conviction. In this scenario, the best course of action is to speak with an experienced New Mexico criminal defense legal team to discuss your options.

What to Do If You Have an Open New Mexico DUI Case

Book of DUI LawIf you currently have an open New Mexico DUI case, it is crucial that you take the matter seriously. If it is your first-ever arrest, you may be tempted to take whatever offer the prosecutor makes, especially if it avoids jail time. However, it is very important to consider the long-term effects of a DUI conviction before accepting a deal.

At its most basic, a drunk driving case involves two very basic elements. The prosecution must prove, 1.) that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, and 2.) that you were intoxicated. While this seems straightforward, in reality, DUI law is exceedingly complex and many DUI cases are beatable.

Common defenses in a New Mexico DUI case include:

  • Illegal stop: A law enforcement officer can only stop a motorist if they have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. Thus, an officer’s “hunch” that you were intoxicated does not provide them a legal basis to stop your car. As a result, when officers cannot support a traffic stop with reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence recovered must be suppressed.
  • Problems with the field sobriety tests: Police officers undergo training to conduct field sobriety tests (FSTs). If a police officer incorrectly performs FSTs, it may cast doubt on their assessment that you were intoxicated.
  • Improper testing: Police officers must follow strict evidentiary and chain-of-custody requirements when handling a blood sample. Even the smallest error can prevent test results from being used in court.
  • Unaccounted for medical conditions: During a traffic stop, police officers rely primarily on their initial observations when deciding whether to conduct further testing. However, if you suffer from a medical condition, it could explain what may otherwise appear to be evidence of intoxication.
  • Aggressive interrogation techniques: Police must respect your constitutional rights during a traffic stop. If a police officer engages in aggressive interrogation without reading you your Miranda rights, they cannot use any of the statements you make against you.

The bottom line is that a DUI arrest will not automatically result in a conviction. Anyone arrested for a New Mexico DUI who is concerned about its effect on their future, such as their ability to rent an apartment, should reach out to a dedicated New Mexico criminal defense legal team.

Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices for Immediate Assistance

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a New Mexico DUI offense and wonder how it could impact your ability to get an apartment, contact the dedicated criminal defense legal team at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. Even if this is your first case, a conviction can carry lifelong consequences. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, our dedicated team of attorneys will help you understand your options and work with you to create a compelling defense. To learn more about how we can help you, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Albuquerque DUI defense legal team, give us a call or contact us through our online form.