What are the Consequences of a First-Time DUI Conviction?
DWIs are taken very seriously in the state of New Mexico. The penalties are often severe, and lawmakers have made it their purpose to deter further DWIs with harsh penalties. If you have been charged with a first-time offense, you will likely have lots of questions. One of the biggest questions will be what the consequences could be if you are convicted.
The attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices are here to help. We understand that you are confused and scared about the charges that you are facing. Our attorneys can explain the DWI case process and potential penalties, and we will work hard to reduce the consequences.
Will You Go to Jail for a First-Time Offense?
Most people will ask if they are going to face jail time with a first-time DWI offense. The answer is more complicated than “yes” or “no.” Most first-time offenders will not experience any jail time, but there are several ways in which a first-time offense could carry a jail sentence.
The First Offender Program
New Mexico has employed a DWI first offender program. This means that there is no jail time for a first DWI conviction, but there is a statutory minimum sentencing, and some judges may not deviate from that minimum. In simple, first-time DWI cases where the BAC was below 0.16, there is no mandatory jail time. However, there is a possibility of up to 90 days in jail if you violate the terms of probation after you are convicted of your DWI.
Increased Penalties for DWI Offenders
Due to the high volume of deaths and accidents related to drunken or drugged driving, the state has started to impose harsher sentences on DWI offenders. There are bills currently in the legislature that could include harsher jail sentences for even first-time offenders. So, in the next coming years, a person could easily go to jail for several months if he or she is convicted.
Mandatory Sentences and First-Time DWI Offenses
In order to impose some sort of penalty, the state has mandatory minimums for first-time offenders, which include:
- DWI school
- Victim impact panels
- Screening for alcohol and drug abuse in the future
- Attending alcohol abuse treatment programs
- Using an ignition interlock device for one year
- Paying for probation and court costs
- Minimum of 24 hours of community service
- Random drug and/or alcohol testing
- No consumption or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol while on probation
The mandatory minimums also mean that a judge could impose greater sentencing, if he or she feels that it is warranted. This means that a simple DWI offense could increase to up to 90 days in jail. However, most courts in New Mexico use the first time program rather than the jail sentence.
Do Not Delay – Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a first time DWI offense, do not assume that you will not face jail time. There are important deadlines in these types of cases, and missing a deadline could result in a serious consequence. Seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney now by contacting New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at 505-375-4661 or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.