Everything You Need to Know About Drugged Driving

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Criminal Defense Lawyers Fighting Drugged Driving Charges in New Mexico

drugged drivingNew Mexico has implemented drugged driving laws to combat the issue of individuals operating a vehicle while under the influence of a legal or prescription drug. Under New Mexico Statute Section 66-8-102B, it is illegal for a person to be under the influence of a drug and operate a vehicle if that drug makes him or her incapable of operating the vehicle safely.

Therefore, even if you are taking a legal prescription, if that prescription affects your ability to drive in any way and compromises your safety or the safety of others, you are engaging in drugged driving and you could be arrested.

A Broad Definition of “Drugs”

Under the statute, the definition of “drugs” is extremely broad, and any drug could be considered illegal for drugged driving. However, the state does also recognize controlled substances, which are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Most importantly, under the statute, you do not have a legal defense to drugged driving charges even if you are legally entitled to use that controlled substance. For example, a prescription for opiate painkillers does not excuse you from using the medication while operating a vehicle, and you could be charged with drugged driving.

What Are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in New Mexico?

New Mexico has instilled harsh penalties for those who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs. Like most crimes, the penalties will enhance with each subsequent offense.

The penalties include:

  • First Offense – Up to 90 days in jail or a fine of $500 (or both). You may face 24 hours of community service and be required to pay a fine of as much as $300 as well as participate in a complete screening program and rehabilitation program. You may be required to attend a DWI school before receiving your driver’s license back.
  • Second Offense – Up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $1,000 or both. You may also have a jail term of 96 consecutive hours and no less than 48 hours of community service along with a $500 fine.
  • Third Offense – Up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $1,000 or both. You may also be sentenced to a jail term of no less than 30 days and no less than 96 hours of community service with a fine of $750.
  • Fourth Offense – Up to 18 months in jail, six months of which cannot be suspended. You could also have a deferred sentence.
  • Fifth Offense – Up to two years in jail with 18 months that cannot be suspended.
  • Sixth Offense – Up to 30 months in prison, 18 months that cannot be suspended.
  • Seventh or More Offenses – Up to three years in prison and two years that cannot be suspended.

It is important to note that on your fourth offense, you could be charged with a Fourth-Degree Felony; after your sixth offense, you may face a Third-Degree Felony charge.

Arrested for Drugged Driving? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Now

The penalties for drugged driving will affect you for the rest of your life. You could lose your job, lose your right to drive, and could possibly even go to jail. Avoid these harsh penalties by contacting a criminal defense lawyer at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today.

We offer free case evaluations, so there is no obligation to meet with us. Schedule your appointment now at 505-375-4661 or contact us online with your legal questions.