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  • How DUI Affects Your Professional License

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    A man who may lose his professional license because of a DUI.According to a report provided by the New Mexico Department of Transportation, New Mexico recorded a total of 48,124 car crashes during the year 2019. Of those accidents, approximately 2,337, or 4.6%, involved the use of alcohol. The report also included statistics related to police enforcement of New Mexico’s drunk driving laws. In 2019, New Mexico recorded 10,378 county-level arrests for driving while under the influence. As of October 2020, 887 of the DUI arrests, or 9%, resulted in dismissals.

    If you were charged with DUI (note that New Mexico uses the less common term, “driving while intoxicated” or DWI) in New Mexico, you are not alone. As you can see, thousands of people face allegations of driving under the influence in New Mexico every year. Still, even a DUI charge can hold negative consequences, especially for someone who holds a professional license. In most cases, a DUI and a professional license do not mix. If you need to know a DUI’s impact on your professional license, contact a lawyer at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to discuss your case.

    Criminal Penalties of a DUI in New Mexico

    New Mexico’s DUI law (New Mexico Statutes Annotated Section 66-8-102) prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle within the state while under the influence of alcohol or drugs that render the driver incapable of safely driving the vehicle. Additionally, the state criminalizes the operation of a motor vehicle if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08.

    Your first New Mexico DUI conviction carries the potential of a maximum of 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Your second New Mexico DUI conviction carries the potential of a maximum of 364 days in jail, with a required minimum of four days. Additionally, it carries the potential of a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1000. A third New Mexico DUI conviction carries the potential of a maximum of 364 days in jail, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days.  Additionally, it carries the potential of a fine of not less than $750 and not more than $1000.

    Other Potential Consequences of a DUI

    Criminal penalties represent only some of the consequences associated with a DUI conviction. A DUI carries specific penalties like license revocation and others. Additionally, any criminal conviction can result in added hardship in a person’s life due to the inability to find suitable housing prospects, difficulty obtaining employment, and the required disclosure of their conviction status. This is especially true for individuals facing a DUI and holding a professional license.

    Driver’s License Suspension

    A DUI conviction can lead to the immediate suspension of your New Mexico driver’s license. In fact, even your first conviction can result in suspension for a period of up to one year. After a second offense, the court can suspend your license for up to two years. After a fourth DUI conviction, the court will likely revoke your driver’s license permanently, causing you to give up your driving privileges forever.

    DUI and Your Professional License

    Certain professions require active members to hold a professional license in order to legally practice. The professions that require these licenses include:

    • Doctors,
    • Nurses,
    • Real estate agents,
    • Lawyers, and
    • Dentists.

    Typically, a state regulatory board regulates the licensure of the professionals and initiates disciplinary proceedings in the event that you violate any rules. While most professions do not entirely exclude anyone with a DUI conviction, you do typically have to disclose your prior criminal convictions prior to receiving your license. In most cases, the regulatory authority will also require notification if you find yourself facing any criminal charges.

    So what is a DUI’s impact on your professional license? It depends on the circumstances of your DUI and your professional license rules. For example, if you received a DUI in connection with a car accident where you caused the death of another person, the state regulatory authority could revoke your license based on the severity of the alleged misconduct. Even if you do not lose your license, you could find yourself subject to disciplinary action such as fines, required alcohol/drug abuse classes, or a period of mandated supervision while conducting your job duties.

    Other Administrative Penalties and Requirements

    After a DUI conviction, the court can impose a wide range of different penalties outside of the criminal ones. For example, the court can order you to participate in community service, with the number of hours depending on your number of prior convictions. Additionally, the court can require you to undergo drug and alcohol screening and a court-approved treatment program. If you lose your driver’s license, you can re-apply for an ignition interlock license. If you receive the license, you have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to reinstate your driving privileges. With an ignition interlock device, you must provide a breath sample to prove you are not under the influence before your car becomes operational. In addition, you bear the cost of maintaining the ignition interlock device, which adds up quickly.

    Concerned About a DUI and Your Professional License? Contact an Experienced DUI Charges Attorney Today

    If you’re facing a DUI charge, you need a criminal charges defense attorney as soon as possible. A DUI conviction can land you in jail—in addition to the steep fines associated with the charge—not to mention a DUI conviction impacting your professional license and reputation.

    Our team of DUI charges lawyers at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices has represented clients facing allegations of DUI since 1997. We know that a single defense strategy does not apply to every case. That’s why we take the time to meet one on one with our clients and tailor a defense strategy specifically to the circumstances of your situation. If you want an attorney who gives you individualized attention to obtain the best possible result, contact our office at 505-200-2982 or contact us using our form to get started.