What Are the Lookback Periods for a DUI in New Mexico?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

lookback duiMost states, including New Mexico, impose lookback periods. Lookback periods allow the courts to consider offenses within a specific range. And if offenses fall within that lookback period, you could be charged with a second, third, or fourth offense.

The punishment for a second-time DUI is much harsher than a first, and every subsequent offense thereafter will increase in penalties. The law does this to deter people from repeat offending, but it also could mean being punished as a second time offender even when you have a few years in between those DUIs.

The Lookback Periods of Albuquerque Criminal Courts and DUI Offenses – a Lifetime Allowance

Unfortunately, New Mexico is one of the few states without a set lookback period. For example, some states might only consider offenses in a 10-year period, but New Mexico allows all offenses included in consideration of your sentencing. Therefore, you could have a DUI arrest when you are 21 and be arrested in your 50s for another DUI and be charged as a second offense.

The courts legally can review all criminal history, whether you have five years or 50 years in between the two offenses. This is extremely dangerous for defendants, because you could automatically enter second-time offense status that includes harsh criminal and administrative penalties.

Not many states impose lifetime lookbacks. In fact, the only other states that do so are Montana, Texas, Colorado, Florida, and a select few on the East Coast. Most states impose anywhere from 5 to 15 years as their lookback. Other states have multiple laws for lookback periods.

For example, Florida has a 10-year period for third offenses and a lifetime lookback for subsequent ones.

How Serious Is a Second DUI Offense in New Mexico?

Being charged with a second DUI offense is very serious. New Mexico does not tolerate repeat offenders, and they will punish repeat offenders to deter the public from engaging in similar behavior.

Administrative Penalties – Just as Harsh as Criminal

Most people worry about the criminal penalties of a DUI, but one other area that you might have forgotten about is that of administrative penalties. Administrative penalties can be equally harsh. And while they don’t require you to serve jail time, you serve in other ways.

The New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has harsh penalties for second-time offenders, including the ignition interlock device (IID). When you have the IID in your vehicle, you pay to install, monitor, and repair the unit – something you may not have realized.

Furthermore, a second offense will result in a two-year driver’s license revocation. If you have a commercial driver license, then you will have a lifetime disqualification. Therefore, your conviction could cost you your job.

What Are the Criminal Penalties for a Second Offense?

For your second DUI offense, you also have enhanced criminal penalties compared to what you likely experienced for your first offense. These penalties include:

  • Jail – A first offense has a sentence of 90 days in jail, but a second offense (regardless of time passed) will require 96 hours and as much as 364 days in jail – which means you could spend almost a year in jail for a second offense.
  • Fines – With your first offense you might have only paid up to $500 in fines. But with a second offence, there is a minimum of $500 with a maximum of $1,000 – doubling what you might have experienced in the past.
  • IID – New Mexico requires IID’s for first-time and second-time offenders. Therefore, this might not change from the original period for you. However, you cannot get your IID until you wait the two-year license revocation period first.

What about Third and Subsequent Offenses?

If you have already been convicted of a second offense, you will find that third and subsequent offenses only increase in harshness:

  • Jail – Now you will face from 30 days to up to 364 days as a third-time offender. If you are a fourth-time offender, then the sentence increases to a minimum of six months and maximum of 18 months. Once you reach your fifth offense, you will have a minimum of one-year and maximum of two years.
  • Fines – The fine for a third offense increases to between $750 and $1,000. Fourth offenses jump dramatically to $5,000.
  • License Suspension – For a third offense, you will have your driver’s license revoked for three years while your fourth offense will result in a lifetime revocation. You can, however, request a review after five years of revocation. If you are approved, you will still be required to have an IID installed.

Can You Plead to a Lesser Offense?

You might assume that you can escape the penalty for a second DUI by pleading down, but New Mexico does not offer plea bargains in DUI cases. In fact, the statute bars you from pleading to reckless driving instead of a DUI.

Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for a second, third, or subsequent DUI, you cannot risk the harsh penalties that come along with it – especially when you have years between offenses.

Speak with a DUI defense attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today to explore your options. You can meet with us risk-free by scheduling your free case evaluation at 505-375-4763 or requesting more information online.