Driving on a Suspended License in New Mexico

Your New Mexico driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for a range of reasons. If you drive on a suspended or revoked license before your license is reinstated, you may be charged with a crime.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Your license may be suspended or revoked for alcohol offenses, certain driving offenses, or other criminal convictions.

One common reason for suspension is driving under the influence. Your license may be suspended or revoked for DUI or refusing to submit to chemical testing to determine whether you are intoxicated. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-29(C).)

In addition, New Mexico uses a point system to determine when your license will be suspended for certain traffic violations. (N.M. Code R. § 18-19-5.50.) Points are assessed for various violations such as speeding, careless driving, and failure to yield. (N.M. Code R. § 18.19.5.52(A).) You will receive a warning when you have accumulated 6 points, a judge may order your license suspended at 7 points, and the state will suspend your license at 12 points. (N.M. Code R. § 18.19.5.53, § 18.19.5.54, § 18.19.5.55.)

Your license may also be suspended or revoked if you:

  • have been convicted as the driver in an accident that killed or injured someone or caused serious property damage
  • have been convicted frequently enough of traffic offenses or that the state believes you disrespect traffic laws and disregard others’ safety
  • are incompetent to drive
  • violate certain driving limitations imposed by a court
  • fail to pay a penalty assessment within 30 days, or
  • have been convicted of shooting at or from a vehicle. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-30(A)(F).)

Your license may be subject to mandatory revocation for certain criminal convictions. Included are:

  • manslaughter or negligent homicide if you were driving a vehicle
  • a felony, if a vehicle was used
  • failing to stop if you were involved in an accident that killed or injured someone, and
  • three charges of reckless driving within 12 months. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-29(A).)

Suspension or revocation may occur for many other reasons.

Reinstating your License

The period your license may be suspended or revoked may depend on the reason for the suspension or revocation and whether you have previous suspension or revocation. You should not drive when your license is suspended or revoked. After the expiration of your suspension or revocation, you may need to pay a reinstatement fee or other fees and may need to complete additional fees before you receive a new license.

The general reinstatement fee is $25. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-33.1(A).)

If your license was suspended due to DUI, you may have to pay an additional $75 reinstatement fee and may have to comply with ignition interlock requirements. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-33.1(A).) Ignition interlock devices are intended to prevent you from driving under the influence (they measure the alcohol in your breath). You must blow into them before your vehicle will start.

Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended/Revoked license

Driving while your license is suspended or revoked is a misdemeanor. Your sentence may involve:

  • 4 days to one year in jail or an alternative sentencing program, and
  • a fine of up to $1,000. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-39(A).)

The sentence may be more severe if your license was suspended or revoked due to DUI. It may involve a minimum of

  • 7 days in jail, and
  • a $300 fine. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-39(A).)

In addition, in certain circumstances your vehicle may be impounded and your license may be suspended or revoked for a further period of time. (N.M. Stat. § 66-5-39(B-C).)

Legal Help for Charges of Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A conviction for driving while suspended or revoked comes with potentially serious consequences. You face the prospect of fines, jail time, impoundments, further suspensions, and other practical difficulties. You may have a hard time getting to work or school and difficulties obtaining or retaining insurance. While the law provides specific penalties for this crime, your sentence will also be determined by the attitude of judges and prosecutors in your community toward this crime. Only a lawyer who is familiar with how these charges are handled in your area will be able to provide you with this information.

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