Drunk driving, or driving while intoxicated, remains a major problem throughout New Mexico. The epidemic of drunk driving continues to cause serious car accidents and catastrophic, even fatal harm. New Mexico car accident attorney Matthew Vance is familiar with the devastating consequences of collisions resulting from drivers who choose to operate their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A recently proposed bill in the New Mexico legislature seeks to address drivers who continue to drive under the influence of alcohol.
While HB 271 did not reach the New Mexico House floor during the regularly scheduled session, it is a bill that will likely be considered again in the expected special legislative session this year. HB 271 bars the sale of alcohol to repeat DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders throughout the state. Representative Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert (R-NM) intends to ban second-time DWI offenders from purchasing alcohol for a year, and third or subsequent offenders will be prevented from buying alcohol for life.
The intentions of HB 271 are to address New Mexico’s growing alcohol abuse problem. The New Mexico Department of Health indicates that the state has the highest alcohol-related death rate in the United States. In fact, statistics indicate that New Mexico’s alcohol-related death rate is increasing, while it is decreasing nationally.
While supporters of HB 271 praise the bill for its policy considerations, critics question issues surrounding enforcement. Currently, the DWI law in New Mexico requires that individuals convicted of DWI pay a fine or serve jail time. They must also go through a court-mandated program involving probation, community service, therapy, and a DWI school.
The proposed law would bar individuals from purchasing alcohol for one year after their second offense. Those offenders would have an altered license that demonstrates that they are prohibited from purchasing alcohol. After a year had passed without a violation, the offender could petition for a renewed, non-provisional license.
Other critics have asserted that the bill does not effectively deter DWI. The causes of DWI, according to some, must be addressed, and the bill faces remaining issues of enforcement and strategy. Repeat offenders may not be effectively deterred by the bill, according to critics, and will find other ways to secure alcohol.
According to New Mexico law, accident victims have the right to pursue compensation from at-fault drivers. In addition to criminal charges brought on behalf of the state, defendant drunk drivers may face civil consequences, such as paying compensation to victims who have pursued negligence claims against them.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident caused by a driver who has been convicted of DWI, or who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision, you have legal rights. Car accident attorney Matt Vance represents accident victims throughout New Mexico as they pursue civil claims for financial compensation. At the Law Office of Matthew Vance, we bring personal attention and dedicated advocacy to our clients. To schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call our office at (505) 242-6267 or complete our online form.
More Blog Posts:
Proposed New Mexico Law Targets Hit and Run Drivers, New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2017
New Mexico Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motions in Lawsuit Following Car Accident, Finds She Had Not Been Forthcoming Regarding Medical History, But Dismissal Not Appropriate, New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog, May 12, 2017