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  1. What is a sobriety checkpoint?

    A sobriety checkpoint is a procedure in which law enforcement restrict traffic flow in a designated, specific location so they can check drivers for signs of impairment. If officers detect any type of incapacitation based on their observations, they can perform additional testing such as field sobriety tests or breath analysis tests. Sometimes officers will also check documents such as driver licenses, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance at sobriety checkpoints.

  2. Are sobriety checkpoints legal in New Mexico?

    Yes. The US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints in 1990. When conducted under a strict set of policies and procedures, sobriety checkpoints do not constitute illegal search and seizure in New Mexico. The court agrees that the interest in reducing alcohol-impaired driving is sufficient to justify the brief intrusion of a properly conducted sobriety checkpoint.

  3. What is a saturation patrol?

    A saturation patrol is a procedure in which a number of law enforcement patrol units are dedicated to a limited area for the purpose of DWI detection and apprehension. Saturation patrols are concentrated enforcement efforts that target impaired drivers by observing moving violations such as reckless driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and others. Well-publicized saturation patrols educate the general driving public that breaking traffic laws is a serious problem and that violators will be punished.

  4. What is a Superblitz and when are they?

    A Superblitz is a period of enhanced law enforcement activity, usually centered on a holiday or other celebration when motorists need to be reminded to buckle up and to not drink and drive.

  5. What is the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level in New Mexico?

    For drivers under age 21, the maximum BAC level at which a driver license is revoked is .02%. For drivers 21 and over, the BAC level must be lower than .08%. For drivers operating under a commercial driver license, the limit is .04%.

  6. What is ignition interlock?

    An ignition interlock is a sophisticated system that tests for alcohol on a driver's breath. It is a device that requires a vehicle operator to blow into a small handheld alcohol sensor unit that is attached to a vehicle's dashboard. The car cannot be started if a BAC is above a preset level (usually .02 to .04 BAC). Alcohol safety interlocks that meet the standards issued by NHTSA not only require a test to start the engine, but also require a test every few minutes while driving. Called the "rolling or running retest," it prevents a friend from starting the car and then allowing an impaired driver to take over the wheel. With modern safeguards, alcohol safety interlocks are extremely difficult to circumvent when properly installed and monitored every 30 to 60 days. When used by the courts or state motor vehicle departments in conjunction with a monitoring, reporting, and support program, the ignition interlock system provides DWI offenders with an alternative to full license suspension. Its use has spread rapidly across the country and many states have enacted legislation providing for its integration into the DWI adjudication and sentencing process.

  7. Where can my agency obtain the Sobriety Checkpoint Training course?

    Safer has extensive experience in coordinating various training programs for law enforcement. Safer provides law enforcement personnel with accurate, up-to-date information on the legal and safety issues involved in conducting sobriety checkpoints though the Sobriety Checkpoint Training course presented at Safer's annual Law Enforcement Coordinators' Symposium (LECS). This course is accredited by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Training Center for continuing education units (CEU's). For details regarding this course, you may contact your law enforcement liaison or Safer.

  8. What will happen to me if I am arrested for DWI in New Mexico?

    Under Governor Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Legislature passed several new, tougher DWI laws in 2005. The new laws address ignition interlock, vehicle seizure, and other topics. For the most current penalties information, please use the link below.

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