What Happens if I am Stopped For DUI? If you have been stopped by a police officer for suspicion of drunk driving, you will generally be asked to produce your license and registration as well as your proof of insurance. You will also be asked if you have been drinking. At this point the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication. If he believes you may be intoxicated, he will ask you to exit the car and take a series of field sobriety tests. Should I Agree To Take The Field Sobriety Tests? You are not required by law to take field sobriety tests, and many of the tests are extremely difficult even for people who have not been drinking. Many legal experts advise to politely refuse an officer's request for field sobriety tests. You should make it clear, however, that you are only refusing the field sobriety tests and not refusing to take a breath or blood test. Should I Agree To Take The Breath Test? You can refuse to take a breath or blood test but this can have serious consequences with regard to your driver's license. The advantage of not taking the test is that it is harder for the State to prove that you were intoxicated at trial, especially if you have also refused the field tests. However, a refusal will likely result in the revocation of your driver's license for a year, even if you were not intoxicated at the time. If you have no previous convictions for DWI and have not been involved in a serious auto accident, you should probably agree to take the breath or blood test. What Should I Do If I Have Been Arrested For DUI? The first thing you and your family will do is to bond you out of jail, usually with a bail bondsman. Once you are released you need to hire an attorney, preferably starting this process on the next business day.
The next most important thing you must do after an arrest for DWI is to submit a request for an administrative hearing regarding the revocation of your driver's license to the Motor Vehicles Division, along with a payment of $25.00. If you fail to request this hearing within 10 days of your arrest you will automatically lose your license, even if you are not guilty of DWI. If possible you should retain an attorney immediately so that your attorney can make the proper request for hearing. What Is The Difference Between my MVD and Criminal Cases? When you have been arrested for DWI you face both an administrative revocation of your license (through MVD), and a criminal prosecution, which may also result in the revocation of your driver's license. The two cases are entirely separate, which means you can lose your license through MVD even if you are found innocent in your criminal case. What Happens In The MVD Case? The civil administrative hearing process with the Motor Vehicle Division decides whether your license if revoked for ninety days, six months or one year. You must request the MVD hearing in writing within 10 days of the incident of date of revocation notice, otherwise you will be revoked automatically 20 days after the arrest. You must mail your written request to MVD in Santa Fe with a $25 check or money order When Should I Expect my MVD hearing? Your MVD must occur within 90 days of your arrest. Usually your hearing will be heard near the end of your 90 day period, somewhere from 70 to 90 days from your arrest. The best possible result is if you show up but all of the necessary officers do not. In that situation your defense lawyer will petition to dismiss the MVD case against you. There are other technicalities that may result in a favorable result, such as the inability of the officers to prove that you were ever given a notice of revocation. How about the Criminal Case? This is the more important of the two hearings, as you risk time in jail and a large list of other sanctions. The criminal case is brought by the government and can result in jail, fines, probation and loss of license. The jail time, fines and other penalties vary depending on how many convictions you have and whether you are charged with aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI may be charged if you refuse to take the chemical blood or breath test requested by the officer, have an alcohol level of .16 or more or cause an accident with injuries. You can be guilty of a DUI even if you had nothing to drink but had medication or narcotics. What are the penalties for DUI? A first offense for DWI, is punishable with up to 90 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, or both, and about $200 in court costs. You also may be ordered to attend a first offender program, also called DWI School, and alcohol screening with counseling; do community service; attend the victim impact panel; and serve probation resulting in fees of about $150. If this first offense is an aggravated DWI, a minimum of 48 hours in jail is mandatory in addition to the other penalties. A second offense is punishable by three to 364 days in jail and a mandatory fine of $500 to $1000. It also requires about $250 in fees, probation, community service and a oneA-year license revocation. And aggravated second offense requires at least seven days in jail. A third offense is punishable by a mandatory 30 days in jail, and a fine of $750 to $1000 on top of the other penalties. Your license will be revoked for one to ten years if it's your third conviction in more than 10 years. An aggravated DWI third offen What are the possible results at the MVD Hearing? The MVD civil hearing process is separate from the criminal court proceeding. You can win one case and lose the other. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test as requested by the officer, you may lose your license of one year and you cannot get a work permit or a limited license. If your license is revoked for the first time and you took a blood or breath test, you will lose your license for 90 days if you are 21 or older with a 0.08 or higher bloodA-alcohol result. If you are under 21, then you will lose your license for six months with a 0.02 or higher alcohol level. If you have previously had your license revoked for DUI through the MVD civil hearing and your alcohol level is above the legal limit, then you will lose your license for one year without the possibility of a work permit or a limited license. Your driver's license can be revoked through a DUI criminal conviction or a DUI civil revocation (the MVD hearing), or if you are convicted of driving on a revoked license. Can I Still Drive? If you timely requested a MVD Revocation hearing, you can drive until a decision is made by the MVD hearing officer at your MVD hearing, assuming your license was valid at the time of arrest. If you lose either your MVD or your DUI case, you should immediately bring your papers to MVD and apply for an Interlock License. If you install an Interlock Ignition Device and obtain an Interlock License, you may drive legally so long as your vehicle has an operating Interlock Device properly installed.