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Underage Drunk Driving DUI in New Mexico

All 50 states view a BAC of 0.08 or greater as “per se” evidence of intoxication, meaning that the police need no evidence other than a BAC at this level to induce a driver’s culpability.  In other words, the police do not need any additional evidence to prove a driver’s intoxication if they show the driver had a BAC of 0.08 or greater.  This threshold is much lower when considering drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, however.  All states also follow “zero tolerance” BAC laws, meaning minors are culpable if they are found driving with any alcohol in their systems, or at least trace amounts of alcohol in some states.

In New Mexico the zero tolerance BAC level for minors is 0.02, meaning any minor found to have a BAC of 0.02 or greater while driving will be arrested for violation of this law.  However, if evidence shows a minor has a BAC of between 0.04 and 0.08, the minor may be prosecuted as though he were of the age of majority in New Mexico.  There are several potential penalties for a minor found guilty under the zero tolerance law in the state.  First time offenders can be fined up to $500.  They also must perform community service work as prescribed by the judge, in addition to a one-year license suspension.  A second offense leads to similar penalties including a fine of up to $1,000.  Further charges result in felony convictions and increased penalties as a result.  In addition, any driver convicted of an underage DUI must complete alcohol and driving education programs, and potentially alcohol treatment programs as well.

It is important to remember that drugs other than alcohol also effect levels of inebriation and are also included in New Mexico’s zero tolerance law.  In addition to the 0.02 BAC threshold, any minor who has consumed marijuana or other controlled substances is also guilty of a misdemeanor for as long as there is physical evidence of the consumption in the driver’s body.

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