Laws pertaining to drugs and alcohol are mostly made and enforced at the state level. In New Mexico, you will find that the drug and alcohol laws differ even from close by states like Arizona and Colorado.

It’s very important to know the drug and alcohol laws where you live. Even if you don’t partake in drinking or in drugs, you might be able to help friends and family with your knowledge.

Don’t assume you know the drug and alcohol laws in New Mexico just because you know them for other states. Also, remember that these laws change frequently, so you need to stay up-to-date.

In this article, we will cover the following laws for the state of New Mexico, as well as the penalties for breaking them:

  • DUI laws
  • Cannabis laws
  • Zero tolerance laws
  • Crimes related to drugs and alcohol

DUI Laws in New Mexico

DUI is also called DWI in New Mexico. You don’t even have to be driving in order to get a DWI charge in this state. In NM, you can get a DWI if you are in physical control of a vehicle in any of the following situations:

  • With a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. (.04% for commercial drivers.)
  • While under the influence of any drug (including alcohol) that renders you unable to drive safely.

The wording of New Mexico’s DWI law makes it very unique. Even if you are under the legal limit for BAC, you can get a DWI in this state if you are deemed to be ‘under the influence’ of alcohol.

Many factors can affect how much alcohol it takes for you to be intoxicated and for your BAC to rise above .08%.

Zero Tolerance Laws for New Mexico

New Mexico has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for drinking and driving if you are under the age of 21. This means that anyone under 21 who drives with any alcohol in their system will get a DWI.

You only need to have a BAC of .02% in NM to get a DWI if you are under the age of 21. It is likely that you would not even feel the effects of alcohol at this BAC level.

There are many reasons why the legal BAC is not 0% for minors. This is mostly to account for inaccuracy in breathalyzer tests.

Is Marijuana Legal in New Mexico?

Marijuana is still illegal in New Mexico, despite the fact that Colorado, the state’s northern neighbor, was the first in the country to legalize recreational cannabis.

Medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico.

You can be given fines and prison time for possessing or selling marijuana in New Mexico.

Drug and Alcohol-Related Crimes in New Mexico

In New Mexico, drug crimes include:

  • Selling illegal drugs.
  • Possessing illegal drugs.
  • Making illegal drugs
  • Driving under the influence of psychoactive drugs.

Alcohol-related crimes in New Mexico include:

  • Drinking and driving.
  • Buying alcohol under the age of 21.
  • Driving with open containers of alcohol.
  • Selling alcohol to minors.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in New Mexico

You will face penalties in New Mexico if you are caught breaking any of the laws listed above. These penalties are outlined as follows:

DUI Penalties in NM

If you get a DWI in NM and you are over the age of 21, you will face the following consequences:

  • 1st offense: Up to 90 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, 24 hours community service.
  • 2nd offense: 96 hours to 364 days in jail, $500 to $1000 fine, at least 48 hours community service.
  • 3rd offense: 30 to 364 days in jail, $750 to $1000 fine, 96 hours minimum community service.

Zero Tolerance Penalties in NM

Driving under the influence if you are under 21 in New Mexico has big consequences. The penalties can vary, but they may include any of the following:

  • Rehab treatment program.
  • Community service
  • Alcohol testing
  • Suspension of license
  • Ignition interlock installed on vehicle
  • Under 18: jail time up to 15 days.
  • Over 18: jail time up to 90 days.
  • Probation terms

Cannabis Penalties in NM

There are penalties for possessing and selling marijuana in New Mexico. These penalties are:

  • Possession: Penalties vary based on the amount of cannabis. These penalties range from petty misdemeanors with fines around $100 to 4th-degree felonies. It all depends how much marijuana you possess.
  • Sale: Selling marijuana is a felony charge in New Mexico. Larger amounts will result in more jail time and bigger fines.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in New Mexico

If you are wondering about drug and alcohol laws, it could be an indicator that you need to seek help for addiction or abuse. There is no shame in seeking out substance abuse treatment.

The New Mexico area has several great options for certified treatment centers. Call your local treatment center today to learn how they can help you start the path towards a better life.


  1. Avoid a DWI in New Mexico (5 Things You Need to Know about DWI). (2019, November 1)
  2. Laws & Penalties — ENDWI. (n.d.)
  3. New Mexico Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties. (2010, July 7)
  4. New Mexico Marijuana Laws. (2015, March 29)

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