Understanding Liability When Hit by a Drunk Driver in New Mexico
Everyone who is of age to drive should know that drunk driving is illegal and dangerous. Unfortunately, despite there being thousands killed every year by drunk drivers, people still continue to get behind the wheel after drinking. Innocent people, including children, are sadly victims of this crime every year. In fact, an average of approximately 10,000 people are killed each year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In spiking years like 2018, there were 10,511 fatalities involving alcohol impairment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The highest percentage of drunk drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 21-24. Many times people hit by a drunk driver in New Mexico are serious injured or wrongfully killed. The unfortunate thing is that drunk driving accidents are 100% avoidable and many lives are lost every year due to these avoidable accidents.
Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., we know how dangerous and deadly it can be for victims and their families who suffered injury due to a drunk driver. It is never fair, but unfortunately it does happen too often. Many people who suffer personal injuries from drunk drivers will never by the same. This is why our law firm has dedicated itself to protecting the rights of victims throughout Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and the rest of New Mexico. Learn what your rights may be during a FREE consultation.
Drunk Driving is Illegal and a Violation of NM Law Can Be Used Against a Defendant
As it is with every state, it is illegal in New Mexico to get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or intoxicated by alcohol. According to NM Stat 66-8-102, it is illegal for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Parameters for the different levels of intoxication include the following:
- It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol or breath concentration of .02 or more if a person is under the age of 21 years old;
- It is illegal for any driver to drive with a blood alcohol or breath concentration of .08 if a person is above the age of 21;
- It is illegal for a person operating a commercial vehicle (i.e tractor trailer truck) to drive to a blood alcohol o breath concentration of .04 or more.
Any person in violation of this statute that causes a car accident in New Mexico can result in a finding of negligence per se. The finding of negligence is based on the violation of the statute.
New Mexico common law also states that a defendant may be held liable for driving while intoxicated or ability impaired even under .08. This can occur is there are obvious characteristics of intoxication (ii.e if a defendant fails multiple field sobriety tests but blows below .08, they may still be liable for driving while intoxicated. Documentation by a police officer regarding an impaired driver can be very valuable evidence in the event of a car accident to establish negligence.
Ask our Lawyers for Help in New Mexico
If you or a loved one were hit by a drunk driver in New Mexico, you may be entitled to compensation under state law. However, a drunk driver accident is not always as easy to prove as many people and their lawyers think. You need to still retain an experienced lawyer because insurance adjusters and defense lawyers aggressively defend these types of cases because juries usually punish drunk drivers. This means that there could be heavy motion practice and strong damages experts used to rebut your injuries.
But at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., you are hiring an experienced New Mexico car accident lawyer and award-winning law firm who has a proven track record of success against some of the largest insurance companies throughout the United States. Protect your rights to compensation by dialing (505) 883-5000 for a FREE consultation.
We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico. Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.