If you get injured in a car accident in New Mexico, you can collect damages from the at-fault driver or another party legally responsible for the accident. To do this, you must show that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident. A court might find the defendant liable in a personal injury lawsuit even if the driver caused the accident by making a garden variety driving mistake that is not, by itself, serious enough to warrant criminal charges; in fact, most defendants in car accident lawsuits do not face criminal charges for their negligent actions. Drunk driving, however, is so dangerous that anyone caught doing it can face criminal penalties, even when they do not cause an accident. A disproportionate number of car accidents that result in severe injury involve alcohol. To get the money you need after being injured in a drunk driving accident, contact a Santa Fe motor vehicle accident lawyer.
Breath Tests Before and After a DWI Arrest
In civil cases and criminal ones, the strongest proof that a driver was under the influence of alcohol at a given time is a test of the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). According to New Mexico law, it is illegal to drive when your BAC is at least 0.8%. The usual way of testing a driver’s BAC is by measuring alcohol metabolites in the breath. This is why police administer breath tests at traffic stops when they suspect DWI.
The breathalyzers used at traffic stops work the same way as ignition interlock devices. In New Mexico, everyone convicted of DWI must use an ignition interlock device for a certain period of time after the arrest or conviction. Unlike most other states, New Mexico requires ignition interlock devices for a first-offense DWI.
Some cars even come equipped with breathalyzer technology, which can measure the alcohol metabolites in the air near the driver’s seat. New Mexico does not have any laws requiring car manufacturers to implement this technology or drivers to use it.
Other Ways of Testing Blood Alcohol Content
It is possible to measure a person’s BAC through other means besides testing the breath. When drivers do not consent to a breath test at a traffic stop, doctors can measure their BAC through a blood test when they are arrested at the hospital. It is also possible for devices to test BAC by measuring alcohol through the concentration of alcohol in a person’s sweat. This is how secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring (SCRAM) devices work. New Mexico sometimes orders people convicted of DWI to wear SCRAM bracelets.
New Mexico Drunk Driving Laws
These sophisticated devices are only sometimes sufficient to persuade a jury that a driver was driving with a BAC beyond the legal limit at the time of an accident. Even if the driver who caused your injuries was never convicted of DWI, you may be able to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident or the bar that served alcohol to the driver.
Contact Slate Stern About Car Accident Lawsuits
Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs injured in drunk driving accidents. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.