Refusing a breathalyzer or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test during a traffic stop can have some consequences you may not have considered. New Mexico already has strict DWI laws, including all-offender ignition interlock requirements. When you refuse the BAC test, you are in violation of the New Mexico implied consent laws, a misstep you will likely regret on top of your night of intoxicated driving.
If you refuse BAC testing and the police officer with the breathalyzer believes you are intoxicated, you will lose your driver’s license, right then and there, for up to one year. This administrative license revocation is a result of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (NMMVD) reminding you that you agreed to the New Mexico implied consent policy when you applied for your license. If the NMMVD then finds you guilty of a DWI (plus your implied consent violation), you won’t get your license back for another year, unless you install an ignition interlock. All of that is separate from your criminal DWI case, which carries its own penalties if you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
If you are caught driving on a revoked license, you can be sentenced to up to a year in jail (minimum of seven days) and up to $1,000 in fines ($300 minimum).
In many cases, refusing the BAC test will just provide probable cause to an officer to arrest you for DWI. New Mexico implied consent laws prevent suspected drunk drivers from attempting to get out of a drunk driving charge. Many believe that refusing the breathalyzer or BAC test will allow additional time to pass so that a reading has a lower percentage, one that is hopefully under the legal limit. However, even at a lower BAC reading, it is still possible to be convicted of a DWI and still have the additional consequences of violating New Mexico implied consent laws.