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Gov. Details Anti-DWI Plan

Gov. Details Anti-DWI Plan

The governor said her proposals aren't new. She has introduced them before, but legislators haven't passed them.


Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday she will try again to convince the state Legislature to enact tougher penalties for repeat DWI offenders.

Martinez wants lawmakers meeting in the 2016 30-day session of the Legislature to pass legislation that would include more jail time for people with four or more DWI convictions. She also proposed expanding the state’s habitual offender laws to include felony DWI convictions.

“DWI is a serious problem that has a devastating impact on New Mexico’s families and communities,” Martinez said during a news conference in Albuquerque. “That’s why we will continue fighting to enact tougher penalties for repeat offenders and those who enable them.”

The proposals to up the prison time for repeat DWI offenders include increasing the maximum and minimum sentences beginning with a fourth conviction. The proposed increases are:

– Fourth conviction: maximum sentence of 30 months with an 18-month minimum.
– Fifth conviction: three-year maximum with a two-year minimum.
– Sixth conviction: 42-month maximum with a 30-month minimum.
– Seventh conviction: four-year maximum with a three-year minimum.
– Eight or more convictions: a second-degree felony with a maximum of 12 years and a minimum of 10 years.

Martinez said her legislative package will also include a proposal to let prosecutors use felony DWI convictions to enhance penalties under the state’s habitual offender laws. Martinez also wants to crack down on people who lend their cars to someone whose license has been suspended due to a DWI conviction. However, she did not have details of that proposal.

The governor said her proposals aren’t new. She has introduced them before, but legislators haven’t passed them. “It is beyond comprehension that year after year the Legislature blocks” DWI reform efforts, Martinez said.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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