NM Chronic DWI Offender Fact Sheet

6,830 individuals have five or more New Mexico DWI arrests since record-keeping on all NM DWI arrests started in July, 1984.

Collectively, these individuals have been arrested 41,345 times in that period. 6,900 of the arrests resulted from alcohol-related crashes.

The individual with the most arrests for the period is a Belen man age 45, arrested 22 times. 4 of the arrests involved crashes. 14 of the offenses resulted in conviction, 2 in dismissal, none in acquittal, one is pending, and 5 never had any court action reported to the Motor Vehicle Division. All the arrests were in Valencia County, and twelve of the convictions were before the same two judges. All of his last five arrests have been at 0.3 BAC or higher.

Another individual, a 54-year old Los Lunas man, has 20 arrests, all but 1 in Bernalillo County and adjoining counties. 1 involved a crash. He has 7 convictions in Metro Court, and 4 in District Court before Judge Woody Smith. Four charges were dismissed, four never had court action reported to MVD, and the charge from his most recent arrest on 12/27/1999 is still pending. He has refused BAC testing for all but three of his arrests.

A 38-year-old Albuquerque man has 18 arrests, all but 2 in Bernalillo County and adjoining counties. 1 involved a crash. Nine of the arrests resulted in conviction, 5 in dismissal, and four have no court action reported to MVD. He refused testing for 13 of his 18 arrests.

Overall, the number of these chronic drunk drivers equals 0.39 percent of NM 1999 population. San Miguel County has the highest rate with 0.92% of its drivers having five or more arrests since 1984, McKinley second with 0.78%, Rio Arriba third with 0.67%, Valencia fourth with .57%, and Guadalupe County fifth with 0.55%. Bernalillo County ranked 13th, with .40%, Doña Ana County ranked 21st, with .24%, San Juan County ranked 6th with .53%, and Santa Fe County ranked ninth, with 0.50%. Sierra County was 18th, at .30%.

The state has lifetime New Mexico DWI arrest histories only for drivers coming of age since 1984, corresponding to birth dates in 1969 or later. There are 703 drivers born in 1969 or later who have five or more DWI arrests on record, with a total of 4,077 arrests among them. 770 of the arrests resulted from alcohol-related crashes. Thirteen drivers had 12 or more arrests. 37% of the drivers were first arrested before age 18, and at that time they averaged 16 years of age and had an average BAC of 0.156. Another 46% were first arrested at age 18-20, with mean BAC of 0.176.

For all these 703 drivers, mean BAC at first arrest was 0.168, at second 0.180, at third 0.186, and for fourth 0.189, lending credence to the "drinking career" model that says drunk drivers follow "career paths" of increasing alcoholism. The model suggests that strong intervention early would have most dramatic effects, before they become even more addicted, but the under-18 first-time arrests show only 24% convicted despite their .156 mean BAC, and first arrests overall for these drivers resulted in conviction only 59% of the time. In 74 cases, judges dismissed charges even though defendants pled guilty; forty-two of those instances were juveniles under 18 who went on to have four or more arrests later in life, and nine were second- or third-time juvenile offenders. Judges Thompson and Martinez in Albuquerque accounted for twenty-six of those dismissals.

In New Mexico 152 drivers have been arrested for DWI crashes four or more times since 1984. A 13-time offender in Santa Fe has seven of his arrests resulting from crashes, the most in the state. Six drivers had six arrests ensuing from crashes, with a grand total of 57 DWI arrests on record among them. The 25 drivers with five DWI arrests ensuing from crashes had a grand total of 221 arrests among them.


Produced by the NM DWI Resource Center, 7/15/2000. All information calculated by the Center from DWI citation tracking system data as of 4/2000. Data is collected by the Motor Vehicle Division, NM State Taxation and Revenue Department, then re-organized as a database by the University of New Mexico Division of Government Research for the NM State Highway and Transportation Department.