Today, Governor Susana Martinez signed Senate Bill 118, which cracks down on the worst repeat DWI offenders and substantially increases penalties for drunk drivers who kill someone on the road. In fact, the new penalty for driving drunk and killing someone will be one of the highest in our region.
The legislation, sponsored by Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes (R-Albuquerque) and Senator George Munoz (D-Gallup), makes it a second-degree felony to be convicted of eight or more DWIs, increasing mandatory sentencing from 2 years to 10 years, with a maximum sentence of 12 years. The bill also increases penalties for vehicular homicide while under the influence from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, allowing judges to increase sentences from six years to 15 years in prison – two-and-a-half times the current penalty.
“Enacting tough legislation to crack down on repeat drunk drivers is the right thing to do, and frankly, the Legislature hasn’t done enough of it over the years,” Governor Martinez said. “Too many families have suffered pain, loss, and tragedy from those who make the reckless decision to drink and drive. This is tough legislation that works hand-in-hand with what my administration is doing to ENDWI in New Mexico.”