What Happens To Me After I’m Arrested for a DWI in Albuquerque?

Usually, when I am interacting with a DWI defendant the global question arises “What happens to me after I’m arrested for a DWI in Albuquerque?” I believe the person asking this question partially knows the answer because they have been arrested for DWI already; they know, or at least I hope they know, what processes and procedures are happening to them. But for those who have not been arrested for DWI and to clarify some things for those who have, I begin with the date and time of arrest:

You find yourself in handcuffs, sitting in the back of a police vehicle, having just been arrested for suspicion of DWI. You are likely on your way to the police substation where you will be read the New Mexico Implied Consent advisory and asked to voluntarily provide a breath sample or blood sample or both. Once you provide your breath sample and/or blood sample or you refuse to provide a sample, the arresting officer will issue you a Notice of Revocation and complete the paperwork. You will then be “booked” into the Bernalillo County Detention CenterMotor Vehicle Department (“MVD”) hearing. If you miss these deadlines you lose your right to excuse your assigned judge and the MVD will automatically revoke your driving privileges in New Mexico. On the other hand, if you timely excuse your judge you will be provided a newly randomly selected judge. Once the MVD hearing is timely requested you will receive a notice of MVD hearing.

Once you receive notice of your MVD hearing date you should immediately inform your attorney. Your attorney can go to this hearing for you. In some circumstances, when your testimony would be helpful for example, your attorney may ask you to attend the hearing. The MVD hearing is not a criminal proceeding but an administrative hearing. The sole purpose of the MVD hearing is to determine if your driving privileges should be revoked and, if yes, for how long. If your license is revoked pursuant to the MVD hearing you may still be able to drive with an interlock device installed on your vehicle and an interlock license.

Your first experience in Court will be your arraignment. At the arraignment the judge will explain the charges and possible penalties for those charges to you; explain your rights; and ask for your initial plea. You may chose to plea Guilty, No Contest, or Not Guilty. You should plea Not Guilty so that the case proceeds to trial and you can present your defenses. There are many defenses to a DWI charge whether factual, procedural or constitutional. If you plea Guilty or No Contest you will be subject to being sentenced and that could mean jail time. If you hire an attorney before your arraignment date you may have the option of entering a Waiver of Arraignment and Entry of Not Guilty Plea. If you do this, and the judge approves, then a Not Guilty plea will be entered for you and your arraignment date will be vacated and reset for a Pre-trial conference. Many attorneys will combine this waiver of arraignment with a waiver of appearance for pre-trial hearings as well. If so, and if approved, your appearance at pre-trial conference(s) will also be waived but your attorney will still have to go for you.

The State has 6 months (182 days) from the date of your arraignment to proceed to trial. During the course of these 6 months, your case will be set for a pre-trial conference approximately once per month. The purpose of a pre-trial conference to to inform the judge and the court what is the status of the case and is it ready for trial or not. Some issues to be discussed at a pre-trial conference is the status of written discovery including any belt tapes, cd’s or dvd’s and the status of witness interviews. Once the court is satisfied that the State has made all discovery available and the interviews have been made available the case will be set for trial. At trial, the Judge will call the case and make a readiness determination. The State will represent to the court if it is ready for trial meaning the State’s witnesses and the written documents, belt tapes. CDs and DVDs are present and ready; and the Defense will represent to the Court if it is ready meaning all discovery requested and interviews requested are complete and there are no pre-trial issues that should be heard by motion. If both the State and Defense are ready then the case will usually be set aside for a few minutes so the State and Defense can discuss plea options. If there is no plea agreement reached, the case will be called for trial and the trial will begin.

During trial you should expect the State to call the the officers and any civilian witnesses to testify against you. Your attorney will be able to cross examine these witnesses and attack their credibility and truthfulness. The State will attempt to introduce physical evidence such as the breath score, blood test results, and any audio and video of the incident. Your attorney will be able to attempt to exclude this evidence and attack its credibility. Once the State has finished presenting their side of the case, your attorney will then be allowed to put on the Defense. This includes the Defendant testifying, if the Defendant wishes to waive the Fifth Amendment Rights, but also could include Defense witnesses such as civilian witnesses and expert witnesses. Your attorney may also have audio and video to introduce in support of the Defense. The State, like the Defense, will have the opportunity to cross examine and attack the credibility of the Defense witnesses and exhibits. Once each side has had the opportunity to present their case the trial will close with closing argument. Each side will have the opportunity to argue the testimony and exhibits introduced at the trial support their positions, ie. the State seeking a guilty verdict and the Defense seeking an acquittal.

The Judge or Jury will make the finding of guilty or not guilty of the charges. Then, if found guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing. On the other hand, if there is no finding of guilt the Defendant is free to go without further delay or proceedings.

Feel free to Call us at 505-235-5010.