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New Mexico Traffic Laws

You must obey hundreds of laws while living or traveling in New Mexico, but you probably don't think about them all while behind the wheel.

Drivers sometimes make mistakes in the course of their daily flow. Law enforcement officers will stop motorists anywhere, not just in busy cities like Albuquerque or Santa Fe. You could get a ticket when you least expect it.

Even the most skillful drivers in the state must know and obey New Mexico's traffic laws. Breaking one could lead to a traffic citation or a car accident. Learn more about the rules so you can act quickly and safely in a critical moment.

New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Code

You can find most driving laws in Chapter 66 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA 1978). The table below highlights popular traffic safety topics and their matching state laws.

Drinking & Driving Violations Persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs (NMSA 1978 66-8-102)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Drivers must be licensed (NMSA 1978 66-5-2)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Vehicle must be insured (NMSA 1978 66-5-205)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Vehicles subject to registration (NMSA 1978 66-3-1)
Illegal U-Turn Turning movements and required signals (NMSA 1978 66-7-325)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Accidents (NMSA 1978 Ch. 66, Article 7, Part 3)
Mechanical Violations and Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Motor Vehicles: Equipment (NMSA 1978 Ch. 66, Article 3, Part 9)
Move-Over Law Operation of vehicles on approach of moving authorized emergency vehicles (NMSA 1978 66-7-332)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving (NMSA 1978 66-8-113)
Right of Way Approach of oncoming vehicle;  yield right of way (NMSA 1978 66-7-332.1)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Obedience to any required traffic-control devices (NMSA 1978 66-7-104)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Safety belt use required (NMSA 1978 66-7-372)Child passenger restraint (NMSA 1978 66-7-369)
Speeding Speed regulation (NMSA 1978 66-7-301)



What To Expect if Police Officers Pull You Over

While most of the usual steps of a traffic stop will apply, New Mexico has a few unique rules for traffic violations and their penalties.

Many moving violations are low-level misdemeanors or infractions that carry fines. For example, breaking the speed limit by 20 miles per hour leads to a $65 base fine plus fees, but speeding in a school zone doubles the fine.

You'll need to make a vital decision on the spot. You must immediately choose whether to contest the ticket in court or agree to pay the ticket. Agreeing to pay the penalty assessment means you can't fight the ticket later.

Other violations carry significant penalties, including jail time and license suspension. These citations don't let you pay and drive away, but instead require you to attend court. Some situations, like driving while intoxicated (DWI), can lead to your immediate arrest.

Will I Get Driver's License Points for Traffic Violations?

Yes, New Mexico is one of many states that use a point system to track how well each driver follows the laws. Violations are worth point values according to the New Mexico Administrative Code. Some traffic offenses, such as DWI, do not add points to your record.

Minor violations, such as failure to use your seat belt, are worth two points. On the high end of the scale, a ticket can be worth up to eight points. The state may suspend your license for three months if you get at least seven points in one year. If you have 12 points, you can face a 12-month suspension.

The points from multiple tickets can add up quickly. As a New Mexico driver, you can check your driver's license record through the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to see how many points you have. Successfully challenging tickets keeps the points off your record.

Legal Advice for Traffic Issues

Protect your driving privileges. Get legal advice before you pay a citation or go to court. A local traffic law attorney can guide you if you face a ticket, DWI arrest, license revocation, or accident in New Mexico.

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