Two men were arrested last month to the tune of a total 30 total combined DWI arrests. Todd Turrietta and Johnny Ignacio both were arrested 15 times each for DWI-related incidents, but their sentencing for the 15th arrest could be no more severe than the first under New Mexico law. How does this act as a deterrent to prevent further drunk driving offenses? Simply stated: it doesn’t.
Lawmakers want to make a change and are pushing to increase the severity for each punishment. Right now, by state law, New Mexico citizens can expect the same time for the crime, no matter if they are repeat DWI offenders or not. In Albuquerque, however, the laws are more severe. Many state officials and citizens would like to see New Mexico as a whole go towards the direction of Albuquerque’s drunk driving laws.
Albuquerque law allows courts to take away the DWI convict’s car and increased jail or prison time for a repeat offense. Each felony conviction of DWI would count against the newest charge, making 10- or 15-year prison sentences a possibility for those who have repeatedly driven under the influence.
According to Governor Susana Martinez, repeat offenders should be punished in a stricter fashion. “Obviously (repeat offenders) haven't taken advantage of the treatment that is being provided by law (and) need to stay off the streets,” Martinez said. The treatment she mentions is New Mexico substance abuse treatment that was more than likely part of their sentencing.
Treatment available to DWI offenders can include substance abuse treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation program. For many DWI convicts, New Mexico’s own Vista Taos Renewal Center is an excellent option for substance abuse treatment. It will only be a matter of time before the laws are brought into effect and those who are convicted will face greater sentences for their DWI crimes. Don’t wait until a judge orders you into substance abuse treatment; seek one out before you end up behind bars. To learn more about an alcohol rehabilitation program in New Mexico, contact Vista Taos Renewal Center to discuss how the program can help you.