New Mexico Court Monitoring Report 2022

Key Findings & Observations

Increases in dismissals of misdemeanor DWI cases in many counties. Cases being pled down to “DWI 1st” despite not being “true firsts” and having an enhanced DWI charge. Waivers granted by the New Mexico Supreme Court to extend case timelines and suspend trials. Low volume of misdemeanor cases in DWI dockets. 2021 coincides with an unprecedent time for both court monitoring and the adjudication of misdemeanor DWI cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded difficulties in logistical processes, court administration, prosecutorial obstacles, and discovery-related issues cited in previous years. For this year’s findings, Court Monitors have observed: For this year’s report, Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes the at various COVID-related factors confound the reported trends for dismissals in many counties; among these factors include: staff shortages for both law enforcement agencies and prosecution that resulted in poor discovery transmission, unavailability of officers to attend to key proceedings, late filings, and existing backlog of cases. Being that the data is being published while the nation is still in the throes of a pandemic, it is difficult to identify and establish conclusively a more definitive basis for these trends. Such a rationale can only be offered once the pandemic’s effects on court operations and administration have subsided. Nevertheless, the pandemic has contributed to many complications in misdemeanor DWI prosecution. Mothers Against Drunk Driving® is concerned that the reduced filings of misdemeanor DWIs may lull New Mexicans into a false sense of security about the prevalence and persistence of DWIs during the pandemic. Additionally, MADD is concerned that the growing rate of impairment cases and the lack of vigor in prosecution will result in damage to trust and an undermining of confidence in the court system within the community. Given these trends, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reiterates its position: Fair and equitable high visibility law enforcement as the most effective method to stop drunk and impaired driving instances. Community mobilization to increase awareness and education of its citizens about the devastating consequences of drunk and impaired driving on our roads. Cases to be heard on their merits and not dismissed prematurely, which prevents the use of ignition interlocks. Compliance with statutory requirements, which stipulate the installation of ignition interlock devices in all vehicles driven by offenders. IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY DRUNK OR


(1) Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018, April). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth edition (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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