What is the Punishment for an New Mexico Wrong Way Driver?
If you’re caught driving in the wrong direction in Albuquerque, New Mexico, you could face serious consequences. In fact, the penalties for a wrong way driving conviction in the state can include felony charges and even jail time.
Not only that, but victims of wrong way crashes may also be able to sue the driver in a separate civil court proceeding, adding even more potential legal trouble for those found guilty of this offense.
If you find yourself facing a wrong way driving charge in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico, it’s important to take the situation seriously and seek the guidance of a qualified attorney. With their help, you may be able to mitigate the consequences of a conviction and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
New Mexico Penalties for Wrong Way Driving
To reduce the risk of head-on collisions and fatalities on New Mexico roadways, including in Albuquerque and nearby municipalities, clear signage is posted to direct traffic flow and warn drivers against entering in the wrong direction. Large red signs at freeway exits and varying sized warning signs along thoroughfares are intended to prevent wrong way driving.
In 2018, the state legislature in Albuquerque increased the penalties for wrong way driving offenses in an effort to further reduce the number of fatalities resulting from these crashes. Sadly, 25% of wrong way crashes are fatal. Under New Mexico law, a first arrest for wrong way driving that does not result in injury or death is now considered a Class 4 felony, rather than a Class 1 misdemeanor.
However, some ambiguity remains regarding what exactly constitutes a highway under the revised law. Criminal defense lawyers in New Mexico are quick to point out that the new law extends the parameters of the offense to include what the state refers to as surface streets. This means that what may have previously been considered a low-level DUI offense resulting in a single day in jail is now punishable by up to four months in prison for wrong way driving. If you’re facing charges related to wrong way driving in Albuquerque or anywhere in New Mexico, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Additional Penalties for Wrong Way Drivers
Wrong way drivers in New Mexico who cause a crash can face even harsher felony charges, particularly if the crash resulted in injuries or death. These charges are meant to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. However, the consequences of a wrong way crash can extend far beyond criminal charges.
Victims of a wrong way crash may also have the right to sue the driver of the vehicle for financial compensation, including punitive damages. It’s important to note that in New Mexico, the threshold for winning a civil case is lower than that required for a criminal conviction. This means that even if a wrong way driver is not convicted in a criminal case, they may still be held liable in a civil lawsuit and face financial ruin.
New Mexico’s Battle Against Wrong Way Driving Includes Thermal Cameras
New Mexico has been fighting a battle against wrong way driving in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the state’s roadways. As part of this effort, the state has implemented a new strategy that involves the use of thermal cameras to detect and alert authorities of wrong way drivers.
These thermal cameras are mounted on traffic signals and use advanced technology to detect vehicles traveling in the wrong direction. When a vehicle is detected, the system automatically sends an alert to the authorities, who can then respond quickly to prevent a potential crash.
This innovative technology has already been installed on several highways in New Mexico, and state officials are hopeful that it will help reduce the number of wrong way crashes on the state’s roads. While it’s still too early to tell whether this strategy will be effective, early reports suggest that it’s already making a difference.
In addition to the use of thermal cameras, New Mexico has also implemented other measures to combat wrong way driving, including increased signage and stiffer penalties for those caught driving in the wrong direction. By taking a multi-faceted approach to this problem, the state is working to make its roadways safer for everyone who travels on them.
If you’ve been involved in a wrong way crash or are facing charges related to wrong way driving in New Mexico, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of a skilled attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Read More about 2018 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 66 – Motor Vehicles Article 7 – Traffic Laws; Signs, Signals and Markings; Accidents; Weight and Size; Traffic Safety Section 66-7-308 – Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions.