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Governor Susana Martinez Announces First-Year Results From DWI Court Monitoring Initiative

on November 21, 2017 - 7:31am
ALBUQUERQUE — Gov. Susana Martinez announced Monday that more than one-third of DWI cases monitored by the state during the first year of the DWI court monitoring initiative – aimed to shed light on how DWI cases are handled – were dismissed.
Martinez also announced ways the state plans to help with the adjudication of DWI cases.
“It is unacceptable to continue to let people off the hook for drunk driving,” Martinez said. “We must send the message to all New Mexicans that if you get behind the wheel intoxicated you will face the consequences in court for your actions. The justice system must stop going easy on criminals.”
In April 2016, Martinez announced a two-year contract with MADD to place court monitors in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan, and Santa Fe Counties to watch the DWI adjudication process and provide information to the public about how those cases are handled. The outcomes of the DWI cases are then tweeted from the Twitter account @NMDWIWatch.
Martinez also announced plans to assist the counties in adjudicating DWI cases, based on discussions with the six counties involved. The district attorneys in McKinley and Bernalillo Counties will receive more funding aimed at improving the process, which may include staffing.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation will also be scheduling forums in each of the six counties where the district attorney’s office and local law enforcement can meet to discuss obstacles and solutions in adjudicating DWI cases.
“I appreciate the support for increased funding to the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office to prosecute DWI cases. With the help of the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Governor's Office, the DA's Office can make our streets in Bernalillo County safer.”
Data shows that of the 1,106 monitored cases that were adjudicated, 36 percent were dismissed, 35 percent were guilty, 23 percent were deferred prosecution, 4 percent were amended, and one percent were not guilty verdicts. The top three reasons cases were dismissed are because officers or witnesses failed to appear, the suppression or exclusion of testimony or evidence, or because the defendant received a plea deal.
Data also shows that McKinley County had the highest dismissal rate at 48 percent. Bernalillo County followed as 45 percent of their cases were dismissed. Santa Fe came in at 39 percent, Dona Ana came in at 28 percent, and San Juan at 26 percent. Rio Arriba County had the least amount of cases dismissed, coming in at 18 percent.
Martinez has made fighting DWI a priority in her administration. Just last week she unveiled a new TV ad aimed to educate New Mexicans on the consequences of drunk driving. Last year, the Governor enacted legislation that increased penalties against drunk drivers to some of the toughest in the region. The administration also launched a campaign aimed to stop servers and establishments from over-serving alcohol. She also spearheaded a crackdown on DWI offender absconders.