New Mexico Speeding Laws

Read about New Mexico's speeding laws and the consequences of a ticket.

In addition to "absolute speed limits" (see below), New Mexico's "basic speeding law" requires all drivers to use due care and control their speed so as to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle which is either on or entering the highway. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-7-301 (2017).)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first-time speeding violator is looking at up to $300 in fines. The exact fine amount depends on the circumstances, including how many miles over the speed limit the motorist was going. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-8-116 (2017).)

Penalty for Reckless Driving

A New Mexico driver can be convicted of "reckless driving" for driving in a manner that puts people or property at risk. A first-time violator faces five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $100 in fines. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-8-113 (2017).)

(Read more about New Mexico's reckless driving laws.)

Speed Limits

New Mexico's absolute speed limits are:

  • 75 miles per hour on highways
  • 35 miles per hour in business and residential districts, and
  • 15 miles per hour in a posted school zone.

(N.M. Stat. Ann. § 66-7-301 (2017).)

New Mexico Speeding Laws

New Mexico has what's known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There's no trick to how it works: If the sign says 40 miles per hour and you drive 41 miles per hour or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In New Mexico you may be able to make three possible defenses:

  • attacking the officer’s determination of your speed (to do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method)
  • claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others, and
  • claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car (with so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road).

Note that in New Mexico you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit—for example, driving exactly at the maximum posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

Point System

A speeding violation will typically add three to eight points to a motorist's driving record. Accumulating seven or more points within a year can lead to license suspension. (N.M. Admin. Code 18.19.5 (2017).)

(Read more about New Mexico's traffic violation point system.)

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