New Mexico prohibits driving without a valid driver’s license, whether suspended, revoked, or never issued. This article defines this violation, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a New Mexico highway must carry a valid license while driving.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $300, a maximum 90 days in jail, or both.
License not in possession. A driver who was issued a license but was not carrying it while driving can be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail. The driver can’t be convicted if a then-valid license is produced in court.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in New Mexico without an in-state license, subject to New Mexico age restrictions. Military personnel driving military vehicles and farmers driving farm tractors are also exempt. Non-highway motorcycles do not require a driver’s license to operate off-highway.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is subject to fines, jail, and extended license sanctions.
Driving while suspended. Generally, driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and four to 364 days in jail (or equivalent certified alternative sentencing program). The driver’s license will be suspended for a like period of time and the driver’s vehicle can be immobilized for 30 days.
Driving while revoked. Driving with a revoked license will generally result in the same fines as driving while suspended, except that the driver’s license revocation will be extended for one year.
Revoked for DUI. A violator whose license was suspended due to a DUI (driving under the influence) will be sentenced to seven to 364 days in jail and fined $300 to $1,000. The driver’ license will be revoked for an additional year and the driver’s vehicle will be immobilized for 30 days. No part of the sentence can be plead down or reduced.