When a New Mexico police officer makes a traffic stop, it might be for various reasons, such as a vehicle with a non-functioning brake light or a driver who was swerving over the yellow line. A stop made following the latter issue likely means that the police officer may suspect the driver of DUI, in which case. If the officer starts asking questions, is the driver obligated to respond?
The only information a driver is required to provide is name, address and age, as well as proof of license, registration and insurance. Beyond those issues, a driver is not obligated to answer any questions. If a police officer asks the driver he or she consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, the driver may politely decline to answer.
New Mexico drivers do not have to submit to sobriety tests during a DUI stop
In addition to asking questions, a police officer might ask a driver to exit his or her vehicle and perform a field sobriety test. The driver must step out of the vehicle when instructed to do so but is not required to comply with the request to take a physical test. If a driver submits to a test, and the police officer issues a failing score, the office will likely decide that the failing score constitutes probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
Chemical testing is a separate issue. In New Mexico, implied consent rules apply, meaning that anyone who has a valid driver’s license has agreed (by signing the license) to take a chemical test for blood alcohol content if detained for suspected DUI. Refusal to do so incurs an automatic license suspension. If a DUI arrest has occurred, it is best to immediately request legal representation before due process begins.