Lawmakers Approve Monitoring Device for Some NM DWI Cases

Last year, lawmakers passed legislation making it mandatory for every one convicted of driving while intoxicated in New Mexico to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Now legislators want to add another tool in the pursuit of prevention of drunk driving in NM. The House approved a measure that permits judges to require certain drivers convicted of drunk driving to wear an electronic monitoring device that detects alcohol.

The ignition interlock device is aimed at preventing drivers from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The sponsor of the new law says the objective of the special ankle bracelet is sobriety. He said that many rural areas do not have alcohol rehabilitation facilities and the alcohol monitoring bracelet will help alcoholics and repeat drunk driving offenders remain sober.

The bracelets detect alcohol in the person’s perspiration and through the air. The device periodically relays information to a company that tracks the devices. The data is forwarded to an appropriate probation office or government agency. The penalties for alcohol consumption have not been clarified.

The alcohol monitoring devices can cost around $15 per day, and there are installation fees. For those unable to pay for the bracelet, a judge is able to tap into a state indigent fund, which is also available for ignition interlock devices.

The New Mexico State House unanimously approved the proposed legislation, and the measure has been sent to the Senate for debate.

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