New Mexico

Advocate says Santa Fe man's story is epitome of drunk driving problem in New Mexico

He is being used as a prime example of the repeat drunk driving problem in New Mexico.

A local advocate says Andrew Valdez is a reason judges need to be tougher on drunk drivers if the state really wants to "End DWI."

Valdez had no problem admitting that he drank five beers before getting behind the wheel in March 2017, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states Santa Fe Police stopped Valdez near St. Francis and Penn after an officer noticed a bright LED light on his vehicle.

The officer said Valdez nonchalantly confessed to drinking then driving. He then blew a .16, which is twice the legal limit.

Valdez took a plea deal in November and was sentenced to just five years probation, despite it being his third DWI.

Linda Atkinson, with the DWI Resource Center, said Valdez is just one of the ongoing stories of repeat DWI offenders in New Mexico who get a slap on the wrist then go back to driving drunk.

"When we see repeat offenders, they seem to know the system better than the prosecution and know how to play it," Atkinson said.

According to February court records, Valdez has since violated his probation by not attending treatment. But when he appeared before Judge David Segura, he was only sentenced to serve 11 days of what should have been a nine-month sentence.

Then, just this week, court records show Valdez is facing charges for domestic violence. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

At last check, he has not been arrested.


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