ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man’s DWI arrest could make him the first New Mexican to get hammered by a new state law.
Santiago Munoz has nine DWI convictions, and when deputies arrested him at Isleta and McEwen Monday evening, he may not have known that number ten could be a lot different.
According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, Munoz was arrested for felony aggravated driving while impaired. He also injured another driver.
“People don’t get the message. Repeat offenders have been doing it for so long, I think it was necessary to have a change,” said Deputy Jareno.
That change, a state law that went into effect July 1, calling for drunk drivers to do 10-12 years in prison starting at conviction eight.
Munoz is going on ten, and is the first suspected drunk driver to be facing these harsher consequences. State Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes co-sponsored the new law.
“A couple of years behind bars is now a mandatory 10 years sentence and that’s substantial. They’re losing their freedom essentially and we believe it’s a deterrent for people that are thinking about either drinking and driving and those that have chosen to drink and drive,” she said.
The toughest DWI sentence used to be two to three years, something Munoz probably doesn’t want to hear about right now.
The sentences for DWI convictions one through seven are still the same, but Representative Maestas Barnes said she would like to see those strengthened too.