Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of New Mexico.
Speed limits in New Mexico
New Mexico has a wide range of speed limits along its interstates and highways, therefore these are general guidelines.
75 mph: rural interstates and freeways, and one stretch of US-70
65 mph: some urban freeways, such as through Albuquerque and Las Cruces
55 mph: default maximum speed in un-posted areas
35 mph: residential and business districts
15 mph: posted school zones
New Mexico code on reasonable and prudent speed
Maximum speed law:
According to section 66-7-301(B) of New Mexico vehicle code, “Speed shall be so controlled as to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle that is either on or entering the highway. All persons shall use due care.”
In any state, including New Mexico, you should not drive at such a slow speed as to impede the flow of traffic.
Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.
New Mexico has an absolute speed limit law. This means that a driver cannot argue a speeding ticket on the basis that they were traveling safely despite exceeding the speed limit. A driver may, however, choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:
The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.
A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.
The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could make a mistake and pull the wrong car over.
Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in New Mexico
First-time violators may:
Be fined between $15 and $200
Have their license suspended for up to one year
Penalty for reckless driving in New Mexico
Exceeding the speed limit by 26 mph is automatically considered reckless driving in this state.
First-time violators may:
Be fined between $25 and $100
Be sentenced to up to between five and 90 days of jail time
Have their license suspended for up to 90 days
Violators may also be required to complete a driver improvement course. Interestingly, except for inside Bernalillo County no points are assessed to a driver’s license for speeding in a rural area of New Mexico, unless the speeding is a contributing factor in a traffic accident.