SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY

SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY

Sheriff Juan Hernandez will implement a DWI checkpoint Thursday night at an undisclosed location in the county, in conjunction with the state Transportation Department's Super Blitz for the month of March.

The checkpoint is scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight. Hernandez said he wants to remind residents of the possible temporary seizure or permanent forfeiture of motor vehicles driven by persons convicted of multiple DWI offenses.

“If you drink and drive, you lose,” he said. "Your vehicle, that is."

The county may seize a vehicle and pursue civil forfeiture if the vehicle is determined a “public nuisance,” as defined by the county’s DWI Vehicle Forfeiture Ordinance.
According to the ordinance, a vehicle is a public nuisance when driven by a motorist whose license has been suspended for DWI, or who has been arrested for a third or subsequent DWI offense after two or more previous convictions for DWI.

Hernandez said curbing the “phenomenal” repeat-offender problem is a challenge, and the best solution is to “go ahead and take the vehicles away from them.”

Across the state, law enforcement agencies are ratcheting up their checkpoints and saturation patrols for the period of March 8 - 21, designated as the state's Super Blitz.

In addition to the sheriff's initiative, a DWI could cost a driver up to $500 in fines in addition to other fees, jail time, community service and mandatory DWI school.

"I encourage all residents to wear seatbelts. It's the best defense against drunk and unsafe drivers," Hernandez said. "And please, if you plan to drink, designate a driver."

Sheriff’s personnel at Thursday’s checkpoint will be compensated through Operation DWI grant funding.

For more information, call Grant A. Taylor, assistant to the director of public information, at (505) 647-7290. Anyone calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7290.