Doña Ana County



Sheriff Juan Hernandez will implement a DWI checkpoint Saturday night at an undisclosed location in the county.

The checkpoint is scheduled from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. 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.

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. The arrest of a person under 21 years old, who has at least one prior conviction for DWI, also can lead to a vehicle’s seizure and possible forfeiture.

The ordinance also stipulates that, upon an offender’s second DWI arrest, the vehicle driven at the time of the arrest will be impounded for 30 days. A daily impound fee will be assessed to the vehicle owner and must be paid in order to get the vehicle back.

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

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

Operation DWI funds will also be used during the month of February for Cops-in-Shops investigations. Hernandez said Cops-in-Shops is necessary to identify sources of illegal alcoholic sales to minors, to intoxicated patrons or to persons involved in serious DWI-related accidents. The investigations may result in arrests and criminal charges against those found to be in violation as either buyers or sellers. Businesses in violation of state liquor-vending laws will be referred to SID for further administrative and/or criminal penalties.

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.