Fight Traffic Ticket in New MexicoPage Overview
In New Mexico you have three plea options: guilty, no contest (nolo contendere) or not guilty. Regardless of plea, you must enter it by the appearance date listed on your citation. If you cannot find your citation, learn what to do in our Lost Traffic Ticket section.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine
- Option to plea bargain penalties
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation)
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates
- Possible option to attend driver improvement school and reduce points
Learn more about
Paying Your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest traffic ticket via trial
- Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties
- No penalties if found guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees
Learn more by reading below.
Contesting your traffic ticket means:
- You are exercising your right to challenge your ticket in court.
- You may be able to negotiate a plea bargain agreement for reduced charges or outright dismissal.
- You may represent yourself or hire legal counsel.
- The court may find you not guilty and dismiss the ticket, requiring you to pay court fees and, if applicable, legal fees.
- The court may find you guilty, requiring you to pay fines, court fees and, if applicable legal fees. The court will also assign points to your driving record, possibly leading to the suspension of your NM driver's license.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
Pleading guilty or no contest forfeits your right to a trial. It's an admission of guilt, requiring nothing more than paying the fine listed on your traffic ticket. Learn more in our page titled Paying Your Traffic Ticket.
Avoid Being Issued a Bench Warrant
Failing to make a court appearance or entering a plea could result in the suspension of your NM driver's license and a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
You must appear at the court listed on your citation to plead not guilty. The ticket will contain specific instructions, including the exact time and date. If you have any questions about the process, contact the court.
Consider hiring legal counsel if your budget allows. You can usually consult with one for free to see if your case warrants an attorney. A traffic ticket lawyer's expertise might improve your chances for reduced charges or outright dismissal. A favorable decision could possibly spare you from a suspended driver's license, having points added to your driving record and from increased car insurance rates.
If you opt against hiring a traffic ticket attorney, you'll need to organize your own defense. This may include ordering a copy of your driving record and/or subpoenaing witnesses.
After hearing both sides, the judge will issue a verdict. If found guilty, the court will fully explain how to proceed paying fines and fees. If you disagree with the judge's verdict, you do have the right to appeal. Inquire with the court clerk regarding the appeal process.
Regardless of verdict, check your driving record for accuracy. Make sure there are no phantom points or violations. A simple clerical error that adds to an accumulation of points could cause the loss of driving privileges and a jump in car insurance rates.
The appearance of a traffic violation on your driving record may cause a spike in your car insurance rates. You can counter a rate increase by shopping for a new auto insurance provider. Comparing car insurance online is a convenient way for finding a coverage plan that best meets your needs and budget.Other Topics in This Section