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Well it depends on the violation and what county you were in at the time. The officer can issue a ticket under the city code which is a higher fine but results in no points added to their driving record. If you receive a ticket in Albuquerque and the ordinance box is checked, you won’t have points added to your driving record, but you will be required to pay a fine. Make a note that these types of tickets do not allow for you to register and attend a driver improvement school. You must pay the fine and fees. For example, a speeding ticket for 7 miles over the speed limit is a $120 fine with $65 in fees, totaling $185. Compare that to if you received a ticket for going 27 miles over the speed limit. Your costs would be $320 for the fine and $65 for the court fees for a whopping total of $385!

If that sounds like something you can’t afford, you can request the court to allow you to make payments or to perform community service.

If you end up having a speeding ticket where you are ticketed under a state statute instead of a city one, you’ll pay far less, but points will be added to your record. Let’s use the same amounts as above. A speeding ticket for 7 miles over the speed limit is $20 with a fee of $65 resulting in a total of $85. That’s $100 less! If you were going 27 miles over the speed limit, you fine would be $130 and the fee $65 for a total of $195. That’s $190 cheaper than the other option. Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick and choose how the officer writes the ticket. It is completely up to their discretion to write it under whatever jurisdiction they choose.

If you take a speeding ticket to court, you may end up paying more

In addition to your fine, you must also pay a court fee. These vary between each court. For example, a Magistrate Court will fine you $55 for a guilty plea but will fine you $75 if you plead not guilty but the court finds you guilty.

How do I pay for my ticket?

Check the back of the actual ticket that you received. If the “Penalty Assessment” box is ticked, then you must pay the fine via any of the options listed on the back. The courts allow you to pay the fine in person or by mail at the address listed. Some also allow you to pay over the phone.

If the “Court Appearance” or “Traffic Arraignment” box is ticked, then you’ll need to appear in person at the location and date specified on your ticket. If you do not appear, the court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and you may have your license suspended.

How do driving record points work?

When you are cited for a traffic violation in New Mexico, points are added to your driving record. For example, if you were speeding 7 miles over the speed limit, you would accrue 3 points on your driving record. If you were going 16 miles over the speed limit, you’d earn 5 points. Speeding 26 miles per hour or more and you’ll earn 8 points.

When you reach 6 points in a consecutive 12 month period, you’ll receive a notice by mail warning you of your situation. If you reach 7 to 10 points within one year, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to three months. If you end up with 12 points or more in a year, you’ll have your driving privileges suspended for 12 months.

Don’t get a ticket while using a learning or instruction permit or your restrictive driving period of six months will be extended by an additional 30 days.

There are so many types of courts! How do you know where to go?

The first step is to read the back of your ticket. It will tell you which court has jurisdiction for that traffic violation. But for future reference, there are three distinct types of courts:

  • Albuquerque Metro Court. This is where speeding tickets and any traffic violations that are issued in Albuquerque, New Mexico are handled. They cover all misdemeanor traffic violations in this area.
  • County or Magistrate Courts. If you are ticketed by a New Mexico State Police Officer, a County Sheriff’s Deputy in any county other than Bernalillo you will be ordered to that’ county’s Magistrate Court. Rarely, you might be assigned to the Magistrate Court of an adjoining county.
  • City, Town or Village Courts. Drivers who are ticketed in a city, town or village are usually ordered to appear at that local court. These courts are typically far less busy and as such, less stressful. Many have courts with part time hours, part time judges and part time staff. These courts have their own specific rules and you should contact that location for instructions.

What if I don’t agree with the ticket?

To plead not guilty to your ticket, you must appear at the court listed on the back of your ticket.

Do I have to appear in court?

For most tickets you do not need to appear in person. Check the back of your ticket to see if the “Court Appearance” or “Traffic Arraignment” box is ticked. If so, you’ll need to make arrangements to appear in person.

My license has been suspended. Now what?

In order to have your license reinstated in New Mexico, you must complete an approved driver improvement course. This course must be completed within 90 days of when you are applying to have your driving privileges reinstated. You must also pay a fee and may be asked to complete a driver’s examination.

I want to fight my ticket!

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