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New Mexico MVD Revamps License Suspension Rules and Adds New Motor Vehicle Legislation

New Mexico

In a significant policy overhaul, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) announced today that it would no longer suspend drivers' licenses solely due to failure to appear in court or for non-payment of traffic fines and fees. The change is part of a new law signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and effective from today.

Notably, for drivers whose licenses were suspended under the old rules, MVD is mandated to reinstate driving privileges by September 1, 2023, if the suspension was only due to court non-appearance or fine non-payment. However, the Division expects to lift these suspensions much sooner, and importantly, there will be no reinstatement fee associated with these specific suspensions.

However, drivers should note that underlying citations and any associated fines will remain on their records and may require court compliance. Licenses that expire while under suspension will need to be renewed and paid for, and those that expire for five years or more will necessitate re-testing.

The new law does not extend to commercial driver’s licenses or licenses suspended for reasons such as accumulating too many infraction points, habitual recklessness or negligence, and other reasons under state law. Those drivers may still need to pay a reinstatement fee to restore their driving privileges.

Along with the significant suspension changes, the MVD introduced other new legislation that took effect today:

  • HB 267: Removes the health standards advisory board from the statute. The now-obsolete board reviewed reports from doctors related to medical and vision restrictions for licenses. Under the new law, MVD agents can accept the findings of physicians and issue credentials based on those findings. This change expedites the processing of credentials for drivers aged 79 and older and other drivers required to submit vision or medical reports.
  • HB 389: Allows homeless individuals to obtain a New Mexico identification card from MVD without paying a fee.
  • HB 366: Enables disabled veterans to receive more than two disabled veteran license plates. While the first two plates remain free of charge, any additional plates will incur standard license plates and registration fees.

Looking ahead to July 1, more motor vehicle legislation will come into law:

  • SB 396: Increases the annual motorcycle registration fee from $15 to $20.
  • HB 62: Prohibits the sale of a motor vehicle by a person who is not the owner or a registered dealer and also restricts “off-site” vehicle sales by licensed dealers.
  • HB 360, HB 141, and HB 287: Introduce new specialty license plates supporting the Future Farmers of America (FFA), recognizing the family and friends of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, advocating driver safety awareness, and supporting New Mexico miners.

The MVD continues to expand its online services and retail kiosk offerings for customers' convenience. Full details of the new laws and their implications can be found in the official MVD press release.