Bill Would Make It Illegal For New Mexico Teens To Be Intoxicated

New Mexico – On DWI Awareness Day at the capitol, State Senator Kent Cravens is once again introducing several measures to fight DWI, including one bill that makes it illegal for youth to be intoxicated. Currently, it is illegal for youth to be in possession of alcohol or to buy it, but it is not illegal for them to be drunk.

Senator Craven's bill adds this language ."to be visibly in an intoxicated condition" to the current state law that makes it illegal to buy, attempt to buy or be in possession of alcohol for anyone under 21 years of age.

"If it is not in their hands, minors are not in possession and cannot be considered adjudicated or guilty of a crime," Senator Cravens said. Senator Cravens said the bill sends a strong message to youth that the state serious about youth and drinking. "Drinking alcohol is not an appropriate behavior. It will be a crime," Senator Cravens said.

While a youth under 18 would be adjudicated for the crime and someone under 21 would be found guilty, both classes would have their drivers' license suspended for 60 days. If they did not have a license yet, 60 days would be added to the time required to obtain a license.

Senator Cravens will be introducing his DWI legislation this morning in the Senate. At noon he will join his brother Paul Cravens at the DWI Awareness Day Events at the rotunda.

Paul Cravens was injured and he lost his wife and three daughters in a DWI accident on Christmas Eve in 1992 when a drunk driving the wrong way on I-40 plowed into their car. Senator Cravens believes his brother is remarkable after all he has gone through and after all he has done since the tragedy 19 years ago.

"Paul is remarkable. He suffered the loss of his family, severe physical injuries including a brain injury yet has been able to accomplish so much. He is not only a champion in the fight against DWI, but he also earned a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, and recently completed his MBA from UNM. Paul has just returned from ten months in Afghanistan where he was reviewing plans in the rebuilding effort with Corps of Engineers," Senator Cravens said.

The Attorney General's Office requested the legislation.