Prevent DWI: Police urge revelers to drink responsibly

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Police will be out in force New Year’s Eve looking for drunk drivers, but revelers have plenty of options to celebrate the holiday in Socorro without being stuck at home.

Jess Landers, owner of Socorro Taxi — the only taxicab company in town — said his company has a New Year’s Eve special. Between the hours of 8:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 2:30 a.m., Socorro Taxi will transport people between their home and the Bodega Burger Co. & Lounge on California Street for free. He said the taxis will even go as far as San Antonio and San Acacia, although they don’t go to Magdalena.

Landers specified the free service is between home and the Bodega only — no hotels, no house parties, no other bars, no other stops.

Socorro Taxi can be reached at 835-4276.

The city of Socorro is also doing its part to ensure a safe and jovial New Year’s Eve for residents. Steve Rosas, driver with the city’s transportation department, said the department will give free rides from midnight to 2 a.m. New Year’s.

Rosemary Rosas, transportation department program director, said they will give free rides from any bar in town to any home within the city limits, but they will not pick up at house parties. She said the phone number to call for the free rides home is posted on fliers at all the bars in town.

New Mexico State Police District 11 Capt. Adrian Armijo said NMSP has overtime patrols out, in addition to regular patrols, starting this weekend and on different days throughout the entire holiday week.

“We will have a regular shift working, plus we will have officers on overtime to keep the highways safe,” Armijo said. “They’ll be working the highways and rural areas, also in conjunction with the city (police) and the sheriff’s department, who will be out in force.”

Armijo said NMSP conducts DWI checkpoints and saturation patrols as well.

“They’ll be out for nothing but traffic safety,” Armijo said of the overtime patrols. “They’ll be out looking for people speeding, driving recklessly, DWIs and just to make sure that the highways are safe.”

Armijo strongly recommended everyone either go out with a designated sober driver or stay at home if they are drinking. Above all, he advised people to drink responsibly.

“Drinking not only leads to DWI arrests, but it leads to domestic violence — it’s one of the leading causes for domestic violence, and for accidents,” Armijo said. “So just drink responsibly.”

Undersheriff Les Torres cautioned revelers on the use of firearms. He said many people shoot guns like fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and when they fire up they have no idea where the bullet will land. There are instances of bullets coming through ceilings and hitting innocent victims.

“If they use any firearms, they can’t fire near a dwelling,” Torres said. “And remember: What goes up must come down.”

Torres also said the Socorro County Sheriff’s Department will be doing extra patrols all weekend and through New Year’s Eve. He noted last year deputies picked up only two drunk drivers, and there weren’t many large parties out in the county.

“My understanding is there will be a few this year,” Torres said. “So we’re hoping everyone conducts themselves safely.”

According to the state Department of Public Safety website, New Mexico has some of the toughest DWI laws in the nation. The state has many mandatory penalties for a DWI — meaning that no matter what, a judge can’t be lenient and let anyone off easy.

Repeat offenders in particular receive harsh penalties, according to the DPS website. A fourth DWI conviction is a felony in the state of New Mexico and can even result in a lifetime revocation of the offender’s license, as well as a fortune in fines, mandatory jail time and an ocean of paperwork flowing for years after the offense.

 

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