Know the Law Before the Law Knows You

Alcohol and Drugs

What is the drinking age in New Mexico?

You must be 21 to purchase or drink alcohol in New Mexico.

Is the drinking age different for beer and liquor?

No. In New Mexico, the age is the same for both – age 21 – to buy beer, wine or liquor.

What is the punishment for buying, drinking, or possessing an alcoholic beverage as a minor?

This is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines, which increase with each prior conviction. The court can also suspend your driver’s license, and you may be required to do some community service work. In addition, the court may require that you attend an alcoholic awareness course.

May a person under age 21 buy beer, wine or liquor with parental consent?

No. A person under the legal drinking age may not buy beer, wine or alcohol even if accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is over the drinking age. All places that sell beer, wine or liquor have a duty to ask for identification for proof of age of all persons who appear to be and might be under the drinking age. All places have the right to refuse to sell alcohol to all persons who cannot show true proof of age, even if that person is 21 years or older. It is a felony to give alcohol to a minor.

What is the penalty for using a fake ID?

Using a fake ID is a misdemeanor; making or applying for a fake ID is a felony. A felony is a charge for which you could be sent to prison and lose your civil rights.

What happens if I get arrested for drug possession?

It depends on the type and the amount of drugs, as well as other factors. Possessing some drugs, like marijuana, may either be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount. Possessing other drugs, like cocaine or methamphetamine, is a felony. Any conviction for drug possession or any conviction related to drugs can affect your eligibility for federal programs like student loans.

If I get caught selling drugs at school, could I be in even more trouble?

Yes. New Mexico law imposes increased penalties on anyone who sells or gives a controlled substance in a drug-free school zone.

Is it against the law to use someone else’s prescription drugs?

Yes. To possess or use someone else’s prescription is illegal. The punishment depends on the type of drug and how it was used or sold to someone else.

Is it illegal to take steroids to build up my muscles to improve my game?

Yes. All non-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal.

This is GENERAL and BASIC information only. Laws are constantly changing. Exceptions and special circumstances exist. You should seek legal advice from an attorney to your choice who can take into account all the factors relevant to your particular situation.