Farmington, NM- Thanks to enhanced training and scores of concerned citizens, Farmington police say they are poised to make a record number of drunken driving arrests in 2014, the department announced last month.

The Daily Times reported that so far this year, Farmington Police have arrested 550 individuals for suspicion of drunken driving. And with the upcoming holiday season, police believe they are on track to make over 700 DUI arrests by year’s end. If they do, they will beat their DUI arrests records over the past five years.

The department is optimistic and hopes that by 2015 they will make a total of 1,000 DUI arrests.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe explained to the Daily Times that improved officer training and “significantly higher” number of calls from concerned citizens have helped the department reach their DUI apprehension goals.

Thirteen officers on the force have been trained as “drug recognition experts” so they can more easily identify whether a driver is intoxicated. Hebbe said this training was necessary since it can be hard to determine if a driver is on drugs, adding that recreational marijuana in Colorado has made this more difficult.

Hebbe said, in August alone, his department received 300 calls about potentially drunken drivers. He urged citizens to call 911 whenever they see a reckless driver on the road and stay on the line so they can help police find the driver.

With the holidays on the horizon, law enforcement agencies across New Mexico will step up their efforts to catch drunken drivers through increased patrols and roadblocks.

Being convicted of a DUI can life-changing. In New Mexico, a first DUI conviction means an automatic suspension of their driver’s license. If a person has been charged with their second or third DUI, they could face jail time. Even worse is the fact that once a person has been convicted of a DUI charge, it will stay on their records indefinitely. On top of the potential consequences, a convicted DUI offender can expect to shell out thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. Unlike DUI offenders in other states, individuals facing this charge in New Mexico are not allowed to negotiate for a plea bargain making a strong defense more necessary.

No one should drink and drive, but it’s a common mistake people make. For most, that mistake is not realizing they are too impaired to drive. Intoxicated drivers aren’t known for making the best decisions so when they find themselves in trouble they need to contact a New Mexico DUI attorney immediately. This will give them the time they need to begin building your defense.

Having an effective DUI defense is critical to any person facing a DUI charge so they must choose an accomplished Farmington DUI attorney crafting their defense. After examining the details of your case, your attorney will determine the best approach to take in your case and ensure you avoid conviction or mitigate some of the potential consequences.