While the legal limit in New Mexico appears for the time being to be set at .08 blood alcohol content, there is some movement to reduce the common .08 limit to .05. In fact, a state that borders New Mexico will do just that in the upcoming days.
Other states have considered following suit, and a federal organization recommends the move.
In the context of this discussion, it is important to note that alcohol has a gradual effect on a person as he or she consumes more and more drinks. For instance, even at .02 BAC, which is about two drinks for a typical person, the person will start to have a harder time multitasking and focusing his or her eyes.
With another drink in a short time, the person will be approaching .05 BAC, which means he or she will have some limitations in coordination and will not be able to follow moving objects well. On the road, this can mean not being able to focus on oncoming traffic and difficulty handling the vehicle.
Because alcohol also delays one's judgment and response times, a driver at .05 BAC can have a hard time responding to an emergency situation.
The bottom line is that one does not have to be at .08 BAC, which is an important number for criminal prosecutions of drunk drivers, in order to be considered drunk in a civil personal injury lawsuit following a car accident.
Whatever the BAC level of the other driver, if the victim can show that the other driver was not able to handle his or her vehicle safely because of alcohol, then the victim may be well on his or her way to getting compensation.