A Rio Rancho Public Schools educational assistant has been charged with aggravated DWI on accusations that she refused to take a sobriety test, as well as other charges related to a Feb. 7 traffic stop.
Jennifer Rivera, 36, of Rio Rancho is charged with aggravated DWI for refusal of blood-alcohol testing, resisting an officer, careless driving, speeding by 1-10 mph and having open containers of alcohol in the vehicle, all misdemeanors.
RRPS spokeswoman Melissa Perez said Rivera is an educational assistant at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary.
“At this time, the charges Ms. Rivera is facing do not directly relate to her employment with us, as she does not drive an RRPS vehicle, does not drive an RRPS bus and does not transport students or staff in any way,” Perez wrote an in email.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court, a Rio Rancho Police officer clocked Rivera going 52 mph in a 40-mph zone on Southern Boulevard. Then on Golf Course Road, he saw her drive half-way in a turn lane through an intersection and nearly collide with a median, he wrote.
Two officers participated in the traffic stop, and both saw five mostly empty miniature alcohol bottles in the car and observed that Rivera smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, according to the complaint. Rivera denied drinking but said she took prescription medicine.
She told officers the alcohol bottles belonged to her son.
According to the complaint, Rivera completed one field-sobriety test and then refused to do any more. When officers arrested her, she went limp, tried to pull away from officers, had to be carried to the patrol car and then braced her feet against the floor and roof of the vehicle to push away, while screaming at the officers, according to the complaint.
Officers eventually secured her in the vehicle.
“I then read her the New Mexico Implied Consent Advisory as she screamed at me,” the officer wrote.
The New Mexico Implied Consent law states that anyone driving a car in New Mexico is considered to have consented to blood and breath tests to determine blood-alcohol content if arrested on suspicion of DWI. People who refuse automatically lose their driver’s license for a year and are charged with aggravated DWI.
According to the complaint, Rivera still refused blood-alcohol testing. She was medically cleared at a hospital and eventually booked into Sandoval County Detention Center. According to court records, she’s scheduled for arraignment later this month.
Court records didn’t list an attorney for Rivera, and the police report didn’t contain her phone number.