New Mexico Wildlife

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

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Summary of OHV Laws and Rules 

Last Updated: 06/17/09



New Mexico has new requirements for off-highway motor vehicles (OHVs) designed to protect the safety of all OHV users and ensure responsible and sensitive OHV use. The law requires all OHV users to register or acquire a permit for their OHV if it is used on public land.


Registration is MANDATORY if OHV is USED on PUBLIC LAND


Vehicles that are considered to be OHVs & must be registered:

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

Dirt bikes

Off-road vehicles (ORVs, UTVs or Mule type vehicles)



Vehicles not required to be registered for off-highway motor vehicle use:

Motorcycles registered for use on public streets

Vehicles used strictly for agricultural use

Vehicles used strictly on private land



Riders under 6:

May not operate an ATV on public land.


Riders under 18 MUST:

Wear an approved, securely fastened helmet.

Wear approved, protective eye wear.

Never carry a passenger, even on OHVs designed for two persons.

Be visually supervised when operating an OHV, unless:

        Age 13 and above with a valid motorcycle license.

        Age 15 and above with a valid driver's license.

Complete a certified OHV course and obtain a safety permit.


Prohibited uses:

It is illegal for any person to use an OHV to:

or destroy signs, windmills or other property.

Operate any OHV in a way that damages the environment, plants, animals

or creates excessive noise.

Harass, pursue or hunt wildlife or domestic animals.

Operate any OHV where prohibited or on private land without permission.

Operate an OHV on paved roads or highways.

Negatively affect livestock and or agricultural practices.

No one, regardless of age, may drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Riding responsibly & on designated trails:

Know before you go. Contact the local U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or other appropriate agency office to find out about trails, roads or areas open to OHV use.

It is your responsibility to obtain permission to travel accross private lands.


Your responsibility:

This document is not to be used as a substitution for New Mexico Statutes 66-3-1001 to 66-3-1020 or Title 18 of the New Mexico Administrative Code.   It is intended to provide basic information regarding the requirements for OHVs and users.   It is your responsibility to know the law.



New Mexico resident registration and fees

              Contact: New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)

              Phone: (505) 827-4636      Toll-free: (888) 683-4636

              Web site:

              Or any field office

             $53 for initial registration - $50 thereafter (Must be renewed every two years from the date of initial registration.)


Nonresident permit and use fees*

              Contact: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

              Phone: (505) 476-8000

              Web site: or

              Or any New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office


Two-year permit – (Must be renewed every two years from the date of initial registration.) $48
90-day permit$18


*Non-residents who have proof of a valid OHV registration, user fee or similar fee,

may not need to purchase the New Mexico Permit. Please check the Web site

for a listing of those states.


l Be Safe   l Stay on trails   l Tread Lightly   l Enjoy

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