The Facts on DUIs in Wyoming
Whether you’re attending holiday parties, enjoying your vacations, or taking advantage of days off, it can be tempting to drive even when you may have had too much to drink.
If you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated, it’s extremely important that you consult with a skilled Gillette defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Wyoming Is Among the Worst States for DUIs
In the United States, 1 in 3 traffic fatalities comes as the result of driving while intoxicated. And while those numbers indicate Wyoming is far from being the only state that has a problem with DUIs, the fact is that our state accounts for the highest rate of drinking and driving deaths per 100,000 residents. While the national average for people who report driving after drinking too much is 1.9%, in Wyoming it’s 2.2%, a significant increase.
Furthermore, statistics show that Wyoming drivers involved in fatal crashes had the highest blood alcohol content levels for drivers involved in fatal crashes. That means Wyoming drivers not only drive while intoxicated more often than drivers from other states, but are more intoxicated when they do so – a deadly combination.
Finally, Wyoming is also in second place when it comes to the number of drugged driving fatalities, trailing only West Virginia. And because the state’s standing has created something of a black eye for our national reputation, local officials have made it a priority to stop fatal crashes from happening. Moving forward, arrests and convictions for drinking and driving should be expected to rise, with the penalties becoming more severe.
What Do State Laws Say About Drinking and Driving?
To be charged with a DUI in Wyoming, a driver must be found to have a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or greater. Alternatively, an arrest can occur if the officer sees clear signs of intoxication. When you are stopped, you have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. However, Wyoming has an implied consent law that states that all drivers have given their consent to be tested using a chemical sobriety test. Refusing to do so can have stiff consequences.
Another consideration is that technically, you don’t even have to be driving to be charged with a DUI. The law states that any person who has control of the vehicle can be charged with a DUI, meaning that you could pull over to the side of the ride, or just be sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car, and still be charged with a DUI.
There are many potential consequences for a DUI in Wyoming. First of all, as soon as you are arrested, your license will be suspended. For a first offense, the suspension is typically 90 days. Being without a license can be a huge hardship, for instance preventing you from driving to work. It is possible to apply for a waiver that will allow you to continue driving to work, but to do so you must schedule a hearing with WYDOT within 20 days of your arrest.
Other penalties include the following:
- Up to 10 years of jail time
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Lifelong ignition interlock requirement
The latter punishment involves having a device installed on your car that requires you to prove you have not been drinking before your car will turn on. Other circumstances can also have an effect on the severity of your punishment, for instance if you were under 21 at the time of the incident.
Finally, there are other consequences. If you are a commercial driver, you could lose your CDL for up to a year if you are convicted of a DUI. Even if the offense was not related to your job or took place during your off hours, your employer might decide to terminate you after learning of your conviction. DUIs can also have a negative impact on your reputation and carry a significant social stigma.
What Happens on a First Offense?
The good news for first-time offenders is that you are unlikely to be sentenced to jail. In fact, with a proper defense, there’s the opportunity to enter Wyoming’s “probation before sentencing” program. This allows a person convicted of a DUI to enter one year of probation prior to sentencing while he or she is entered into an alcohol treatment program. Upon successful completion of the program, the conviction will actually be removed from the person’s record.
If you’ve been accused of a DUI, it’s imperative that you seek out legal counsel as soon as possible in order to build a strong and aggressive defense. Whether you are a first-time offender or have multiple DUIs, the consequences of a conviction can be severe and impact the rest of your life.
At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., our experienced Gillette DUI attorney will fight to help you avoid jail time, work to get your fine reduced, and do our best to get the charges against you dropped all together. Call us today at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free consultation.
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