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What Is Wyoming’s DUI “Washout Period?”

By stladmin on August 1, 2022

A set of car keys in the foreground and glass of whiskey behind.

A washout period, also known as a “lookback period,” is the amount of time after a previous conviction that a later charge can be modified by. In Wyoming, the washout period for drunk driving is 10 years. That means if you are convicted of a DUI, any previous drunk driving convictions within the last ten years will result in increased penalties.

Wyoming has stiff DUI penalties, and they get harsher when you’ve had one or more convictions over a ten-year period. If you’re facing DUI charges in the Cowboy State, you’ll want to speak with an experienced criminal attorney right away to protect your freedom.

What Is a DUI in Wyoming?

If a driver is “in physical control” of a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08, they can be convicted of drunk driving in Wyoming. That means a person doesn’t necessarily have to be driving the car to be charged with a DUI. For example, you may be convicted of drunk driving if you pull over and remain inside the vehicle.

A driver may also be convicted of a DUI if their BAC is less than .08 but they are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance that makes them “incapable of operating the vehicle safely.”

Harsh DUI Penalties in Wyoming

About one out of four traffic fatalities in Wyoming are caused by drunk drivers. That’s why district attorneys are eager to prosecute DUIs. And they really throw the book at repeat offenders. A DUI conviction can lead to heavy fines, a suspended license, and serious jail time. The penalties keep getting more severe if you are convicted more than once in a ten-year period.

A first DUI conviction carries a maximum jail term of 6 months. And if you are convicted of a fourth DUI offense over a ten-year period, you can go to prison for up to 7 years. You may also be forced to use an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) that requires you to pass a breathalyzer test every time you start your car.

If you injure someone while driving under the influence, you may be sent to person for up to 10 years. And if someone dies in the accident, you may be facing up to 20 years in prison.

Why States Have Washout Periods

Many states have a washout period for DUI convictions that lasts between 5 and 15 years. Other states such as Texas and Florida don’t have any washout period at all, meaning all DUI convictions are treated as individual incidents.

People who advocate having a washout period for DUI convictions argue that it’s best for police and prosecutors to focus and people who repeatedly drink and drive. They say going after drivers who have received multiple DUIs in the previous ten years makes it less likely that a genuine problem drinker will remain on the road.

A washout period is not an expungement. Even with a washout period, all of a person’s previous drunk driving convictions remain on their record. This includes any felony convictions that may result when a person is prosecuted for a fourth DUI conviction in a ten-year period or when a someone is injured or killed by a driver who is under the influence.

Are You Facing DUI Charges in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, employers are allowed to ask you about your record when you apply for a job, and they can request a criminal background check that reveals your convictions. An arrest or a felony conviction may have a negative impact on your immigration status, your ability to acquire a professional license, and your right to own firearms.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you only have 20 days to schedule a hearing to protect your right to drive. You will also be facing additional consequences that may include jail time.

Call Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. today at (307) 257-7800 to speak with an experienced Gillette criminal defense lawyer.

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