To avoid a DWUI in Wyoming, you should know at least five things.
I. DWUI in Wyoming
It’s illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is called DWUI in Wyoming.
For drivers age 21 or older, DWUI is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It’s 0.05% with supporting police evidence of being under the influence. For commercial drivers, it’s 0.04%. And for drivers under 21, including adults 18 through 20, it’s 0.02%.
Wyoming has a zero tolerance policy against drinking by those under 21. But it permits BACs under 0.02%. This is to reduce the chances of convicting innocent young drivers.
Here’s the logic. Alcohol breath testers are unreliable. They don’t really measure BAC. (That requires analysis of a sample of actual blood.) Breath testers only indirectly estimate it. That’s why not all states permit them.
Another problem is that everyone produces alcohol naturally within their bodies. And they do this 24/7. And that includes all young drivers. Also, many meds and foods contain alcohol. This even includes baked goods such as bread.
So permitting BACs under 0.02% is wise. It helps protect the innocent.
The exact penalties imposed for DWUI in Wyoming vary. Many factors cause these differences. They include such things as these.
- Driver’s age.
- Type of license.
- Estimated BAC.
- The impairing substance(s)
- Any prior DUIs.
- Results of the DUI, if any (property damage, injuries, etc.)
- Any minors in the vehicle.
- Skill of driver’s lawyer.
- Characteristics of driver (demeanor in court, race, social and economic status, etc.)
- Beliefs and personality of judge hearing the case. That’s just the luck of the draw.
Some penalties are mandated, others are within ranges, and others are purely up to the judge.
Ignition Interlock Device
One penalty sometimes used is requiring the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). The device includes an alcohol breath tester. It prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting if alcohol is on the driver’s breath. Offenders must pay the high expense of having the IID installed, maintained, and monitored. Learn more about ignition interlock devices.
Driver Age 21 or Older
Second DWUI within Ten Years
- Jail for seven days up to six months.
- License suspension for one year.
- Fine from $200 to $750.
- IID required for at least one year.
Third DWUI within Ten Years
Fourth DWUI within Ten Years
- Jail up to two years.
- License revoked for three years.
- Fine up to $10,000.
- IID required for life. (May appeal after five years.)
Driver Under Age 21
License suspension for 90 days.
Second DWUI within two years
License suspension for six months.
III. The Costs
Getting charged with an DWUI in Wyoming is expensive. And this is true even if you’re innocent. Of course, it’s even more expensive if a judge or jury convicts you.
The cost of a legal DWUI defense is very hard to estimate. That’s because the complexity of cases varies widely. And more complex cases take more of a lawyer’s time. That means more money.
It’s wise to select a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is important. In fact, such a lawyer may take less time.
Its obvious that simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t helpful. It’s like asking a house builder how much it costs to build a house.
There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, medical expenses, possible loss of a job, increased insurance rates, and other expenses. The total can be high. It can easily be more than lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of an DWUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.
Also, there are non-money costs as well. They may include pain and suffering, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, driving license suspension, loss of friendships, and many others.
Knowing the high costs of a DWUI is very useful. It’s a great motivation. That can help us try to avoid getting one.
IV. Sobriety Tests
All states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their proven unreliability.
All drivers have a Constitutional right to decline taking a chemical BAC test. In spite of that, the state punishes those who use their right. The first use of the right leads to driving license suspension for six months. Use of the right on a second occasion triggers a suspension for 18 months.
Field Sobriety Tests
But no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test. And that’s good. Simply put, field sobriety tests lack validity. That’s why about one-third of completely sober people with a 0.00% BAC fail them. And they do so under ideal conditions. Also, they don’t fear being arrested and going to jail.
Taking a field sobriety test usually on an uneven highway shoulder, with cars racing by, and a police car’s flashing lights. Being pulled over by police and being very nervous is far from ideal. So the “real world” failure rate for completely sober people must be much higher.
Understandably, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. On the other hand, police want suspects to take them. They often falsely insist the law requires it. It doesn’t. Or they say that passing it proves you’re innocent. It doesn’t.
An officer who pulls over a driver for suspected drinking and driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary.
Discover much more about field sobriety tests. Knowledge really is power to protect yourself. And learn What to Do If You Are Pulled Over.
V. Avoid Arrest
Obviously, one way to avoid a DWUI is by abstaining from alcohol. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver or use public transportation.
Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least on occasion. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. And they may be unable to afford Uber or Lynks.
So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? The answer is simple and legal. Maintain a low BAC.
These guidelines can help keep a low BAC.
- Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have equivalent amounts of pure alcohol.
- Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
- Avoid non-standard drinks. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
- Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
- Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
- Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
- Never engage in any drinking game.
- Don’t try to “keep up” with the drinking of others.
This website strongly opposes impaired driving. But it also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.
Arrested for DWUI in Wyoming?
If you’re charged with an DWUI in Wyoming, contact a lawyer immediately. The attorney should specialize in drinking and driving cases. Better yet is one whose practice is limited to such cases.
The Wyoming State Bar (lawyer group) offers a free lawyer referral service. Also, the Martingale guide offers a free on-line database with lawyers by specialty and geographic location. In addition, it provides free client and peer evaluations.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Body?
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- Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.
- Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving. Cork: BookBaby.
- Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild.
- Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung.
- Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.
- Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts.
This site gives no advice. Please see a lawyer for that.