Cowboy Criminal Defense defends clients from charges of driving under the influence (DUI, although sometimes referred to as driving while under the influence, or DWUI).
The penalties and laws for getting caught while driving intoxicated are quite stiff in Wyoming.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, then you need an attorney in Casper, WY who understands your situation, has a good relationship to the court, and who can advocate on your behalf.
Understanding DUI Laws in Wyoming
Driving while under the influence includes alcohol, but it isn’t limited to it.
The Wyoming blood alcohol limit is .08.
In addition, the police can charge you with DUI if you are driving under the influence of illegal or even legal drugs.
That includes drugs that you have a doctor’s prescription for.
If you’re taking a new medication and you’re not sure how it’s going to affect your reaction time, consult with your doctor and make sure that you give yourself enough chance to adjust to being on the meds.
Different Kinds of Penalties for DUI in Wyoming
All U.S. states carry civil, criminal, and administrative penalties for DUI. Civil penalties may come in the form of injury judgments against you or exorbitant auto insurance costs.
You may also be responsible for injuries in excess of the liability limit on your insurance policy.
On top of that, your license may be suspended or you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car.
Lastly, you can face criminal charges in the form of fines or jail time.
It’s also important to understand that Wyoming has minimum sentencing requirements for DUI in certain situations.
Defendants convicted of multiple DUIs will see the inside of a jail cell.
DUI Penalties for a First Offense
Wyoming maximum penalties for a first DUI conviction include:
- Fines. The court can issue a maximum fine of $750 for a first offense.
- Administrative penalties. The court will suspend your license for a period of 90 days. You may also be required to get a substance abuse assessment at your own expense. If your BAC was above .15, Wyoming will require that an IID be installed on your vehicles.
- Jail time. You can face up to six months in jail even for a first offense. Wyoming takes intoxicated driving very seriously.
DUI Penalties for a Second Offense
The penalties for a second DUI conviction increase significantly, but they must be within 10 years of one another. These include:
- Fines. At the minimum, the court will fine you $250 with a maximum of $750.
- Administrative penalties. You will face a license suspension of up to 1 year. In addition, Wyoming will require that an IID be installed on any car you own. You will be ordered to receive a substance abuse assessment.
- Jail time. Wyoming has a minimum 7-day jail sentence for a second DUI offense in five years with a maximum of 6 months.
DUI Penalties for a Third Offense
In this regard, the third time is not the charm. In fact, the penalties for a third offense in a 10-year span are quite serious in Wyoming. These include:
- Fines. The minimum fine for a 3rd offense is $750 with a maximum of $3000.
- Administrative penalties. Your license can be suspended up to 3 years. You may be forced to install an IID on your vehicles.
- Jail time. You will receive a minimum of 30 days in jail. 110 of those days will be spent in a mandatory drug counseling program. You can receive a maximum of 6 months in jail.
DUI Penalties after a Third Offense
Those convicted of a DUI beyond a third offense face incredibly harsh penalties. To be sure, the 4th conviction is considered a felony by law and because of that, the penalties are especially stiff.
- Fines. You can be fined up to $10,000.
- Administrative penalties. Your license will be suspended. For how long varies from one case to the next. The State of Wyoming will require that you install an ignition interlock device at your own expense for the remainder of your life. You may, however, petition the court to remove it after a period of time. You will be required to go through another drug assessment and period of rehabilitation.
- Jail time. You can be jailed for up to 2 years.
Defense against DUI in Wyoming
Many people wonder whether they should allow themselves to be breathalyzed if they are pulled over while drunk.
The truth is, refusing a breathalyzer will cause your license to be suspended for an even longer period of time than if you take it and fail.
The Fifth Amendment does not apply to blood, hair, and other evidence. It only protects you from testifying against yourself in a court of law.
In addition, Wyoming makes it very difficult to plead down DUI charges.
However, there are ways to defend yourself against the charges.
These include affirmative defenses in which you admit that you were driving under the influence but had some good reason to do so.
Affirmative defenses would include having a drink involuntarily spiked by someone else, believing that a prescription medication had worn off, or driving while intoxicated to prevent something worse from happening—driving someone to the hospital for instance.
In addition, you can argue that you were stopped improperly or that the officer lacked “probable cause” to pull you over.
You can also call into question the accuracy of breathalyzer or field sobriety tests.
Contact a Casper, Wyoming DUI Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you’re probably pretty scared. The penalties for a conviction are high in our state.
That doesn’t mean that you have to face this alone. The skilled DUI lawyer at Cowboy Criminal Defense can help you make your case before the court.
Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin discussing your options immediately.