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DUI in Wyoming

What is a DUI in Wyoming?

The term DUI refers to the crime of driving under the influence. In Wyoming, a person contravenes the DUI laws when they operate a motor vehicle physically with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or while under the influence of any controlled substance. ‘Under the influence’ describes a person left without normal control of physical or mental capability.

A DUI charge in Wyoming occurs after an officer arrests a driver with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher after a breath test. On the other hand, a clear sign of intoxication may be enough cause for an officer to apprehend the motorist. Another technicality of a DUI in Wyoming is that a person does not have to be driving to receive a DUI charge. The law specifies that any individual who has control of a vehicle may face a DUI charge, implying that a driver sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car may still face DUI consequences.

The possible penalties for a DUI in Wyoming are abundant. Firstly, as soon as an officer makes an arrest, the offender’s driver’s license is suspended. However, the violator may schedule a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearing within 20 days of the arrest to apply for a license suspension waiver. When an offender is convicted of a DUI, the offense is typically included in their Wyoming criminal record.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Wyoming?

In the State of Wyoming, there is no disparity between driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI). In addition, legal authorities in Wyoming sometimes use the acronym “DWUI” in place of DUI. DWUI simply means “driving while under the influence,” and it is indistinguishable from DUI.

Wyoming DUI Laws

Under WY Stat § 31-5-233, Wyoming describes DUI as driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, or when the driver is not capable of running the vehicle safely due to being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. This means that a person may still get a DUI charge despite having a BAC of less than 0.08% or unknown, as long as such person is incapable of operating the vehicle safely. Under the DUI laws in Wyoming, the extent of a person’s penalty for a DUI offense depends on several factors. These factors include the BAC level, the number of previous DUI offenses, the timeframe within which the violations took place, whether the DUI led to injury or death of someone, and whether the DUI took place with a child on board. However, the most important of these is the number of previous DUI convictions an offender has.

Following WY Stat § 31-7-307 (Wyoming’s implied consent law), any individual who drives or operates a vehicle on any road in the state must give consent to a breath, blood, or urine test. However, an officer may only request submission to a test from a driver if the DUI arrest follows a lawful process. Formerly, drivers who refuse testing face penalties under Wyoming’s implied consent law, but the recent legislation abolished these punishments for most drivers. As an alternative, the legislation established a more efficient way for an officer to obtain a warrant to get a blood sample. Armed with a warrant, a law enforcement officer may use force to make a driver submit to a blood draw. Nevertheless, a commercial vehicle driver may still face penalties for refusing a chemical test, including suspension from commercial operation for one year.

According to WY Stat § 31-5-234, a driver below the age of 21 years who gets a DUI conviction pays a fine of $750 for the first offense. The driver also receives a license suspension period of 90 days. If a second conviction happens within one year of the first, the underage offender could be liable to one month in prison, a maximum fine of $750, or both. The license suspension period for a second-time infraction is 180 days. A third conviction within two years subjects the minor to up to six months in prison, a fine of $750, or both. License suspension may be more than 180 days.

In Wyoming, a DUI charge is both a criminal and a civil case. The court handles the criminal aspect while the Wyoming Department of Transportation takes control of the civil part.

DUI Penalties in Wyoming

A DUI conviction in Wyoming attracts criminal and administrative penalties. The first three DUI convictions are misdemeanor charges within ten years, while any subsequent convictions are felony charges. Offenders may get jail time, fines, license suspension, probation, community service, and compulsory attendance in a substance use program. If the violator gets probation, the court does not give prison sentences. Probation implies that the court places the offender under observation for a period, under certain conditions. The terms could include attendance and successful completion of a substance abuse treatment program. However, a driver may only be on probation once, and in some cases, it may be in addition to prison time, fines, and other punishments. For DUI cases in Wyoming, probation is usually for a maximum period of three years.

Notably, the penalties for DUI in Wyoming increase when there are aggravating factors. These inflaming situations may include a very high blood alcohol concentration (0.15% or higher), accident or injury to another person, or whether a minor under the age of 16 was in the vehicle with the offender.

Another penalty for a DUI offense is the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (IID). The device is a complex system that features a breathalyzer, which prevents the ignition of a vehicle’s engine if alcohol is present on the driver’s breath. The offender covers the cost of installation and maintenance of the IID.

Lastly, license suspension is almost inevitable when a party violates a DUI offense. When a person is guilty of driving while under the influence in Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Transportation renders the offender’s driving license invalid for a specified time. The duration of suspension is proportional to the frequency of the offense. That is, a fourth-time offender gets a lengthy suspension period than a first-time offender.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Wyoming?

The drunk driving laws in Wyoming do not make provisions for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and thus refers to the offense of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant as DUI or DWUI. Typically, upon arrest in Wyoming, a DUI offender faces a criminal charge at the court and a case with the Wyoming Department of Transportation on license suspension.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Wyoming?

For a first-time DUI violation, a proper defense may prevent sentencing and secure entry into Wyoming’s “probation before sentencing” program. The program allows the court to put a convicted offender on probation while the party submits to a substance treatment program. If the DUI violator completes the program, the conviction may not feature on the offender’s record.

There is no minimum prison term attached to a first DUI offense in Wyoming. However, a convicted first offender may face up to six months in prison or pay a fine of up to $750, or both. If there was a child in the vehicle during the DUI offense, the detention period increases to one year. According to WY Stat § 6-1-104 (a)(x), if the DUI offender causes severe bodily injuries while committing the infraction, the corresponding punishment includes a fine between $2,000 and $5,000 or a prison term of ten years, or both.

Additionally, first DUI convictions come with a compulsory administrative license suspension of a minimum of 90 days. If the recorded BAC was more than 0.15%, the court might compel the offender to install an ignition interlock device for six months after the reinstatement of the license. The court may also order the defendant to undertake a self-funded substance abuse evaluation and treatment if needed.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Wyoming?

When a motorist breaks the state’s DUI law for a second time within ten years of the first offense, the party is liable to pay a fine between $250 to $750. The prison term for such violation lasts between seven days to six months. An offender also gets a license suspension period of one year without a provisional license, and the party must enroll in a substance abuse program and undergo a substance abuse evaluation. The defendant must also install an ignition interlock device for one year after driver’s license reinstatement.

What Happens After a Third DUI in Wyoming?

For a third DUI conviction, an offender faces at least 30 days and up to six months in prison. The guilty party must serve the minimum prison term in a correctional facility and may not be eligible for a sentence suspension unless the party completes an inpatient treatment program. If the offender meets the program requirements, the judge may suspend up to 15 days of the mandatory period of imprisonment. In addition, the offender may pay a fine of at least $750 and up to $3,000.

Furthermore, the DUI violator gets a minimum license suspension period of three years with no eligibility for a provisional license. The court also imposes attendance of a substance abuse program. Following license reinstatement, an offender must install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle the party operates for two years.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, a DUI conviction appears on an offender’s driving record for ten years. However, by default, the DUI record is obtainable publicly for five years only. Nevertheless, there are no provisions for expunging DUI offenses from driving files. In contrast, a DUI violator may be eligible for the expungement of a misdemeanor DUI conviction at the court.

Expungement means that an offender’s DUI conviction becomes invisible in a criminal background check. However, certain agencies may still access the DUI conviction record after an expungement.

DUI Expungement in Wyoming

The state of Wyoming is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to drunk driving offenses. Thus, the state does not permit the expungement of DUI felony convictions. However, DUI misdemeanors qualify for the expunction process, and offenders must wait for five years after completing the sentence before applying for expungement. Also, the deletion of a DUI misdemeanor conviction happens only once in a lifetime.

Following WY Stat § 7-13-1501, to be eligible for expungement, convicts must:

  • Complete all sentences, including jail time, fines, court fees, and any restitution
  • Finish all substance abuse classes the court ordered.
  • Wait for 180 days in the case of dismissal or acquittal
  • Have no ongoing formal charge or any other conviction arising from the same crime
  • Pay a $100 filing fee for each petition for expungement.

An interested person may initiate an expunction process by filing a petition for expungement at the court where the conviction took place. The court then sends the petition to all parties involved with the case, including the Division of Criminal Investigation, the prosecuting attorneys, and the victims. These are called the respondents. The court sets a hearing if any respondent objects to the expungement. If not, the judge grants the expungement, and the judicial officer goes ahead to sign the Order for Expungement. The court sends the copy of the order to the Division of Criminal Investigation. The order directs the removal of all court files, the record of arrest, charge, or disposition of the case from public access. The document is only accessible by law enforcement agencies, and the driver may deny having any such arrest or conviction. The expungement process may take between 90 days and almost 365 days, based on the severity of the offense.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Wyoming?

Not likely. The probability of going to prison for a first misdemeanor DUI in Wyoming is low because judges may waive the proscribed prison sentence for other punishments. Typically first-time DUI violators should expect a fine, probation, installation of an ignition interlock device, license suspension, and enrollment into a substance abuse assessment/treatment as consequences of the offense.

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Wyoming?

The cost of a DUI in Wyoming is not limited to the cost of the fine only. It also includes towing and storage fees, court fees, ignition interlock fees (IID), etc. However, the average cost of DUI in Wyoming may run to $5,000. Considering the fines a DUI offender may pay for the first and second offense, the associated fine may be up to $750, while the third or fourth violation could range from $3,000 to $4,000.

Upon arrest, the law enforcement officer in charge orders the towing of the violator’s vehicle at the cost of the suspect. Towing costs about $141, and the storage fee is $25 per day. Also, following a court arraignment, the defendant bears the legal cost and the attorney fees. These costs could be between $500 to $1500 or more based on the case and experience of the lawyer.

The court may order a person proven guilty of DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on all registered vehicles. The device costs between $50 and $150 for installation, monthly fees, and removal. If a judge also instructs that a DUI violator attend a DUI school, the party may pay around $175 to $595 for the course. For defendants who got license suspension and may need probationary licenses, the party pays $15 for a case review and $55 for approval.

An increased auto insurance premium is one of the consequences of DUI, and an offender may bear more than a 50% increase of the usual cost.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, a bail amount varies according to the DUI case situation, and it could be as low as $2,500 and as high as $10,000. However, the defendant may use a bail bond which may attract 10% interest. In each court, the judge determines the bail amount within 72 hours of arrest. A bail allows law enforcement officers to release DUI violators with a guarantee that the party would appear for any further questioning or trial.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Wyoming?

Wyoming allows the reinstatement of driving licenses after the end of a suspension period. A driver looking to reinstate a license must install an ignition interlock device (IID) at the time of application. Concerned persons must also comply with additional requirements set by the court. To redeem a Wyoming driver’s license, a driver must:

  • Ensure there is no pending suspension
  • Fill an SR-22 insurance form with an insurance company
  • Complete all court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Pay the reinstatement fee

For all suspensions, the State of Wyoming charges a $50 reinstatement fee, except child support suspensions, which cost $5. Interested persons may pay the reinstatement fee in person at the local driver exam office or by mail using a personal check, money order, or certified funds to:

WYDOT-Driver Services
5300 Bishop Blvd
Cheyenne, WY 82009-3340

Two types of license suspensions may happen; one results from the arrest itself and another from the conviction. However, the Wyoming Department of Transportation may suspend a person’s driver’s license for a variety of reasons, including;

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Moving violations
  • Driving without insurance
  • Reckless behavior
  • Hit and run

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Wyoming?

Penalties after a DUI conviction come with other consequences that may negatively affect other areas of the offender’s life. A DUI violator may find it harder to commute due to license suspension. Furthermore, a DUI violation may be harmful to a violator’s financial wellbeing, given that a DUI conviction may attract payment of fines and other unprecedented costs. Aside from going to jail and paying fines, there is an additional three years disqualification period for drivers driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time of the offense. For a commercial driver who commits a second DWI while driving any vehicle, the suspension may last for life or maybe be shortened to ten years or more at the judge’s discretion.

Additionally, a DUI offense may impact a person’s reputation and result in substantial social stigma. Companies offering auto insurance classify DUI offenders as high risk. Business associates, future employers, and landlords may use detailed information about a person to assess their character.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Wyoming?

Yes. It is possible to lose one’s job after a DUI conviction. Wyoming is a state where most employment agreements are ’at will.’ And this means an employer may terminate a worker for any reason without incurring legal responsibilities. Also, the severity of DUIs differs depending on the business. For example, a teacher convicted of DUI may not renew their contract or lose their job immediately. Professional drivers may lose their jobs and may find it difficult to secure another.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, DUI checkpoints are illegal. Regardless, police officers may create temporary roadblocks on highways to stop vehicles they believe the drivers are under the influence of a substance. While some counties usually post checkpoint locations online, interested parties may surf the internet to locate checkpoints within different localities.

Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?

Typically, driving under the influence (DUI) may refer to being under the control of alcohol or drugs or being intoxicated while driving. Driving while impaired (DWI) may address alcohol usage by drivers alone. Although some states punish offenders for DWI, Wyoming does not. Instead, per WY Stat § 7-13-1501, the state combines the two terms as driving or having control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances (DWUI) and may use the term DUI interchangeably. Therefore, there is no difference as to the associated punishment for DUI or DWI in Wyoming. Offenders are liable to face the same sentence if found guilty.