The Wyoming DWUI / DUI Guide

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Driving While Under the Influence

Actual Physical Control

W.S. 31-5-233

Administrative License Suspension

W.S. 31-7-134

 

I just got arrested for a State of Wyoming DWUI / DUI charge.  What happens next?

 

ISSUE ONE:  The Wyoming Implied Consent / Administrative Per Se / Refusal Suspension Proceeding:  Under Wyoming law, any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a public street or highway in the State of Wyoming is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of his blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration or controlled substance content of his blood.   This is known as Wyoming's implied consent law. 

 

Pursuant to Wyoming's implied consent law, your Wyoming drivers license (or your right to drive in Wyoming if you're not a Wyoming licensed driver) was most likely revoked for anywhere from 90 days to 18 months for failing or refusing a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test.  This typically starts on the 30th day following your arrest. 

 

Read your paperwork carefully.  If you act within 20 days, you can request a hearing from the Wyoming DOT to challenge the proposed suspension.  Speak to your Wyoming DUI attorney for more information about contesting your administrative (implied consent) license suspension. 

 

 

ISSUE TWO:  The Wyoming DWUI / DUI Criminal Case:  Separate from the administrative license proceeding is the criminal charge either for driving while under the influence.  Under Wyoming law, you commit the crime of DWUI if you drive or have actual physical control of any vehicle within Wyoming and you:

  • have a breath / blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more; or

  • you are under the influence of alcohol to a degree which renders you incapable of safely driving; or

  • under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders you incapable of safely driving; or

  • under the influence of a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance to a degree which renders him incapable of safely driving.

Note:  A person younger than 21 years of age shall not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in the State of Wyoming with an alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more.  This misdemeanor offense is known as unlawful operation of vehicle by youthful driver with detectable alcohol concentration

Important:  The implied consent / administrative license revocation proceeding and the criminal DWUI / DUI case are completely separate from one another. 

 

Will my Wyoming driver license be suspended or revoked?

 

RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your Wyoming driver license (or your right to drive in Wyoming if you do not have a valid Wyoming license) may be suspended in the implied consent proceeding for failing or refusing a chemical test for alcohol and / or drugs.  The revocation periods are outlined in the table below:

 

IMPLIED CONSENT / ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION PERIOD
(FOR PERSONS 21 AND OVER)
Implied Consent Action 1st Offense 2nd or
Greater Offense
Administrative Test Refusal Six Months 18 Months
Administrative Per Se / Test Failure 90 Days 90 Days

 

Again, you may challenge this proposed suspension if you make a timely hearing request.

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  If you are convicted of the DUI charge, your Wyoming license (or your right to drive in Wyoming if you don't have a valid license) for between 90 days and one year depending on your DUI / DWUI history.

 

What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended?

Under Wyoming law, you may not drive a motor vehicle on any public highway in the State of Wyoming at a time when your driver's license, from this or any other jurisdiction, or nonresident operating privileges are cancelled, suspended or revoked.  Therefore, if you drive while your license is under suspension for failing or refusing a breath test or following a DWUI conviction, you commit a misdemeanor crime.  Penalties include possible jail time and a fine.  A second conviction for driving under suspension can result in a minimum seven day jail sentence.

I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted license / hardship permit / occupational / conditional / probationary license?

 

You may be eligible for a probationary license.  However, a probationary license can only be issued for the first DWUI. If it is your second or subsequent DWUI, within the past five years, you cannot get a probationary driver's license.

 

If you refused a chemical test or are suspended for a DWUI conviction, you may eligible for an ignition interlock restricted license after serving at least 45 days of your suspension.  Speak to your Wyoming lawyer for more information on the IID restricted license.

 

What is the difference between a DUI, DWUI, DWI, OWI, OVI etc.?

 

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the crime commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime based on how their statutes are phrased.  For example, in Colorado, the terms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWAI (driving while ability impaired) are used.  In Michigan, OWI (operating while intoxicated) is commonly used.  The State of Missouri uses DWI (driving while intoxicated).

Wyoming's statute refers to, "driving or having control of vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances" so the terms DWUI as well as DUI are most commonly used here.

Is a DWUI offense in Wyoming a misdemeanor or felony charge?

In Wyoming, a first or second or third DUI / DWUI conviction is a misdemeanor crime.  A fourth or greater offense within the past five years is a felony charge.

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Wyoming DUI charge?

 

Upon conviction of an Wyoming drunk driving charge, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including a substance abuse assessment and treatment.  A range of penalties is set forth below: 

 


WYOMING DWUI / DUI PENALTY CHART

DWUI CONVICTION TYPICAL PENALTIES

FIRST OFFENSE
first
offense within past five years (See Note 1)
misdemeanor

  • fines;
  • jail possible but not required;
  • 90 day license suspension (See Note 2);
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required for six months if BAC is 0.15% or greater;
  • possible limited driving privileges.
SECOND OFFENSE
second offense within past five years
misdemeanor

  • fines
  • at least seven days jail (if second conviction within five years);
  • one year license suspension;
  • IID required for one year;
  • no limited driving privileges.

THIRD OFFENSE
third offense within past five years
misdemeanor

  • substantial fines;
  • at least 30 days jail (if third conviction within five years);
  • three year license revocation;
  • IID required for two years;
  • no limited driving privileges.
FOURTH OFFENSE
felony if fourth offense within past five years
  • substantial fines and custody time;
  • three year license revocation;
  • IID required for five years to life;
  • no limited driving privileges.
Note 1:  The critical look back period for Wyoming DUI / DWUI offenses if five years.
Note 2:  If you served or are serving a suspension for failing a chemical test, the suspension period will be the same.  If you are serving a suspension for refusing to submit to the chemical test, the DWUI conviction suspension will start after the refusal suspension is finished.
Note 3:  Penalties increase if you caused serious bodily injury to another person or if you had a child as a passenger in the vehicle.

Will my defense lawyer be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Wyoming DUI / DWUI charge down to another (lesser) offense?

Probably not.  Under Wyoming law, any person charged with a DWUI shall be prosecuted for that offense and not under a reduced charge or dismissed unless the prosecuting attorney in open court moves or files a statement to reduce the charge or dismiss, with supporting facts, stating that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the charge.  This anti-plea bargaining law prohibits charge reduction in most cases.

Will a Wyoming DUI / DWI conviction go on "my driving record?"

Yes.  A DWUI conviction will go on your Wyoming driving record and remain there for at least five years.  After five years, you may be able to expunge a misdemeanor DWUI offense.

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI in Wyoming?

The amount of jail time received will depend on a number of different factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

•  your prior driving record especially your DWUI history (including any DUI's / DWI's outside of Wyoming) in the past five years;

•  your level of intoxication / blood alcohol content;

•  whether there was an accident / collision involved;

•  whether there was injury (especially serious physical injury) to another person;

•  which Wyoming county or court your case is in;

•  which judge sentences you;

•  whether there was a passenger especially a child under 16 years of age in your car.

 

I am licensed to drive in a state other than Wyoming and I was cited for a DUI / APC in Wyoming.  Will my driver license be revoked or suspended?

Wyoming only has the authority to revoke your right to drive in the State of Wyoming.  However, Wyoming and 44 other states and Washington D.C. have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Wyoming will report a driving under the influence conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  Your home state will then generally take action to suspend or revoke your drivers license.  See W.S. 31-7-124 et seq.

This also works in reverse.  If you are a Wyoming licensed driver and you are convicted of a DWI / OWI / DUI / OVI in another state, Wyoming will suspend your license if it learns of your conviction. 

Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?

 

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition system.  In order to start the vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the IID which then measures alcohol concentration. 

You will have to install an IID for a first offense if your BAC was 0.15 percent or greater.  An IID is also required for any second or greater DWUI within the past five years.

 

If you obtain an IID is also required for persons seeking an ignition interlock restricted license.

What will a Wyoming DUI do to my ability to keep my liability insurance?

If your insurance company finds out about your DUI conviction one of two things are likely to happen.  Either your Wyoming insurance company will raise your rates or your insurance policy may be cancelled or not renewed.  Your insurance company will learn of your DUI / DWUI if you have to file an SR-22.

What is an SR-22 Filing?

An SR-22 is a certificate of proof of financial responsibility (liability insurance) submitted by an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of Wyoming.  Wyoming requires an SR-22 filing for any DWUI / DUI conviction.  The form must be kept on file for three years.  Failure to maintain the SR-22 will result in the revocation or re-revocation of your driver license or driving privileges

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get a Wyoming DWUI?

 

Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Wyoming DWUI convictions and implied consent license suspensions.  Learn more about the FAA requirement here.

I missed my court appearance.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a Wyoming court DUI appearance, bad things happen.  At a minimum, the Wyoming court typically issues a summons or warrant for your arrest (sometimes known as a bench warrant).  You may also face a new, additional criminal charge.  Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.  Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled.

Can I represent myself in court on my Wyoming DUI or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have an absolute constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including an Wyoming DUI charge.  Keep in mind that Wyoming DWUI / DUI defense is a complicated area of the law as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own DWUI attorney, you definitely should apply for a court appointed lawyer.  You have no right to court appointed counsel at any administrative license suspension appeal.

Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

 

 

Websites, including this one, provide general Wyoming DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship.  General information cannot replace legal advice about your case, criminal charge, or situation.  Consult qualified Wyoming Drunk Driving - DUI - DWI lawyers / attorneys for advice about any specific problem or Wyoming drunk driving charge that you have.  Wyoming attorneys are governed by the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way. 

 

The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.

 

Providing drunk driving (DUI) and criminal defense representation to the communities of:  Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Gillette, Rock Springs, Albany County, Campbell County, Laramie County, Natrona County.  Wyoming lawyers may accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards. 

 

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