Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Wyoming. Wyoming's DUI laws define the offense and specify what it means to be "under the influence" and what constitutes "driving." Wyoming statutes also outline the penalties for convictions, which depend on the severity of the offense.
This article explains the legal requirements for a person to be convicted of a DUI, as well as the possible penalties for a DUI conviction in Wyoming.
To convict a driver of DUI in court, prosecutors must prove he or she was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle:
In other words, a DUI conviction can be based on BAC or actual impairment.
An impaired person can be convicted of a DUI if he or she was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle. Driving is a generally understood term and involves the actual movement of a vehicle. However, "actual physical control" encompasses more than just driving.
A person who is able to physically assert dominion over the vehicle by starting and driving away is considered to have actual physical control over the vehicle. The court will often look at many factors when determining physical control, including:
Basically, judges are looking for circumstances that show the driver could have quickly put the car in gear and driven away.
Under Wyoming law, a driver who is deprived of the normal control of his or her bodily or mental faculties is considered to be "under the influence." However, when a driver has a BAC of at least .08%, the prosecution doesn't need to prove actual impairment.
The penalties for a DUI conviction vary based mostly on the number of prior DUI convictions the offender has within the last ten years.
Generally, a first, second, or third DUI conviction will be charged as a misdemeanor. The chart below outlines the range of jail time and fines for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in Wyoming.
Up to 6 months
7 days to 6 months
30 days to 6 months
Up to $750
$200 to $750
$750 to $3,000
While a misdemeanor DUI can carry up to six months in jail, judges will often set aside the jail sentence and instead place the offender on probation for up to three years. While on probation, offenders must comply with certain requirements (such as treatment and maintaining sobriety). Persons who violate these probation conditions can be required to serve part or all of the jail sentence.
Generally, offenders must serve the minimum required jail penalty before being released on probation. For example, a second-offense DUI requires seven days in jail before probationary release.
Prior to sentencing, a person convicted of DUI must obtain a substance abuse assessment conducted by a certified substance abuse provider. The provider's report and recommendation will be sent to the court for consideration in sentencing. Based on the report, the court can require the offender to participate in rehabilitation programs like treatment programs, group therapy, monitored sobriety, and DUI education courses. For third and subsequent DUI offenses, the court can order inpatient treatment, which can cut the jail sentence in half.
As a form of monitored sobriety, the court is authorized to order participation in the state's 24/7 sobriety program. This program uses breath testing, drug patches, and secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring (SCRAM) bracelets to ensure the offender abstains from drugs and alcohol during the probation period.
The court is allowed to increase or decrease penalties based on mitigating and aggravating factors but certain circumstances mandate penalties above the normal statutory limits. For example, an impaired driver who was transporting a passenger under the age of 16 faces up to one year in jail (five years if he or she has prior DUI convictions).
A DUI will be charged as a felony if the offender has at least three prior convictions within the last ten years. Causing serious injury while driving impaired can also result in felony charges.
A fourth or subsequent DUI offense in ten years is a felony and carries up to $10,000 in fines and seven years in prison. The driver's license will also be revoked for three years, followed by a lifetime ignition interlock restriction.
A DUI that results in serious bodily injury to another will also be a felony and carries $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, up to ten years in jail, and a one-year license revocation. Drivers with prior DUI offenses will face increased penalties.
A DUI incident usually results in the loss of driving privileges. The duration and type of penalty depend on the driver's cooperation with sobriety testing as well as the person's driving record.
License-related penalties can result from a DUI arrest and/or conviction.
Wyoming's "implied consent" law specifies that all persons who are lawfully arrested for impaired driving must submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if requested by an officer. That said, Wyoming no longer imposes any criminal or administrative penalties against persons who refuse testing. However, the fact that a person refused testing can be used as evidence in a criminal trial to prove culpability.
If a driver submits to testing and produces a BAC that's at least .08%, the officer will seize the driver's license and issue a temporary 30-day license. Generally, the driver's license will be suspended for 90 days.
The BAC test result will also be forwarded to the prosecutor for use in the DUI criminal trial.
All DUI convictions will also result in license suspension. However, a suspension for a test failure will run concurrent (meaning it does not stack) with a conviction suspension. The driver's license be suspended for:
A DUI conviction also requires the offender to carry proof of insurance for up to three years and can result in the revocation of the driver's vehicle registration for up to one year.
DUI offenders might also be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID), which prevents the operation of a vehicle if the driver has consumed alcohol. There's a one-year IID requirement for a second DUI and a two-year IID requirement for a third offense. First offenses DUIs that involved a BAC of .15% or more result in a six-month IID restriction.
The court can waive the IID requirements if the offender was ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet or other monitoring system under the 24/7 monitoring program.
Drivers facing license suspension are generally eligible to apply for a restricted IID license. This license provides temporary driving privileges during the suspension period but requires the driver to pay a $125 application fee and install an IID. Drivers who have had no prior offenses in the last five years and comply with all treatment requirements may be able to drive without the IID restriction.
Under Wyoming's "youthful offender DUI" law, drivers who are under 21 years of age are prohibited from driving with a BAC of .02% or more. A youthful offender DUI is a misdemeanor but will not count as a prior offense for any future DUI offenses.
For a first underage DUI (with a BAC of .02% to .08%), the offender will face a 90-day license suspension and up to $750 in fines.
An offender with a prior youthful offender DUI in the last year will face a maximum $750 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and a mandatory six-month license suspension, followed by a one-year IID restriction.
A third youthful offender DUI in a two-year period will carry up to six months in jail and up to $750 in fines. The driver's license will also be suspended for six months, followed by a two-year IID restriction.
A Wyoming DUI can lead to serious penalties and can greatly impact a person's employment and livelihood—especially for commercial drivers. A qualified attorney can review your case and help you decide on the best way to handle your situation.