Cheyenne, WY DUI Defense Attorney
The DUI-defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm strive to protect people in Cheyenne, Wyoming, from groundless allegations of driving under the influence (DUI). This criminal offense is one of the most common that law-abiding citizens can face over the course of their lives, as it is the result of a single bad decision rather than an actual intent to commit a crime. Nevertheless, the penalties of a conviction are severe, with jail time, fines, and a license suspension all on the table, even for a first offense. Raising effective legal defenses to the allegations is essential for preserving your rights and your future.
The attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm can help.
Drunk and Drugged Driving Law in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Wyoming’s DUI law is one of the widest-reaching in all of the U.S. Found at Wyoming Statute § 31-5-233, the law has a couple of important and interesting aspects that make it one of the broadest in the country:
- It covers both “per se” and “low blow” DUIs
- It applies to all vehicles, not just motor vehicles
- You do not need to be driving your vehicle to get a DUI
The first of these aspects is not unusual in U.S. DUI law. The last two are, and together they make Wyoming’s DUI law extremely broad.
1. You Do Not Need to Be Over the Legal BAC Limit to Be Convicted for DUI
A general misconception about DUI law in Cheyenne is that you have to be over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in order to be convicted.
This is not the case.
Generally, the legal limit is 0.08 percent BAC. However, it can be lower in certain cases, like 0.04 percent for commercial drivers and 0.02 percent for drivers under 21. If blood, breath, or alcohol tests reveal a BAC over the applicable limit, you are “per se” presumed to be under the influence of alcohol and in violation of Wyoming’s DUI law.
But you are only presumed to not be under the influence if these tests show that you have a BAC of 0.05 percent or lower.
If you are between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent there is no presumption created. These cases, known as “low blows,” can still lead to a conviction for DUI, largely based on the testimony of the arresting officer. That testimony generally consists of generalized observations about inebriation, like slurred speech, glassy eyes, or the smell of alcohol.
2. All Vehicles are Covered
Wyoming’s DUI statute is unique in that it forbids the operation of “any vehicle” while under the influence. Most states only cover motor vehicles.
This means that, in Cheyenne, you can get convicted for DUI if you were using a:
This is the case, even though using these other types of vehicles does not put others at nearly the same risk of harm as when you drive a motor vehicle while under the influence.
3. Only “Actual Physical Control” is Required
Worse, Wyoming’s DUI statute is also rare in that it does not require evidence that you were actually driving the vehicle. “Actual physical control” of the vehicle is all that is required.
While this was likely an attempt by lawmakers to let law enforcement use circumstantial evidence that you were driving while under the influence even when they did not see you actually driving, the implications are serious and can deter law-abiding behavior. In one Wyoming case, a police officer found someone sitting in the driver’s seat of their car, unconscious from a night of drinking. The engine and the lights were off, and the keys were in the ignition but in the “off” position.
Many people try to sleep off their drunkenness in their car, precisely in order to not drive while under the influence and put others in danger. The Supreme Court of Wyoming, however, found that this sufficed for “actual physical control” of the vehicle and sustained the DUI conviction.
The Legal Penalties of a Conviction are Serious
The penalties of a DUI conviction in Cheyenne, Wyoming, are not trivial. They also get worse if you have a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years, and can spiral into sentencing enhancements and other criminal charges if certain factors are present.
Even without any of these additional issues, the maximum penalties of a conviction are steep:
First offense (misdemeanor DUI):
- 6 months in jail
- $750 in fines
Second offense (misdemeanor DUI):
- 7 days to 6 months in jail
- $200 to $750 in fines
- Substance abuse assessment
Third offense (misdemeanor DUI):
- 30 days to 6 months in jail
- $750 to $3,000 in fines
- Substance abuse assessment and potentially an alcohol or substance abuse treatment course
Fourth offense (felony DUI):
- 7 years in prison
- $10,000 in fines
Then there are aggravating factors that can enhance these penalties. Two common ones are:
- You caused a car accident that seriously hurt someone else
- You had a BAC at or above 0.15 percent
Finally, there are other criminal offenses that you can be charged with if certain factors are present. Some common or severe ones are:
- Having an open container of alcohol in the car
- Drug possession or drug trafficking, if police search the vehicle after impounding it and discover illegal drugs in it
- Child endangerment, if you were arrested for DUI and there was a minor in the vehicle
- Vehicular manslaughter, if you were under the influence and caused a fatal accident
On top of all of these penalties, there are also collateral consequences of a conviction as well. These are penalties that are not imposed by the court or the state of Wyoming. Some common ones include:
- Losing your job because you could not reliably get to the worksite
- Becoming ineligible for certain occupations, like as a professional driver
- Higher costs of car insurance once you do get your license reinstated
Your License Can Also Get Suspended
DUI convictions – or even just the arrest – come with a driver’s license suspension.
When you get arrested for DUI, your driver’s license gets revoked and replaced with a temporary, 30-day license. If you do not request a reinstatement hearing at the Wyoming Department of Transportation (DOT) within 20 days, your temporary license will expire and you will lose your right to drive while your criminal case goes through the Wyoming court system. If you do invoke your right to this hearing and then show that you need your right to drive preserved, you can get a probationary license.
If your DUI leads to a conviction, your license will be suspended for at least 90 days.
Invoke Your Rights and Develop a Defense Strategy
Coming up with a strong defense strategy is essential for preserving your right to drive and protecting your future. While the best DUI defense strategy will depend on the facts of your case, The Criminal Defense Firm has secured acquittals and case dismissals by showing:
- The traffic stop violated your civil rights because there was no probable cause to support it
- The breath testing machine was not calibrated and misread your BAC
- The arresting officer’s testimony about your apparent drug or alcohol impairment is doubtful
- Field sobriety tests used were unreliable
Our attorneys have also helped defendants preserve their rights when the cases against them were too strong to overcome. We have secured favorable outcomes at sentencing hearings and provided the legal guidance our clients have needed in order to make informed decisions during plea deal negotiations.
Some FAQs About The Criminal Defense Firm’s Legal Services
Why Should I Hire The Criminal Defense Firm for My DUI Case?
Because The Criminal Defense Firm is one of the only law firms in the area that only employs senior-level lawyers with decades of experience representing criminal defendants. Some of our attorneys also have prior experience working as federal prosecutors at some of the biggest and most powerful law enforcement agencies in the world.
This gives our firm unparalleled experience in the field of criminal defense. Furthermore, it also means that none of the legal work that gets done on your case will be the product of a legal secretary, paralegal, or junior associate with less experience. This sets us apart from other firms in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We at The Criminal Defense Firm think that you should get legal representation from the attorney whose experience and track record drew you to the firm in the first place. Passing your case off to a junior associate with only occasional oversight from the lawyer that you thought you were hiring is not how we do things.
Why Doesn't The Criminal Defense Firm Call Itself the Best DUI-Defense Firm in Cheyenne?
DUI-Defense at The Criminal Defense Firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Call the DUI-defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm for help in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at (866) 603-4540 or contact them online for help today.