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Alcohol Related Offenses

Student Legal Services - ASUW

Alcohol, the Law, and You

DUI

It is unlawful for anyone to drive or even be in control of a vehicle when that person has a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater or if that person is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or both and the person is unable to drive safely. Anyone convicted of driving while under the influence, is subject to fines and/or imprisonment and suspension of his/her driver's license.

 

When can the police request that I perform a sobriety test? 

The police may request that you perform a field sobriety or roadside sobriety test when they have reasonable suspicion to believe that you may be driving or in control of a vehicle, while under the influence.

 

Do I have to perform roadside sobriety tests upon request? 

No. However not performing a field sobriety test may not matter because depending on the situation, the officer may already have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. In that case, the officer may just be asking you to perform a field sobriety test in order to confirm what he already believes to be true, that you are intoxicated or under the influence. Therefore, if you choose not to perform the field sobriety test it may not matter and the officer may be able to arrest you anyway.

 

Can I request a chemical test, like a blood test, instead of doing roadside tests?

You can certainly request that a blood test be performed instead of, or in addition to, doing a roadside sobriety test or a breath test; however, the police are not required to actually perform an additional chemical test on you. So you can request such a test if you wish, but the police are not required to grant your request. After undergoing all chemical tests required by the officer at the expense of the officer's agency, you, if you were arrested for DUI, can go the nearest hospital or clinic and have additional tests done at your expense.

 

If I'm arrested for DUI, do I have to submit to chemical testing to check my blood alcohol level? 

Whenever you drive a vehicle in Wyoming you are giving implied consent to submit to a chemical test to test for alcohol or controlled substance concentration in your blood if you are arrested for DUI. This means that if you are arrested for DUI, the police must advise you that if you do not submit to the required testing then your driver's license will be suspended for at least 6 months. The officer must also tell you that if you do submit to the testing and you fail it (meaning your blood contains a greater amount of alcohol or controlled substances than is allowed by law) then you may be subject to criminal penalties and your driver's license will be suspended for 90 days and you may be required to drive only vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device. Wyoming state law now says that if a person who is under arrest for DUI refuses a chemical test, none shall be given except in cases where there has been serious bodily injury or a death or if a warrant authorizing a chemical test has been issued.  This law also says that a warrant may be issued electronically.  This means that an officer may request a warrant even though he is not in the physical presence of a magistrate and the warrant may then be issued by "remote communication".

 

A new provision added to the Laramie City ordinances in 2010 and effective January 1, 2011 criminalized a person's refusal to submit to a chemical test.  This means that if you are arrested for a DUI within the city limits of Laramie and if you refuse to take a chemical test no test will be given (unless it is a case where severe bodily injury or death has occurred) but you can also be charged with this new criminal offense of refusal. If you are convicted of refusal to take a chemical test in the Municipal Court for the City of Laramie, you can be sentenced to jail for not less than seven days nor more than six months for a first offense and you will also be facing a minimum fine of $200.00 on top of the penalties for your DUI (if you are also convicted of that offense).  The administrative penalties for refusing a test (losing your license) will also apply.  This new local city ordinance only is in effect in the City of Laramie so that if you are arrested outside the city limits or somewhere else in Wyoming, you will not be facing a criminal charge for refusing a chemical test. 

 

Possible Punishments for DUI Violations under Wyoming state law:

 

1.    A substance abuse assessment conducted by a substance abuse provider certified by the department of health and paid for by you.

2.    A fine of not more than $750.00 or jail time of not more than six months or both plus various fees and surcharges if you are found guilty or plead guilty to a first offense.

3.    A second offense resulting in a conviction within 10 years after a first offense DUI is punishable by jail time between 7 days and 6 months and a fine of not less than $200 or more than $750 or both plus various fees and surcharges.

4.   A third offense, within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction is punishable by jail time between 30 days and 6 months and a fine of not less than $750 or more than $3000 or both plus various fees and surcharges, For a third offense, you must serve at least 30 days in jail but some exceptions do apply.

5.   A fourth offense within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction is a felony and is punishable by incarceration of not more than two years and a fine of up to $10,000 or both plus the various fee and surcharges.

6.   In addition to the jail time and fines described above, any DUI conviction will result in the suspension or revocation of your driver's license or driving privileges and possible consequences in regard to not operating a vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed.

7.   See the statutes below for further information.

 

A new Laramie city ordinance passed in 2010 requires all drivers arrested with a BAC of .15 or higher to serve a MANDATORY seven days in jail and pay a minimum fine of $200. A repeat offender would be required to serve a mandatory 30 days in jail and would receive a maximum fine of $750.

 

For a full view of the Laramie city ordinances dealing with DUI's, see Chapter 10.24. http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientID=15042&stateID=50&statename=Wyoming

 

Open Containers -

Transporting alcoholic beverages: Alcoholic beverages cannot be transported in a moving vehicle unless:

1.            The alcohol is in the original unopened package or container, the seal has not been broken or cork removed; or

2.            The alcohol is in the trunk or some other inaccessible outside container of the vehicle; or

3.            The alcohol is in the unoccupied back of a pickup truck and out of reach of the driver; or

4.            In a rear compartment of a vehicle if there is no trunk as long as the compartment is not accessible to the driver and not normally occupied by passengers of a vehicle; or

5.            If in a recreational vehicle, the alcohol should be stored in a cabinet or compartment that is not easily accessible to the driver. The alcohol is not allowed to be accessible from the cabinet or compartment while the vehicle is in motion.

If the above requirements are violated when transporting alcoholic beverages, then any person in violation may be fined for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are punishable by fines and possible jail time.

 

Open containers in public:

It is against the law for anyone, regardless of age, to consume or carry open containers of alcohol on any street, highway, alley, sidewalk, public park or public building, any parking lot open to the public, or in any vehicle, within the city of Laramie. There are certain exceptions to this if the City has granted a permit for open containers in the specific public area in question. In other words, if the City has not approved the consumption or possession of open containers in the above-mentioned public places by granting a permit, then it is unlawful to possess or consume alcohol in those locations, even if you are over the age of 21.

 

Youthful offenders, alcohol and vehicles:

 Anyone under the age of 21 ("a youthful offender") cannot operate or be in possession of a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .02% or more in his or her body. (By comparison, the DUI limit for people 21 years of age and older is .08%). If an officer has probable cause to believe a youthful offender is violating this law, then the officer may request that the offender submit to a chemical test. Anyone driving in Wyoming has impliedly provided consent to a chemical test of his or her blood, breath or urine in order to test for alcohol. This means that if the offender refuses to submit to a test then his/her Wyoming driver's license will be suspended for 90 days. If the offender has an out of state license then his/her privilege to drive in the State of Wyoming will be suspended for 90 days. Likewise, if the offender submits to the testing and the results show an alcohol content of .02% or more then his or her driver's license or driving privileges will be suspended for 90 days for the first offense and 6 months for subsequent offenses.   For a first offense under this law a person cannot be sentenced to jail time by a judge but he or she can be fined up to $750.00.  Also, a person charged under this law cannot also be charged with an underage drinking offense.  However, if the person was charged with the "youthful offender" crime as it is set out in the City of Laramie ordinances and if the person chooses to refuse to take a chemical test, he or she, in addition to being ticketed for the crime of Youthful Offender DUI, can be charged with the crime of Refusal and further punished.

 

Minors in possession of or under the influence of alcohol: 

It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, consume, or possess alcohol, have a measurable concentration of alcohol in his or her body or be under the influence of alcohol. In other words, if you are under 21 and are intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol then you are violating the law, even if you do not currently have any alcohol in your possession.

 

Minors purchasing alcohol: 

It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase alcohol. It is also against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to alter identification or use a false identification in order to obtain alcohol.

 

Providing alcohol to minors: 

It is against the law to provide alcohol to minors (anyone under the age of 21). Anyone that provides alcohol to minors can be charged for each minor that alcohol is provided to. In addition, if you own, rent, or occupy any residence, and you have a party and allow minors to consume alcohol in your residence, even if you did not furnish the alcohol to them, then you can be fined for each minor that is consuming alcohol. It is also illegal to transport alcohol in your vehicle with the intent to provide it to minors. In this case, the minor does not even have to be present or in possession of the alcohol, it is enough that you are transporting it to the minor. The penalties for violating the law prohibiting transporting, or possessing, alcohol in your vehicle with the intent to furnish it to a minor are as follows:

 

Penalties: First conviction (misdemeanor): fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year, or both.

Second or any subsequent conviction (felony): imprisonment in state penitentiary for up to 5 years.

In addition to the penalties listed above, your driver's license shall be suspended for 1 year.

 

Assisting persons under the age of 21 in obtaining alcoholic beverages:

It is against the law for anyone to assist a person that is under the age of 21 in obtaining alcoholic beverages. In other words, you cannot provide people under the age of 21 any assistance in obtaining alcohol. An example of assistance that could violate the law may include, a person over the age of 21 giving a person under the age of 21 his or her ID for the purpose of the underage person using it to obtain alcoholic beverages. Another example could be assisting a person under the age of 21 to falsify a form of identification for the underage person to use to obtain alcoholic beverages.

 

For more detailed information about Wyoming's alcohol laws see:

W.S. § 31-5-233: Driving or having control of vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances; penalties

W.S. § 31-5-235: Consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in opened containers by operator of vehicle prohibited; definitions; penalty.

W.S. § 31-6-102: Test to determine alcoholic or controlled substance content of blood; suspension of license.

W.S. § 31-6-105: Method of performing chemical analysis; persons permitted to draw blood; request by arrested person for test; information made available; evidence of refusal to take test.

W.S. § 31-7-127: Mandatory revocation of license for certain violations

W.S. § 31-7-401: Ignition interlock licenses; definitions; administration and enforcement.

W.S. § 31-7-402: Issuance of ignition interlock restricted license; eligibility.

W.S. § 31-7-403: Suspension or revocation of ignition interlock license.

W.S. § 31-7-404: Driving without interlock device.

 

Minors:

W.S. § 12-6-101: Sale or possession prohibited; when possession unlawful; public drunkenness; falsification of identification; penalty; prima facie identification as defense.

W.S. § 12-6-102: Transporting or possessing in motor vehicle with intent to furnish to person under 21; penalties.

W.S. § 31-5-234: Unlawful operation of vehicle by youthful driver with detectable alcohol concentration; penalty.

W.S. § 31-6-108: Implied consent requirements for youthful drivers

 

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title31/Title31.htm


 


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