The Cost of a DUI in the Cowboy State
Jackson, Cheyenne, Casper, Cody, Gillette, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan, and all other cities and towns in the state of Wyoming have the same laws when it comes to drinking and driving. Those drivers found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will be arrested and likely charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). There are a number of penalties associated with being convicted of Wyoming DUI, which include jail time, license suspension, the possibility of having to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and, of course, monetary fines.
What Penalties Will I Face for DUI in Wyoming?
As mentioned above, there are a number of penalties associated with being convicted of DUI in the state of Wyoming, and the penalties are harsh even for first time offenders. First time DUI offenders in Wyoming who are found guilty have to contend with the following punishments:
- Jail Time of Up to 6 Months
- Monetary Fines Up to $750
- License Suspension of 90 Days
- Required to Use an IID if BAC Recorded at 0.15 or Above
Currently, the “lookback” period in the state of Wyoming is 10 years, which means any previous DUI offenses within the last 10 years are counted against an offender’s current charge. Repeat DUI offenders face even more severe penalties as a means to discourage drinking and driving behavior. Second time DUI offenders in this state who are found guilty have to contend with the following punishments:
- Jail Time of between 7 Days and 6 Months
- Monetary Fines between $250 and $750
- License Suspension of One Year
- Required to Use an IID (Regardless of BAC Reading)
Cost of a DUI in Wyoming Before Conviction
The fines associated with DUI convictions are only one of the many financial repercussions that individuals face when dealing with a DUI charge. First, when offenders are pulled over and arrested for DUI, their car is towed to the local impound lot unless the arresting officer allows someone else to take possession of the car. Whenever offenders are ready to get the car back, they need to pay any outstanding charges including the towing fee and the storage fees for however long the vehicle was in impound – this can range to upwards of a few thousand dollars.
In most cases, after offenders have been arrested, they are taken to the local jailhouse, processed, charged, and then released pending their first court date. Should there be aggravating circumstances associated with the incident, such as causing an accident, having a minor in the vehicle, or having a very high BAC, they could potentially be held in jail and have bail posted for their release. In order for individuals to be released from jail, this bail amount or at least a portion of it must be paid – often times this money comes from individuals’ personal savings or from the help of family or a bail bondsman.
It is recommended that those charged with DUI seek the legal counsel of a knowledgeable DUI attorney for the state in which the charge has occurred. Attorneys all have different fees that they charge for their services, and these fees can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Additionally, attorneys have their own preferences for how to be paid – some want payment upfront, others after the case, and some have payment plans.
Cost of a DUI in Wyoming After Conviction
In the event that individuals are found guilty of DUI, they are then subject to the penalties outlined earlier, which include jail time, license suspension, possible use of an IID and monetary fines. Again, first time DUI offenders in Wyoming pay fines up to $750 – second time offenders pay fines between $250 and $750, and third time offenders between $750 and $3,000. The fines associated with drinking and driving vary greatly between states.
Changes in the Cost of Car Insurance in Wyoming
Another financial repercussion that offenders may not consider is the changes they see to the cost of car insurance. Car insurance providers charge individuals for coverage based on the risk they pose to making a claim – the higher the risk of making a claim, the higher their payments are and vice versa. Since driving drunk is risky behavior and definitely increases risk of individuals making a car insurance claim, the insurance provider no doubt raises rates once offenders have been convicted. While the increase is inevitable, the amount of how much is still in question.
While each individual car insurance provider has its own rate of increase, providers in the state of Wyoming are generally lenient when compared to insurance providers in other states. Policyholders convicted of DUI can expect their car insurance rates to increase by about 55 percent, which adds about $45 to their monthly payment. It is important to keep in mind however, that this is just the average – some insurance providers have higher rates of increase and some have lower.
Avoiding the Financial Repercussions of DUI
There is truly only one way to avoid the financial repercussions of Driving Under the Influence – do not drive under the influence. A DUI conviction is very expensive, costing offenders upwards of $40,000 when all things are considered, and it is not only very expensive but also very dangerous. Drinking and driving not only puts drivers’ lives in severe danger but also the lives of their passengers and other drivers on the road. The best course of action is to always find a safe and responsible way home after drinking, such as having a designated driver or using public transportation.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.