What Evidence is Admissible in a Wyoming DWUI Case?

To convict someone of a Wyoming DWUI, prosecutors must present reliable, relevant evidence that was properly gathered and is legally admissible in court. Evidence that does not meet these standards should not be considered by the judge or jury in a Wyoming DWUI case must be excluded. But knowing what evidence is admissible in a Wyoming DWUI case, and arguing to have inadmissible evidence excluded is a complex process that should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced DWUI defense attorney.

What Is Evidence?

Evidence is any information that is intended to convince the judge or jury of the truth of a matter concerning a particular case. The most common piece of evidence in any criminal investigation is the police report. It contains the arresting officer’s observations about how the defendant was driving, why the officer believed the defendant was breaking the law, and information about the defendant’s behavior and performance on Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

In addition to the officer’s observations, the defendant’s performance of FSTs, and any available video footage, the results of the defendant’s Blood Alcohol Content test is another piece of critical information. But there is more to the test than meets the eye. For the test results to be admissible, the prosecutor needs to provide proof results of the test are accurate. If a defense lawyer can show that there is a question as to the accuracy of the testing equipment and the accuracy of its results, the validity of the test can be called into question and the results can be thrown out.

Today, many DWUI arrests are captured on dashcam or bodycam video. This evidence can be essential when defending someone who has been charged with a DWUI.

What Evidence Is Admissible in a Wyoming DWUI Case?

To be admissible in court, evidence must be both relevant and reliable.

To be legally relevant, evidence must prove or disprove a point that the prosecutor or the defense attorney is trying to make. But, if the evidence is unduly prejudicial to either side, it cannot be admitted.

Evidence must also be reliable. In a DWUI case, this means that the source of the evidence must be trustworthy, and the evidence must be accurate.

The prosecutor must also prove the chain of custody. This means that the prosecutor must be able to prove that the evidence presented in court is the same evidence that was taken by the police officer at the scene of the alleged DWUI.

Unfortunately, it is not always clear whether evidence is both relevant to the matter at hand and reliable. An experienced DWUI defense lawyer can argue to have irrelevant evidence excluded.

What Evidence is NOT Admissible in a Wyoming DWUI Case?

Certain evidence is not admissible. Common reasons to have evidence excluded include:

  • Out of court statements are not admissible if they are offered to prove that someone else’s testimony is truthful. The rules of evidence that relate to hearsay are complicated and can be used to have certain statements excluded from evidence.
  • Evidence that might unduly prejudice either party is not admissible.
  • Non-expert opinions. Only people who are recognized by the court as experts can offer opinions. Testimony by non-experts who try to offer their opinions must be excluded.
  • Improperly gathered. To be admissible, evidence must be properly gathered. Evidence that was obtained by violating someone’s Constitutional rights cannot be used.

Can Evidence of a DWUI Be Suppressed?

Evidence that is not relevant, not reliable, prejudicial, non-expert opinion, or improperly gathered cannot be admitted for consideration by the jury. An experienced DWUI defense lawyer can challenge evidence by filing a pre-trial motion called a Motion to Suppress. A Motion to Suppress Evidence is filed before a DWUI trial starts and asks the judge to exclude evidence that should not be considered by the jury.

Many people believe that police officers always do their job correctly and that any evidence gathered should be submitted to the jury for consideration. That is simply not the case. There are often problems with the manner in which evidence was gathered, such as an improperly calibrated breath test or evidence that was obtained in violation of a suspect’s Constitutional rights. Other times the initial traffic stop was illegal and any information obtained by the police cannot legally be considered.

An experienced DWUI defense attorney will review each piece of evidence the prosecution intends to introduce to determine whether there is evidence that should not be presented to the jury. A lawyer can challenge the admissibility of this evidence by filing a Motion to Suppress.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Having a skilled and experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side in a Wyoming DWUI case is important. While a DWUI charge may seem common, defending a DWUI charge in Wyoming requires a specialized set of skills. Defending against a Wyoming DWUI charge requires an in-depth understanding of how drugs and alcohol in the body are measured, and how they affect a driver’s perception, response time, and ability to perform Field Sobriety Tests. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is critical if you hope to beat the charge.

Law enforcement has largely standardized DWUI investigation techniques across the country. In fact, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has created a course that teaches police officers how to effectively conduct a DWUI investigation. You need a defense attorney who has a similar understanding of the technical evidence that will be presented in your DWUI case so they can challenge and refute it.

If you have been charged with a DWUI in Wyoming, the team of criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law is here to help. A DWUI conviction carries serious penalties, and you do not want to leave your future to chance. At Just Criminal Law, our team of DWUI defense professionals will analyze the evidence the prosecutor intends to introduce and challenge any evidence that should not be considered. We will aggressively fight to protect your rights and to minimize the chances that you will be convicted of a DWUI.

Remember - you only have one shot at justice. Don’t leave it to chance. Learn more about our DWUI defense practice, read testimonials from other clients we’ve helped, then contact Wyoming DWUI defense attorney Christina L. Williams and her team of criminal defense professionals today. Call 307-686-6556, email info@justcriminallaw.com, or complete our online form.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.