Understanding Wyoming Drugged Driving Laws
December 27th, 2021
In addition to driving while under the influence of alcohol, Wyoming law makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. You can be charged with Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI) if recreational drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medications impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
If you are facing Wyoming DWUI charges, our experienced criminal defense team will analyze your situation, protect your rights, and represent you in court.
Penalties for Drugged Driving in Wyoming
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are the same as for driving while under the influence of alcohol:
- A first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $750, or both, a mandatory substance abuse assessment, and suspension of your driver’s license.
- For your second offense in 10 years, whether you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you face a mandatory minimum of seven days up to six months in jail, a fine between $200 and $750, you must submit to a substance abuse assessment, and your driver’s license will be suspended.
- If this is your third offense in 10 years, you face a mandatory minimum of 30 days up to six months in prison, of which all but 15 days may be suspended if you complete an inpatient treatment program, a fine of $750 to $3,000, a mandatory substance abuse assessment and a driver’s license suspension.
- If this is your fourth or subsequent offense within 10 years you will be charged with a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 fine, and revocation of your driver’s license.
In addition to facing charges for a DWUI, if the police officer discovered illegal drugs or unauthorized prescription medications you could face charges of drug possession.
Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana
When most people think of drugged driving, they think of someone who is driving while under the influence of marijuana. Unlike neighboring states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal or even recreational use, marijuana is still illegal in Wyoming (and at the federal level).
If you are driving erratically and the police suspect you are under the influence of marijuana, you can be charged with a DWUI. If there are any traces of marijuana or marijuana metabolites in your blood, you can be charged with drugged driving.
Driving Under the Influence of Prescription or Over the Counter (OTC) Medications
In fact, you can be charged with a DWUI if you are under the influence of any drug, regardless of whether it is a recreational drug or a prescription medication, if it impairs your ability to drive.
For example, if you have a prescription for pain medication and the drug makes you drowsy or otherwise unable to safely operate a vehicle, you can be charged with drugged driving. Similarly, if an over-the-counter drug makes you unable to operate a motor vehicle, you can be charged with a DWUI.
If you take an over-the-counter or prescription medication, it is important that you check the label for potential side effects. If a potential side effect includes drowsiness or anything else that could make it more difficult for you to drive, you need to ensure that you are not driving while you are under the influence of that medication.
In addition to medications that make you drowsy, you should also be aware of stimulants that can make it more difficult to judge distance or can lead a driver to engage in risky behaviors. These include drugs like antidepressants, antibiotics, insulin, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and anticonvulsants.
Finally, be aware of how one drug might interact with other medications you are taking. Interactions between drugs can have side effects that can impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle. A prescription drug or an over-the-counter medication might interact with another medication, a homeopathic remedy, or even an herbal supplement.
Until you know how your new medication will interact with other medications and supplements you are taking, you should not drive a vehicle.
Wyoming Is a Zero Tolerance State for Drugged Driving
While some states have established a per se limit for drugged driving based on the presence of a certain amount of drugs or drug metabolites in your blood, Wyoming has not.
Wyoming is a zero-tolerance state, and you can be charged with drugged driving if there is any evidence of a prescription drug, recreational drug, or over-the-counter medication in your blood that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Defenses to Charges of Drugged Driving
If you have been charged with drugged driving, our DWUI defense team can help.
We will start by learning about your situation to determine what defenses may be available. Then we will analyze how we can challenge the evidence against you.
One defense is to argue that even though there was evidence of drugs in your blood, you were not under the influence at the time you were stopped and arrested.
In response, the prosecutor will likely present evidence from the officer who arrested you to try to prove that you exhibited signs of intoxication such as impaired speech or erratic driving.
Our team can also present Constitutional defenses to your arrest, such as lack of probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, that your Constitutional rights were violated, or other challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence.
We invite you to learn more about our criminal defense team and how we approach DWUI defense. Then contact us today to schedule your personalized case review and strategy session to discuss your situation and how we can help.
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.