A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
The per se limit for driving while under the influence of alcohol is well-publicized. Most people know that they can be charged and convicted of a Wyoming DWUI if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .08% or above.
What many people don’t realize is that they can be charged and convicted of a Wyoming DWUI for driving while under the influence of marijuana, too.
Some states have made drugged driving laws similar to DWUI laws - they have established a per se limit, usually based on the presence of THC or marijuana metabolites in a person’s blood or urine.
Wyoming, however, has some of the strictest drug laws in the country and is a zero-tolerance state. This means that any amount of marijuana or marijuana metabolites in your blood or urine is enough to convict you of DWUI if you appear to be under the influence.
The penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana are the same as for driving under the influence of alcohol:
Many of Wyoming’s neighboring states have legalized marijuana, including Colorado, which has legalized marijuana for recreational use as well as medical use. But marijuana remains illegal - for medicinal use or otherwise - in Wyoming.
For people travelling out of state to purchase marijuana, or if you drove through Wyoming with marijuana, it’s important to understand Wyoming’s marijuana laws as they relate to driving.
A conviction for driving while under the influence of marijuana can result in a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
If you are stopped and charged with a DWUI for being under the influence of marijuana, there’s a good chance that you may also be facing possession charges.
In Wyoming, possession of up to 3 oz. of marijuana is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of marijuana, an experienced DWUI defense lawyer can challenge the evidence against you to have the charges reduced or even have the case dismissed.
The most common way to challenge a marijuana DWUI is to assess whether the driver was actually under the influence. Just because marijuana metabolites were present in your blood or urine does not necessarily mean that you were under the influence of marijuana. The prosecutor will need to point to other factors to show that you were impaired while operating the vehicle.
The prosecutor will try to establish that you were impaired by citing evidence of your behavior and the way in which you were driving. The prosecutor will point to impaired balance or speech, erratic driving patterns, or the odor of marijuana on your person or coming from your vehicle.
Of course, a DWUI defense lawyer can question whether the officer is familiar with your speech patterns and manner of driving while you are not under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
Another way to challenge a DWUI for marijuana is to challenge whether you were actually driving the vehicle. In most cases it will be sufficient for the prosecutor to show that you were in “physical control” of the vehicle, which is to say that you had the means to operate the vehicle, even if you were not actually moving at the time of the arrest. However, a judge can consider many factors as to whether you were “driving” the vehicle, such as whether:
This is a subjective and fact-specific line of questioning, but, depending of the unique circumstances of your case, your DWUI defense lawyer may be able to have the case dismissed on this basis.
If you have been charged with a driving while under the influence of marijuana in Wyoming, the stakes are high and you need an experienced Wyoming DWUI defense lawyer. My team of DWUI defense professionals will work hard to defend you, and to protect your one shot at justice. Contact Just Criminal Law today. Call 307-686-6556, email firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.