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Wyoming Law Enforcement Targets Drunk Driving

For most people, a drunk driving charge is a wake-up call.

Very few people who are charged with a DWUI will ever get a second one.

And people who are charged with a second case of drunk driving are rarely charged while they are awaiting the outcome of their first DWUI case.

Nonetheless, high-profile cases of habitual offenders charged with multiple DWUIs persist. As a result, if you have been charged with drunk driving, you must overcome the unfounded assumption that you will reoffend and commit a second, third, or even fourth DWUI.

In reality, these people are the exception rather than the rule.

However, because drunk driving can have deadly consequences, Wyoming police officers have stepped up enforcement of DWUI laws.

Safewise Study Ranks States According to Number of Alcohol-Related Deaths Per 100,000 People

Driving is the most dangerous activity and leading cause of death for Americans ages 5 to 25.

In 2016, drunk driving deaths were responsible for nearly one-third of driving-related fatalities.

In 2017 and 2018, safety and security researchers at Safewise analyzed drunk driving statistics and compared them to data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine which states had the highest rate of alcohol related deaths per 100,000 people.

In 2017, Wyoming ranked first in alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people.

In 2018, Wyoming dropped to eighth in the study.

To arrive at these results, Safewise looked at data from the National Highway Safety Administration’s records of drunk driving deaths and combined it with information from the US Census Bureau to arrive at the number of drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people.

In the 2017 analysis, states with the most alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people included:

  • Wyoming, with 7.59 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • South Carolina, with 6.22 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • North Dakota, with 6.08 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • New Mexico, with 5.74 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people and
  • Alabama, with 5.49 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people

In 2018, the statistics were as follows:

  • Montana, with 9.15 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • South Carolina, with 7.98 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • North Dakota, with 7.28 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • New Mexico, with 7.1 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • Alabama, with 6.6 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people
  • South Dakota, with 6.27 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people, and
  • Wyoming, with 5.98 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people

Using this data researchers were able to identify trends that relate to whether a state had a higher rate of alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people.

Harsh Punishments, Driver Education Programs, and High Fines Reduce Drunk Driving Fatalities

Armed with statistics that identify states with high alcohol-related death rates, Safewise researchers sought to identify trends that made drivers less likely to drive while under the influence. Researchers found that:

  • Eighty percent of states in the top five did not have mandatory jail time for first-time DWUI offenders.
  • States with higher population densities faired better because drivers could choose public transportation or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.
  • Washington, which had the lowest rate of alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people, also has some of the strictest first-time DWUI offender laws in the country.
  • Four of the top five states ranked highest in alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people do not require alcohol abuse assessments or treatment for first-time DWUI convictions. This means that DWUI offenders are less likely to learn from their mistakes and are more-likely to become repeat offenders.
  • In states with high rates of alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people, the average fine for a first-time DWUI was $300, while fines for a first-time DWUI in states with the lowest rate of alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people average $524.

Overall, researchers found that harsher punishments, more stringent BAC limits, first-time offender education programs, and high fines all contribute to reducing the number of alcohol-related fatality statistics.  

Law Enforcement Targets Drivers With Prior DWUI Convictions

People who have been convicted of a first-time DWUI are still more likely to be charged with a second DWUI. This is, in part, due to the fact that police target people with a prior DWUI conviction.   

A California study showed that that 75% of first-time DWUI offenders continue to drive despite having had their license suspended. The study also showed that drivers with at least one DWUI conviction are involved in 25% of fatal DWUI crashes and 63% of crashes that cause injuries.       

Because alcohol-related crashes are more likely to be fatal, police in Wyoming and across the country have stepped-up DWUI enforcement and routinely run a driver’s plates before initiating a routine traffic stop. If you were previously convicted of a DWUI, police officers may find a petty reason to pull you over in the hopes that you may have been drinking or consuming drugs, or that they will find drugs in your vehicle. In this way, police are “playing the odds” that people charged with a first-time DWUI will re-offend.     

Charged with Drunk Driving? Just Criminal Law Can Help

If you or someone you care about is facing Wyoming DWUI charges, the team of criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law is here to help. We are here to protect your one shot at justice, and have extensive experience defending people who have been accused of a Wyoming DWUI.

Contact Christina L. Williams and Just Criminal Law by calling 307-686-6556, emailing inquiry@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.

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