A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota

Underage DWUI in Wyoming

A Wyoming DWUI conviction carries serious penalties. 

For drivers who are under 21 years of age and are not legally permitted to consume alcohol, the consequences can be even more severe. 

Underage Drivers Can Be Charged with DWUI and Illegal Consumption for the Slightest Amount of Alcohol

For people over 21 years of age, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Wyo. Stat. §31-5-233.

For people under age 21, the threshold is even lower. Someone who is under age 21 can be charged with DWUI if they have a BAC of .02% or higher. Wyo. Stat. §31-5-234. This is essentially less than one drink. 

In addition to a DWUI charge, an underage drinker will also be charged with illegal consumption of alcohol. Wyo. Stat. §12-6-101

To be charged with an underage DWUI, a driver who is under 21 does not need to exhibit any signs of intoxication. Rather, the mere presence of alcohol on the breath of someone under 21 years of age is enough to charge them with underage DWUI and illegal consumption of alcohol.

Wyoming also has an implied consent law, which means that if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test you face a 6 month license suspension. And even if you refuse the test, you can still face DWUI charges if the police officer suspects you have consumed alcohol. 

Penalties for Underage DWUI

A conviction for underage DWUI can be devastating, and can have a serious impact on a young person’s life. 

An underage driver convicted of a first-time DWUI faces a 90 day license suspension, and a fine of up to $750. A second conviction for underage DWUI can result in up to 1 month of jail time. 

Underage drinkers who are convicted of DWUI will be placed on probation, may need to go through a diversion program, and might have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their car at their expense. 

Driving privileges are more difficult for drivers under 21 to obtain.  

An underage driver convicted of a Wyoming DWUI also faces suspension or expulsion from school, and high school students might have a difficult time being admitted to college or finding gainful employment. Employment and college admissions applications often ask about prior convictions. 

Wyoming’s Zero Tolerance Law for Underage Drinking

 The low threshold for underage DWUI is a result of Zero Tolerance laws introduced in the 1980s. These laws were introduced around the country in an effort to combat a high number of teenage drunk driving injuries and fatalities. All 50 states passed some form of a Zero Tolerance law that makes it illegal for someone under 21 to possess alcohol. People under 21 who drive with even a small amount of alcohol in their system can be arrested and charged with DWUI. 

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you are under age 21 and were charged with a DWUI, get an experienced DWUI defense lawyer on your side as quickly as possible. 

Remember - even if you were charged with underage consumption of alcohol and an underage DWUI -  you are still innocent until proven guilty. 

At Just Criminal Law, my team of criminal defense professionals can evaluate and challenge the evidence against you, help minimize the penalties, and may be able to have the case against you thrown out. 

We may be able to challenge whether the officer had probable cause to stop you in the first place,  negotiate less severe penalties, or arrange for a lesser charge.

A DWUI defense lawyer can also help manage the collateral consequences of a DWUI conviction. My team can help minimize the likelihood that you will be suspended or expelled from school or lose your job, and lessen the impact of a DWUI charge on your future employment prospects. 

You only have one shot at justice. Don’t leave it to chance. Contact the team of experienced criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law today. Call us at 307-686-6556, email 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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