DUI Legal Process in Wyoming
Arrest: If a police officer believes that you have been driving under the influence, he/she will arrest you. The arresting police officer is required to inform you of the charges against you and to bring you before a judge or magistrate. Generally, this must be done within forty-eight hours of your arrest.
Arraignment or first appearance: When you first appear in court, the judge will inform you of the charges being alleged against you and the punishments that are possible if you are convicted. If one of the possible penalties is jail time, you have the right to a public defender or a court-appointed attorney.
Preliminary Hearing: The court will next conduct a preliminary examination of your case to determine whether a crime has been committed. At this stage, the prosecution will present witnesses and evidence of your alleged crime. Your attorney will be able to challenge or refute the state’s witnesses or evidence. If the court concludes that you are likely guilty of the DUI offense, you will need to plead guilty or opt to go to trial. If you are charged with a felony, your case will go to a district court, however if you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, your case may go to a circuit court instead. If you have not yet been released, the court will consider whether or not to release you on bail at this point. Bail will likely be granted for a DUI case in Wyoming, however the court can require certain assurances from you such as “release upon one’s own recognizances” or a promise to appear in court, restrictions on your behavior, or a bond, which you forfeit, to the court if you fail to appear.
Formal arraignment: At this stage the document, which contains the official charges against you, will be read aloud and entered into the court record along with your plea. You must plead in one of three ways: guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges. If you plead not guilty, the case will go on to trial.
Trial: All DUI cases in Wyoming are jury trials, unless you choose otherwise. The jury will consist of twelve individuals in a felony DUI trial and six in a misdemeanor DUI trial. The trial will begin with the selection of the jury members, and you may participate in the process of selecting the potential jurors. Once the jurors have been selected, both the prosecution and the defense will give opening statements. The prosecution will present evidence and witness testimony and the defense may challenge the state’s case by cross-examination. The defense may also put on a case of its own or may shift the burden on the prosecution to prove that you are guilty of a DUI offense beyond a reasonable doubt. After both sides have presented their case, the jurors must all agree on a verdict.
Appeal: In Wyoming, DUI convictions may be appealed so long as such an appeal is made in a timely manner.
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