R. Michael Vang, P.C. makes no guarantee as to the outcome of any case. Each case is different including facts, circumstances, and situations.
On New Years Day in 2011, the City of Laramie began enforcing its new “aggravated offender” DUI ordinance, which created minimum mandatory jail sentences for anyone accused of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result of 0.15% or more. The minimum mandatory jail sentences were significantly harsher than the sentences created for the exact same behavior under Wyoming’s DUI law.
Because the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance requires a minimum mandatory jail sentence upon a conviction, Mr. Vang has argued that the BAC level of 0.15% or more is an element of the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Vang has also argued that an accused is entitled to a lesser included offense jury instruction for allegedly having a BAC level of 0.08% or more in any case where the City of Laramie proceeds to trial with an “Aggravated Offender” DUI charge.
Finally, Mr. Vang has argued that the minimum mandatory jail sentences created by the City of Laramie’s “aggravated offender” DUI ordinance cannot be enforced, where City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance treats citizens in the State of Wyoming differently for the exact same behavior in an area of law that is highly regulated by the Wyoming Legislature and requires uniformity.
On October 20, 2015, the Wyoming Supreme Court accepted review of two (2) of Mr. Vang’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI cases to answer the legal questions concerning whether the 0.15% or more BAC level, which triggered the minimum mandatory jail sentences created by the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance, was an element of the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance that required a proper lesser included offense instruction. The Wyoming Supreme Court also agreed to determine whether the City of Laramie’s “aggravated offender” DUI ordinance was otherwise conflicted with Wyoming law.
Although the City of Laramie admitted that the BAC level of 0.15% or more within the City of Laramie’s “aggravated offender” DUI ordinance was an element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to enforce minimum mandatory jail sentences and would require a proper lesser included offense instruction, if requested; the City of Laramie continued to maintain that it could continue to enforce the harsher penalties of the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance.
On June 10, 2016, the Wyoming Supreme Court agreed that the City of Laramie’s “Aggravated Offender” DUI ordinance “[f]louts the uniformly applicable statutes governing traffic regulation”, Wofford and Walters v. City of Laramie, 2016 WY 59, ¶ 1 (Wyo. 2016), and determined that “Laramie Municipal Ordinance 10.24.030(H) is therefore void.” Wofford and Walters v. City of Laramie, 2016 WY 59, ¶ 1 (Wyo. 2016). As a result of the Wyoming Supreme Court’s decision, the City of Laramie can no longer treat people differently in the City of Laramie than they are treated elsewhere in the State of Wyoming for the exact same behavior.
Taylor Wofford v. City of Laramie
Date: June 10, 2016
Citation: 2016 WY 59
Docket Numbers: S-15-0226, S-15-0227
Blood Samples Ruled Inadmissible in DUI case.
The Campbell County Circuit Court ruled that the chemical test results for the DUI case were not admissible, where the State of Wyoming could not establish proper chain of custody for the blood samples of interest. Indicating that the suppression of evidence would require the State of Wyoming to dismiss the underlying DUI charge, the State of Wyoming is currently appealing the suppression ruling.
DUI/Reckless Driving Charges Dismissed
After Mr. Vang entered appearance and questioned law enforcement’s claim that the accused was impaired by drugs, based upon law enforcement’s alleged specialized knowledge and training to detect drug and alcohol impairment and questions the validity of any chemical test measurements/results from mandatory urine testing, the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office agrees to dismiss pending criminal charges based upon lack of sufficient proof to proceed with the case.
Case: Client was arrested and charged with DWUI
Jury Verdict: Guilty
Appeal: After denying Mr. Vang’s client’s request to have the following question certified to the Wyoming Supreme Court: “If, under Missouri v. McNeely, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not establish a per se exigency, does W.S. § 31-6-102(a)(i) facially violate Article 1 § 4 of the Wyoming Constitution and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution?”; the District Court overturned the DUI conviction holding that Wyoming’s implied consent law did not apply to the facts of the case, given the lack of evidence to place the accused upon a “public street or highway”, which is a necessary condition for admitting a chemical test result in a DUI case pursuant to Wyoming’s implied consent law.
Case: Client was arrested and charged with "aggravated offender" DWUI for allegedly having a BAC result of 0.15% or more in violation of LMO 10.24.030(H).
Jury Verdict: Not Guilty
Case: Client was arrested for having actual physical control of a motor vehicle with an alleged BAC result of 0.15% after a REDDI report had been made claiming the client had run a stop sign and almost hit a vehicle prior to contact with law enforcement.
Outcome: Not Guilty
Case: Client was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DWUI), after the client was discovered trying to remove a vehicle from a ditch. Client admits to talking on cell phone resulting in loss of control on a dirt road. Client cited with failure to maintain a single lane of travel and client allegedly provided a BAC result of 0.13% on the Intoximeter EC/IR.
Outcome: Not Guilty on all charges
Case: Client was arrested in commercial vehicle after a REDDI report alleged that client had been weaving in and out of traffic on Interstate-80. Trooper claims client impaired by drugs and arrests client for Driving under the influence of Drugs (DUID) and also cites for failure to maintain a single lane of travel as the basis for the stop. A search of the vehicle discloses a homemade pipe and synthetic cannabinoid, which result in an additional charge of possession of controlled substance.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUID and Failure to Maintain Single Lane by jury. Prosecution agreed to dismiss possession charge as there was no evidence the substance was illegal to possess in Wyoming at that time.