Judge declares Laramie's DUI law void

May 29, 2012

Albany County District Judge Jeffrey Donnell has dealt a blow to Laramie’s ordinance that mandates jail time for anyone who refuses chemical testing if they are suspected of driving under the influence. 

Laramie approved the law in an effort to stop people from refusing chemical testing.  But Laramie Attorney Michael Vang challenged the ordinance in a case surrounding his client Raymond Sandoval. 

While Sandoval’s D-U-I conviction was upheld, Judge Donnell ruled that Laramie could not put people in jail for refusing a blood alcohol test.  The main reason is that the state had allowed people to refuse such tests at the time, and the only sanction is that they could lose their license.   Vang says that Donnell’s ruling says that Laramie went too far.

“My reading of Judge Donnell’s decision is that he found and he agreed with us that the City of Laramie is preempted from adding the crime, that criminal sanction, to the refusal that existed  at the time because under Wyoming law the only thing they could do is suspend your license.” 

Laramie authorities are still studying the ruling.  It’s still unclear whether Wyoming’s new law, which makes it more difficult to refuse a D-U-I, would have any impact on Donnell’s ruling.