By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming's new driving under the influence law went into effect at midnight, July 1. Under that law, drivers arrested for DUI may no longer refuse a test of their blood alcohol level - but law enforcement will have to obtain a warrant in order to have a blood alcohol test performed, if a driver refuses to comply.
In Natrona County, which sees roughly 20 DUI arrests each week, District Attorney Mike Blonigen says the new law will make a big difference. "I think this is really where you're going to see an improvement in prosecutions is these repeat offenders," he said. "These experienced drunk drivers who know the system, try to play the system, and try to deny us the evidence. Well, now we can go to a judge just like any other crime and get a warrant and collect the evidence."
Law enforcement, prosecutors and judges have had to work together to determine the logistics of just how warrants will be obtained late at night and on weekends. When the Wyoming legislature amended the existing DUI law in the most recent session, they specified that warrants could be obtained electronically. Many believe that aspect of the new law will be the subject of litigation.