A man in Casper, Wyoming was charged with D.U.I. twice in the same night. It was not the first such occurrence in this Wyoming town. The incident raises the issue of increased penalties for repeat D.U.I. offenses, additional charges for Driving Under Suspension, and the policy of releasing arrestees after they post bond.
The 67-year old retired physician was charged with D.U.I. after he blew a .087 on a portable breath test. He was taken to jail, where he posted bail and was released. About 25 minutes later, he was arrested and charged with a second D.U.I. as he drove away from the jail. According to the Casper Star-Tribune, he told the second arresting officer that he had been in jail and had not been drinking there. He pled not guilty to both charges, and his case is pending.
If this incident were to occur in Ohio, the potential sentences for the D.U.I.s (called O.V.I. in Ohio) would be increasingly severe. While the first offense would carry a mandatory three days in jail that may be satisfied by a three-day driver intervention program, the second offense would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of ten days in jai. For the second offense, there would also be a higher fine, a longer license suspension, and the defendant would be required to have yellow license plates.
The other complication in Ohio would be that the defendant would be charged with driving under suspension. When a person is arrested for O.V.I., they are asked to take a breath test, blood test, or urine test. If the result is at or over the limit (.08), or if the person refuses the test, the person is subjected to an Administrative License Suspension. If the retired doctor was driving away from the jail in Ohio, he would be driving under the administrative suspension, which would be a separate offense carrying a minimum of three additional days in jail.
This incident raises a question about the jail’s policy of releasing D.U.I. arrestees after they post bond. The Star-Tribune article indicated that each county in Wyoming has its own policy on this issue. This county, however, had a previous incident in 2007 in which the arrestee was released and hit a pedestrian as he drove home. Maybe they should require that the person be picked up at the jail rather than allowing the person to drive away.