Wyoming Court Records
What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Wyoming?
Any non-compliance with the traffic and road-usage laws under Title 31 Motor Vehicles statues is a traffic violation or infraction in Wyoming. In the state, motorists may be written up for committing traffic violations by state or local law enforcement agencies and liable to penalties as prescribed by the state’s traffic laws. Traffic penalties typically involve jail sentences and fines (including court costs, court automation fees, and civil legal fees). In criminal traffic violations such as felonies, these sentences and fines are usually prolonged and loftier. The Municipal, Circuit, and District Courts in the court system are responsible for handling traffic ticket cases and doling out punishment to offenders. However, while the Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over criminal and civil violations, the Municipal Courts do not have civil jurisdiction over traffic cases, only criminal violations.
What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Wyoming?
Felony traffic violations in Wyoming are traffic offenses that violate the state’s Criminal Code and traffic laws, and for which punishment consists of a fine or imprisonment, or both. Felonies are legally defined under Wyo. Stat. §6–10–101 as crimes that may be punishable by death or imprisonment for more than 1 year. Additional penalties for felonies include license restrictions, including suspensions and revocations. While other US states use a class or degree-based system to categorize crimes and resulting penalties according to the severity and prior offenses, Wyoming classifies felonies on an offense-by-offense basis. That is, each crime and its penalty is specifically outlined under a statute. As a result, fines and sentences for felonies are not streamlined and vary. However, when a crime’s penalty is not prescribed by statute, the court may impose a fine up to $10,000, but not above, under Wyo. Stat. § 6–10–102, as well as sentencing under Wyo. Stat. § 6–10–104 within the limits of the law.
Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Wyoming?
Some examples of felony traffic violations in Wyoming include:
- Aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–225)
- Aggravated homicide by vehicle (Wyo. Stat. § 6–2–106)
- All falsifications, alterations, forgeries, and counterfeiting of certificates of title or registrations, or any other document under Title 31 Motor Vehicles (Wyo. Stat. § 31–4–102)
- Alteration of vehicle identification numbers (Wyo. Stat. § 31–11–103)
What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Wyoming?
In Wyoming, a major difference between a felony and a misdemeanor traffic violation is in the length of imprisonment, amount of fines, and place of incarceration. Most felony offenders serve time in state prisons while individuals convicted of misdemeanors are confined in county jails. Generally, traffic misdemeanors are the lesser crimes, mostly involving moving violations, and are punishable by not more than 6 months in jail and $750 in fines. Some misdemeanor offenses require the perpetrator to appear in court voluntarily while others are resolved by payment of a fine, also known as bond forfeiture. Still, in some offenses, as outlined in Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–1204, an offender may be arrested or have an arrest warrant issued. These offenses include:
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle
- Driving or having control of a vehicle while under the influence
- Homicide by vehicle or negligent homicide
- Failure to stop, give information or render assistance where the accident results in death or personal injury, or involved property or vehicle damage
- Reckless driving
- Racing on the highway
- Deliberate fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
The Circuit and Municipal courts handle misdemeanor offenses in the state. However, individuals that were written up the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) or sheriff offices settle their cases in the Circuit Courts, rather than the Municipal Courts. All criminal traffic misdemeanor cases handled by the Municipal Couts do not exceed $750 in fines and 6 months in imprisonment for offenses. Penalties for misdemeanors are detailed in Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–1201, and for the same offense is as follows:
- First convictions: A fine, not more than $200
- Second convictions committed within a year of the first offense: A fine, not more than $300
- Third/subsequent convictions within a year of the first conviction: A fine, not more than $500, or imprisonment, not more than 6 months, or both
The courts also impose additional fees for court automation ($40), indigent civil legal fees ($10), and court costs ($10 in the Municipal Courts and $20 in the Circuit Courts) on persons found guilty of misdemeanors. The Circuit Courts use a uniform system called the Uniform Bail and Forfeiture Schedule to determine bail amounts for traffic misdemeanors in which court appearance is not compulsory. Municipal Court judges assess fines and other penalties based on the seriousness of the offenses and within provisions given by Wyoming traffic statutes.
Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Wyoming?
The following traffic offenses are classified as misdemeanors in Wyoming:
- Unauthorized use of vehicle (Wyo. Stat. § 31–11–102)
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–225)
- Driving or having control of vehicle while under the influence (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–233)
- Driving while consuming or in possession of alcoholic beverages in open containers (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–235)
- Failure to observe signs and closed markers
- Drag racing
- Failure to secure license plate on vehicle
- Willful refusal to obey officer
- Clinging to a vehicle on highway
- Driving on sidewalks
- Driving while texting (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–237)
- Meeting or overtaking stopped school bus (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–507)
- Parking sign violations (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–501)
- Failure to maintain liability coverage (Wyo. Stat. § 31–4–103)
- Following too closely
- Driving over fire hose
- Speed violations in urban districts, school zones, construction zones, or interstate highways
- Careless driving
- Failure to stop vehicle where accident results in death or personal injury (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–1101)
- Operating vehicles with metal tires on oil, asphalt, or concrete-surfaced highways (Wyo. Stat. § 31–12–101)
What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Wyoming?
The term “traffic infraction” is not commonly used in Wyoming as in some US states. Typically, Wyoming statutes refer to traffic violations as either moving or non-moving violations. As stated above, a majority of these violations are misdemeanors in the state, and a few, felonies. In a general sense, one could say that traffic infractions are trivial offenses, more ordinance, equipment, and non-moving violations than crimes, and not mandating an offender to appear in court. These offenses are neither criminal misdemeanors nor felonies and are punishable by fine alone. This fine is usually less considerable than that of the other traffic violations.
Examples of offenses that may be considered infractions in Wyoming include:
- Parking violations
- Violation of the Wyoming Chain Law (Wyo. Stat. § 31–5–956)
- Child safety restraint violations
- Failure to wear seat or safety belt
- Illegal right/left turns
- Improper change of lane
- Illegal U-turns
- Stop sign violations
- Running a red light
How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Wyoming?
In Wyoming, traffic tickets are issued by state or local law enforcement and may be resolved in the Circuit or Municipal Courts. Typically, the instructions on how to resolve a traffic ticket are available on the ticket, as well as the name of the court with jurisdiction over the traffic offense. These instructions may also be found on the website of the specific Wyoming court. The court’s payment information, contact details, and addresses are also available on the site.
Generally, individuals who are not required to appear in court for a citation, may pay the accompanying fine or contest the ticket. To pay a fine, the offender may visit the jurisdictional Circuit Court or Municipal Court during business hours, or mail in the fee. If the ticket is under the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court, a uniform online payment option is provided by the courts. This system may be accessed via the court’s individual websites or through the state’s judicial website under the “circuit courts” dropdown menu. To pay by mail in the Circuit Courts, an individual may enclose the pink sheet of the citation, and a cashier’s check or money order of the complete fine, and send all to the relevant court. Some Municipal courts provide online payment platforms on their websites. Acceptable payment methods for the courts vary therefore it is important to contact the Clerk’s office or look up the information on the court’s website. However, most courts, whether Circuit or Municipal do not accept cash payments by mail. It is necessary to note that paying for a ticket is an admittance of guilt and acceptance of the penalties that may follow. Also, persons who do so waive their rights to trial.
Parties who want to contest a ticket may read the back of their tickets for instructions or contact the respective Municipal or Circuit Court for the information, and to make the plea. Usually, contesting a ticket involves ticking the appropriate box and sending the detached sheet to the court before the due date on the ticket. Then, the court contacts the individuals with a date when they must appear in court. Failure to appear on the scheduled court date is regarded as unlawful and attracts additional penalties, one of which is a license suspension.
To know if it is mandatory to appear in court for a violation, individuals may check their tickets. If the “Must Appear” box is checked by the issuing officer, the offenders must appear in person on the indicated court date or risk additional sanctions.
Offenders are not liable to gain demerit points for violations in Wyoming as other states and also, it is not possible to offset a violation or reduce/dismiss the penalties of an offense by attending driving school, as the state does not endorse such actions.
Are Driving Records Public In Wyoming?
Driving records are confidential in Wyoming as these documents contain identifying information of motorists, including addresses, social security numbers, and contact details. As a result, only persons named on a record may access these records, and other parties with permissible use by way of a release form. These parties include, but are not limited to, government agencies in carrying out duties; employers or contractors, for business purposes; state/federal/local justice agencies, for use in connection with court proceedings; researchers; insurance agencies; tow companies; and toll operators.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Find Driving Records In Wyoming?
The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) provides driving records to requesters through its Driver Services Program. A driving record contains violations, accidents, and convictions, including a motorist’s license status (whether suspended, valid, or canceled). The types of driving records available in Wyoming include 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year driving records. 3-year driving records include:
- Moving violations
- Accidents (uninsured)
- Compulsory insurance violations
- Driver license suspensions
- Violations committed in other states
While 5-year driving records include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Accident judgments
- Leaving the scene of an accident (injury)
- Any felony resulting from driving and transporting liquor to a minor
- Convictions and withdrawals
Individuals may order copies of their personal records using provided in-person and mail services for a $5 fee per record. Government agencies are exempt from the records fee. Requesters may visit a Wyoming driver examination station to make in-person requests. It is required to provide a Wyoming driver’s license or identification card to obtain a record, as well as a filled Release of Driving Record & Personal Information Form, signed manually. In the form, the requester must input their full names, addresses, dates of birth, and Wyoming driver licenses numbers.
Mail requests may be made using the same release form and sending it to the following address:
Wyoming Department of Transportation
Driver Services, Driving Records
5300 Bishop Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY 82009–3340
Both mail and in-person requests take 7 to 10 business days to process and may be paid with a check or money order made payable to WYDOT. A credit card payment options is also available by checking the appropriate box on the form. There is a $2.50 service fee for credit card transactions. Results can be delivered to the requester by mail, email, or fax.
Third parties may use the same methods to request and obtain driving records in Wyoming. It is compulsory to fill and sign the release form above. It should be noted that this request can only be made when the party meets one or more of the qualifications for usage listed on the release form. Processing times, fees, and payment methods are similar to personal record requests.
Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Wyoming?
No, traffic violations and infractions cannot be sealed in Wyoming and the state has limited statues regarding expungement or sealing of criminal traffic violations. Under Wyo. Stat. § 7–13–1501, individuals may petition the court to remove records of certain misdemeanor convictions, 5 years after the completion of their sentences. This can be done only once per offender. Specific felonies are also expugnable under Wyo. Stat. § 7–13–1502 when 10 years have passed since the completion of a sentence. However, the law excludes traffic offenses such as felony DUIs and aggravated homicide by vehicle.