The ACLU of Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s 24/7 Sobriety Program and its application in Teton County, asserting that the daily warrantless searches are constitutional violations when applied to people who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime.
Originally created by a 2014 state law, Wyoming’s 24/7 Sobriety Program allows a judge to mandate a breathalyzer test twice a day, every day, for those awaiting trial on alcohol charges.
The program was originally designed for repeat offenders of alcohol- and drug-related arrests, but in Teton County, it is also being used as a pretrial condition for first-time offenders following amendment of the law in 2019.
Pretrial participants in Wyoming’s 24/7 Sobriety Program should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to due process and meaningful hearings. Without that, the 27/7 Program is an egregious violation of their constitutional rights. Specifically, the 24/7 Program violates:
- The Fourth Amendment for potentially unreasonable searches and seizures
- The Fourteenth Amendment for depriving participants of liberty through sometimes repeated pretrial arrests potentially without due process of law
- The Eighth Amendment for potentially depriving participants of reasonable bail and bail conditionsAdditionally, any failed test or late arrival by 30 minutes or more or being late three times in Teton County leads to immediate arrest – though no rule, regulation or statute authorizes a sheriff in Wyoming to arrest a person without a warrant for merely being late. Program participants are also charged a $30 enrollment fee and pay $2 per breath test, which over the span of several weeks and months can amount to hundreds of dollars
The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court of Wyoming on behalf of Alfredo Guillermo Sanchez and David Christopher “Chris” Ball, previous program participants, and Sean Marx, a current participant in the program. All other pretrial participants of the program are also included in the lawsuit.