Stiffer Laws for Public Intox in Fremont County

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Public intoxication in Riverton may lead to jail time.

Under a new city ordinance, too many public intoxication, could lead to 280 days in jail.

Riverton City Council Member Timothy Hancock told News 13, "We've always had a public intoxication ordinance in Riverton but what we're discussing now is the possibility of the punishment for that offense moving from just being a fine to being something that can include the possibility of a jail sentence."

Riverton City Attorney Rick Solars commented, “It results out of the case of the city of Casper versus Simonson where the Wyoming Supreme Court held that you can’t order probation unless jail time is a possible sentence."

Council members said the change will help repeat offenders.

They said their goal is not to put people in jail but rather try to help them with their addiction.

"We have many people that come through for public intoxication and we see a lot of the same people. It’s because they are struggling with alcoholism. This change in the ordinance will make it so that it's not just finding them and releasing them and sending them on their way but that we can do more than that."

The new ordinance will allow more sentencing options for violators.

"The judge will have the possibility of placing them on probation, would have the possibility of ordering them to do certain things such as getting a substance abuse evaluation, someone who can look at them and determine what we're dealing with in terms of their addiction."

The Shoshoni and Arapaho tribes have recovery programs and Fremont County has some evaluations and some treatments.

But there is a way to prevent the risk of any affirmative action.

"If you're drunk and you're wanting to get somewhere I get a ride the point is don't walk don't drive get a ride that's the best way to go."
The council meetings will be open to the public where the community can share opinions.

"There’s going to be two more readings at the next two regular council meetings and then it those readings the public will have the opportunity to weigh in if somebody has something to say against it either for or against it then they can come and they can talk about it."

If the two readings pass it will officially become law.

Council members said they don't expect much difference in jail time sentencing, but more help for those who suffer from alcohol addiction.