wyoming domestic violence laws

Domestic violence occurs when a household member attempts to cause or causes bodily injury to another household member. Most of the time, domestic violence charges are a form of misdemeanor simple assault and battery. However, more serious situations, such as those involving weapons or strangulation, can be charged as felonies. In Wyoming, a household member includes: Current and former spouses,Individuals who currently or previously lived together in a romantic relationship,Adults sharing living quarters,Parents and their adult children,Individuals who previously dated or are currently dating, andIndividuals who have a child together. If you face domestic violence charges in Wyoming, you should contact a Wyoming domestic violence defense attorney today. Laws and Penalties Common Wyoming domestic violence laws include domestic assault, domestic battery, and strangulation of a household member. Domestic Assault Wyoming law defines domestic assault as when a household member unlawfully attempts to cause bodily injury to another household member. A first-time domestic assault offense carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and/or up to a $750 fine. The punishment increases to a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $750 fine if the offender has previously been convicted of domestic assault or has been convicted of any of the following crimes: Domestic battery,Simple assault,Battery,Child abuse,Strangulation of a household member,Aggravated assault and battery,Reckless endangerment,Unlawful contact,Kidnapping,Felonious restraint, orFalse imprisonment. A court can also impose a sentence of up to three years of probation in addition to jail time and fines. Domestic Battery In Wyoming, domestic battery occurs when a household member knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another household member by use of physical force. A first-time domestic battery offense carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and/or up to a $750 fine. However, the punishment increases to a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if the offender has previously been convicted of domestic battery or any of the other crimes listed above within the past five years.  Additionally, if the offender has been convicted of domestic battery two or more times within the past 10 years, or domestic battery and any of the other crimes listed above, the punishment increases to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Strangulation of a Household Member Wyoming law defines strangulation of a household member as intentionally and knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to another household member by impeding their breathing or blood circulation through: Applying pressure on the household member’s throat or neck, orBlocking the household member’s nose and mouth. Strangulation of a household member is a felony and carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. How a Wyoming Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Can Help You If you face domestic violence charges in Wyoming, hiring a domestic violence defense attorney gives you the best chance at reducing or eliminating your charges. Jeremy Hugus and our team at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense understand the seriousness of a domestic violence accusation. We will keep you informed throughout the criminal defense process and aggressively fight to get you the best possible result. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Wyoming Self-Defense Laws

The State of Wyoming seeks to protect the public by criminalizing offenses like assault and battery. A criminal conviction can have a drastic impact on your life and reputation. However, if you have been accused of a crime but were acting in self-defense, you may be able to avoid a conviction. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, our criminal defense lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to help you win your case. Read on to learn more about the defense of self-defense in Wyoming and how it can help you avoid a conviction. Assault and Battery Two of the most common crimes where self-defense may apply are assault and battery. If you are convicted of assault or battery, you could face hefty fines. You could potentially even face imprisonment. Understanding assault and battery in more detail can help determine if you have a valid defense. A person in Wyoming is guilty of simple assault if they unlawfully attempt to cause bodily injury to another person (WY Stat § 6-2-501(a)). For an assault conviction, a person does not even need to cause any actual injury to someone else. All that matters is that there was an attempt. A simple assault conviction in Wyoming is a misdemeanor that can result in a fine of up to $750. A person is guilty of simple battery in Wyoming if he or she “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person by use of physical force” (WY Stat § 6-2-501(b)). A battery conviction is also a misdemeanor and could result in a fine of up to $750. Additionally, a battery conviction in Wyoming is punishable by up to six months in prison. Wyoming imposes even stricter penalties for aggravated assault and battery convictions. A person can be found guilty of aggravated assault and battery if they cause, or threaten to cause, bodily injury to another using a deadly weapon. A person can also be convicted of aggravated assault and battery if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to a woman whom they know is pregnant (WY Stat § 6-2-502(a)). An aggravated assault and battery conviction in Wyoming is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. What If You Were Acting in Self-Defense?  If you attempted to, or actually did, cause bodily injury to another person, you could be convicted of assault or battery. But if you did so only to defend yourself from their actions, you may have a valid claim of self-defense. If this is the case, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.  Self-Defense Defined The right to protect and defend yourself is a longstanding principle in the United States, and this principle applies in Wyoming, too.  Wyoming defines self-defense as a reasonable defensive force that is necessary to prevent injury or loss. Wyoming even allows self-defense that results in the death of the other party if the self-defense was necessary to prevent one’s own imminent death or serious bodily injury. As long as the party acting in self-defense had an honest belief that a danger existed, they cannot be convicted of assault, battery, or another violent crime.  Can I Use Self-Defense to Avoid a Conviction? If your actions constituted reasonable defensive force necessary to prevent injury to yourself, then you acted in self-defense. A person who acts in self-defense “shall not be criminally prosecuted for that use of reasonable defensive force.” WY Stat § 6-2-202(f). This means that under the law, you cannot be convicted of a crime if you were acting in self-defense.  Unfortunately, however, proving self-defense in a criminal case is not an easy task. A criminal defendant claiming self-defense has the initial burden of proving to a judge or jury that their actions were reasonable and necessary to prevent serious bodily injury. If the defendant does prove this, the burden then shifts to the State to prove that the defendant did not justifiably act in self-defense.  Very often, the decision will come down to the facts, evidence, and who the judge or jury believes. This is why it is so important to have a zealous advocate in your corner who will fight to give you your best defense and best chance at success. Your Best Case for Self-Defense If you have been accused of assault, battery, or another violent crime, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The team at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can help you understand your charges. More than that, they will help you navigate the process and create a strategy for a successful defense.  Our extensive experience in criminal defense law allows us to fight for you every step of the way. If you are looking for a firm with the experience and dedication necessary to succeed, call Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. 

Child Abuse in Wyoming Laws and Penalties

Being accused of child abuse is a serious allegation and can have significant consequences. However, not all child abuse allegations are true. Defending yourself against a child abuse allegation is difficult, and a false allegation can affect your life and reputation.  If someone falsely accuses you of child abuse in Wyoming, contact the team at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. What Is Child Abuse? In general, child abuse is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a minor. In Wyoming, the definition for child abuse is “inflicting or causing physical or mental injury, harm or imminent danger to the physical or mental health or welfare of a child other than by accidental means.” Child abuse in Wyoming also includes malnutrition, sexual offenses against a child, and excessive or unreasonable corporal punishment (WY Stat § 14-3-202(a)(ii)). It is important to note though that there is an exception for reasonable corporal punishment.  Aggravated Child Abuse Definition A child abuse conviction on its own can potentially result in some jail time, but the penalty for an aggravated child abuse conviction is even greater. Wyoming defines aggravated child abuse as intentionally or recklessly inflicting serious bodily injury upon a child (WY Stat § 6-2-503).  Child Abuse Charges in Wyoming Any person can be charged with child abuse in the State of Wyoming. If the person charged with child abuse is not responsible for a child’s welfare, they may be convicted only if the victim is under the age of sixteen. On the other hand, if the person charged is responsible for a child’s welfare, they can be convicted for child abuse against anyone up to the age of eighteen.  This is an important distinction. An adult “responsible for a child’s welfare” can include any of the following: Custodial parent, Noncustodial parent,Guardian,Custodian,Stepparent, orFoster parent. Even if you are not in one of the specific categories defined above, any other person, institution, or agency that has physical custody or control of a child can be considered responsible for the child’s welfare.  Penalties for Child Abuse in Wyoming Wyoming takes child abuse allegations extremely seriously. As such, penalties for child abuse convictions can be severe. Can I Get Jail Time for Child Abuse? One major concern you may have about child abuse allegations is whether you could go to jail. If you are convicted of child abuse, you could ultimately go to jail, but the level of punishment varies based on the specific facts of each case. Penalties for Child Abuse In Wyoming, a child abuse conviction is classified as a felony. This can result in punishment of up to five years in prison.  Penalties for aggravated child abuse can be much more severe. Aggravated child abuse, as discussed above, occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly inflicts serious bodily injury upon a victim. An aggravated child abuse conviction is also a felony. However, instead of five years, punishment can include imprisonment for up to twenty-five years.  What to Do If You Are Accused of Child Abuse If someone has accused you of child abuse in Wyoming, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Having a lawyer in your corner can be the difference between a conviction and a successful defense. Jeremy Hugus and the Cowboy Country Criminal Defense team are ready to advocate for you. A child abuse allegation is difficult to navigate, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. Contact Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney and make sure you have a strong defense. 

Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

Wyoming law classifies different types of assault by the type and severity of the injury, the victim or victims, and other circumstances specific to each case. Most assaults fall into two categories: simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense and carries less severe punishments. Aggravated assaults are felonies and carry more severe punishments.  If you have been charged with an aggravated assault charge in Wyoming you should contact an experienced assault defense attorney to get you the best defense. Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault?    Simple Assaults You may ask yourself what is simple assault? A person may be charged with simple assault if he or she attempts to cause bodily injury to another. Proving a simple assault charge does not require showing that the victim was actually injured. You can be charged with simple assault even if you never touch the other person. A simple assault conviction can include fines up to $750 and will appear as a misdemeanor on your criminal record. Aggravated Assaults Aggravated assaults qualify as felonies under Wyoming law and can include severe punishments and other consequences. Similar to simple assault, a person does not actually have to injure someone else to be charged with aggravated assault.  The main difference between a simple assault and aggravated assault charge is the severity of the bodily injury. If a person attempts to cause or causes serious bodily injury to another, they may face aggravated assault charges. Acts or behaviors that demonstrate a disregard for the value of human life meet the requirements for aggravated assault.  Wyoming law considers aggravated assault charges in several other circumstances: Using a deadly weapon to cause or threaten serious bodily harm;Threatening to use a drawn weapon, such as a gun, to cause serious bodily injury; andSeriously injuring a pregnant woman a person knows to be pregnant. The type of assault charge depends on the circumstances and facts of each case. Even a fistfight may result in aggravated assault charges based on the severity of the injuries. Additionally, everyday items such as a bottle, rock, or stick may be considered weapons if used to hurt or attempt to seriously hurt another person.  Penalties for aggravated assault usually depend on the severity of the injuries, the identities of each person involved, and other circumstantial factors. An aggravated assault conviction may impose a punishment of up to ten years in prison for serious offenses.  Aggravated vs Simple Assault FAQ – Do I Need A Lawyer for an Assault Charge? Any assault charge, either simple or aggravated, can have a huge impact on your life. Aggravated assault charges, in particular, can have serious consequences. If convicted of aggravated assault, you may face up to 10 years in prison and a felony conviction on your record. Felony convictions can affect your employment, child custody, housing, and your ability to vote. If you or someone you know is facing criminal assault charges, you need an experienced simple or aggravated assault defense attorney on your side. He or she will thoroughly investigate your case and provide you with the best legal defenses and options available. Some common defenses to assault charges include:  Self-defense,Defense of others, Defense of property, orLack of intent to cause serious bodily injury.  Building a successful legal defense and presenting it in court is a challenging and complicated process. A skilled lawyer knows what information and evidence you will need to create an effective defense. Your lawyer will gather this evidence, negotiate with prosecutors and the court on your behalf, and represent you in court if your case goes to trial.  Call A Criminal Defense Attorney Today If you or someone you know is facing assault charges, contact our offices or fill out an online form today. The dedicated team of professionals at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense will support you throughout this difficult process. Our attorney Jeremy Hugus has extensive experience defending clients against criminal assault charges. He has a proven history of success and works tirelessly to protect his clients’ legal rights. Our entire team cares deeply about our clients and will make sure you receive the support and legal advice you need each step of the way. Call our offices or fill out an online form today. 

What Is Simple Assault

Disagreements and arguments happen all the time. But if they become too heated or get out of control, one or more people may be charged with a crime, including simple assault. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, the information below will provide you with important knowledge so you can better protect your legal interests. What Is A Simple Assault Charge in Wyoming? Simple assaults can occur in a variety of circumstances but often arise during a disagreement or argument. Definitions of simple assault differ from state to state. Wyoming law classifies assault as a misdemeanor and punishes simple assault convictions with monetary fines. Under the statute, a simple assault occurs where a person attempts to harm another person or cause bodily injury unlawfully.  A simple assault charge does not require actual bodily injury. You can be charged just for attempting to do so.  Penalties for Simple Assault  Penalties for simple assault charges do not include any jail time. But if convicted, you will still face consequences that can have a significant impact on your life. Legal penalties for simple assault include: Monetary penalties up to $750 per charge; A misdemeanor charge that will appear on your criminal record;Court dates and associated fees and costs; andProblems with employment, child custody disputes, and other issues associated with having a criminal record. Understanding Different Types of Assault-Related Charges Understanding different types of assault-related offenses can be complicated and confusing, but important to know if you face criminal charges. Below are brief descriptions of different types of assault-related charges and their associated penalties. Assault Versus Battery  Assault and battery come up in numerous different contexts in news, social media, and popular entertainment. Many sources describe these terms as the same offense, but they are separate crimes and have some crucial differences.  A simple assault crime in Wyoming only requires proving that someone attempted to cause bodily injury to another personA crime of battery requires showing that a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused another person bodily harm through physical force. Battery involves proving an actual injury, and a person charged with battery faces harsher legal consequences. Penalties for battery can include fines of up to $750 as well as up to six months in jail.  Unlawful Contact Wyoming law includes another type of offense that falls between a charge for assault or battery. Unlawful contact occurs where a person intentionally touches another person in an angry, rude, or impolite way but does not cause bodily injury. A person convicted of unlawful contact faces up to six months in jail, fines up to $750, or both.  Assault on a Household Member Wyoming law also distinguishes between simple assault and domestic assault, or assault by one household member against another. First-time domestic assault offenders face the same penalties as those for simple assault. However, if a person convicted of domestic assault committed another assault-related crime or a previous domestic assault, that person may face jail time in addition to a fine.  Do I Need a Lawyer? If you are charged with simple assault, remember that a criminal charge does not equal a conviction. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each element, or part, or a criminal offense. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know and understand the elements of criminal assault and will investigate the facts of your case to develop a strong defense to protect your rights.  Some defenses to simple assault include:  Even if you did attempt to cause someone bodily injury, if you did it to protect yourself or someone else from harm you may be able to claim self-defense;You could argue that you were aggressive because you were defending your property;You may be able to claim consent as a defense if you can prove that the other person consented, or agreed to, the attempted bodily harm; orShowing that you lacked the ability to cause bodily harm.  Any of the defenses above or combinations of the defenses could make up your legal strategy. How a Criminal Defense Attorney Defends You from a Simple Assault Charge Creating a successful legal defense can be a complicated process. Presenting a legal claim requires knowing and following extensive court procedures, rules and methods for gathering and presenting evidence, writing court documents, and bringing a case to trial. Skilled lawyers spend years practicing and developing these skills so they can best serve and protect their clients’ interests. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you: Gather evidence, including investigations, police reports, witness testimonies, and other information necessary to build your defenseFile motions with the court Negotiate with the prosecution on your behalfDefend you and represent you if your case goes to trial Contact An Attorney Today If you or someone you know is charged with simple assault, you may not know what to do next. We understand this can be a stressful and challenging time, and our highly experienced attorneys and staff will support you through the process. Our criminal defense attorney Jeremy Hugus has extensive experience defending his clients’ rights against criminal defense charges. He has a proven track record of success and fights relentlessly on behalf of his clients. Call the Platte River Injury Law firm or fill out an online form today. Our qualified team will provide you with the legal advice and representation you need.