Child Abuse in Wyoming: Laws and Penalties

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, or
  • Foster 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. 

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