As awareness of human tracking continues to increase, prosecutors across Wyoming are adopting a more laid-back approach to prosecuting some prostitution offenses. However, those arrested for soliciting a prostitute are not among those receiving the benefit of this new approach. In Wyoming, it remains a misdemeanor to solicit a prostitute. A conviction for soliciting a prostitute can carry many serious and potentially lifelong consequences, including the requirement to register as a sex offender. What Is Soliciting a Prostitute? In Wyoming, there are three crimes related to prostitution. Prostitution, as defined by Wyoming Statutes Section 6-4-101, occurs when a person “knowingly or intentionally performs or permits, or offers or agrees to perform or permit an act of sexual intrusion… for money or other property.” Wyoming Statutes Section 6-4-102 outlines the offense of solicitation of prostitution. The statute explains that soliciting a prostitute involves knowingly or intentionally paying, or offering or agreeing to pay money or other property to another person” with the intent of having them perform a sex act. Importantly, there is no requirement that you exchange money or even have an explicit agreement. Courts look to the surrounding facts to determine whether there are “circumstances strongly corroborative” of a person’s intent to solicit a prostitute. Both prostitution and soliciting a prostitute are misdemeanor offenses. In each case, a conviction carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a fine of up to $750. The most serious prostitution offense in Wyoming, aside from human trafficking, is promoting prostitution. Promoting prostitution involves any of the following actions: Enticing or compelling another person to become a prostitute;Offering to obtain a prostitute for another person;Operating any location used for the purposes of prostitution; andReceiving money from a prostitute, knowing it was earned through prostitution. Promoting prostitution is a felony, which carries a maximum punishment of three years in jail and a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. However, if you promote the prostitution of a person under 18 years old, the crime is punishable by a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of $5,000, or both. Both the solicitation of a prostitute and the promotion of prostitution are registerable sex offenses in Wyoming if the person solicited was a minor under the age of 18. If you face charges related to the solicitation of a prostitute in Wyoming, there are a few important defenses. A dedicated Wyoming prostitution lawyer can help you better understand the allegations against you and what defenses are available in your case. Defenses to Soliciting a Prostitute Charges A court cannot convict you of soliciting a prostitute unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to induce another to perform a sex act. Most often, solicitation cases are based on an undercover operation conducted by police officers. For example, a police officer may wait on the street pretending to be a prostitute. While police officers are allowed to do this, they cannot convince you to commit a crime. This is called entrapment, and it is a legal defense to soliciting a prostitute. Thus, if an undercover officer approaches you asking if you are interested in paying them to commit a sex act, you may have a defense to any solicitation charges. Another common defense to prostitution charges involves attacking the sufficiency of the evidence against you. The line between innocent flirting and soliciting a prostitute can be a thin one. In most solicitation cases, there is no exchange of money. There may not even be an explicit agreement. Often, prosecutors’ evidence consists of vague statements that may show your intent to hire a prostitute. However, there may be another, non-criminal interpretation of your words that are just as likely true. Essentially, by attacking the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence, you argue that the government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually intended to hire a prostitute. Are You Facing Solicitation Charges in Wyoming? If you face Wyoming prostitution charges, contact the dedicated criminal defense lawyers at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is a boutique criminal defense law firm based in Casper, Wyoming. We represent clients charged with all types of prostitution offenses and other crimes, including sex offenses. We recognize that these cases involve more than your reputation and we do everything possible to secure the best result in every case. As skilled negotiators, we are often able to secure favorable non-trial resolutions to our clients’ cases. However, with significant courtroom experience, we are equally prepared to fight you before the judge or jury. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Wyoming criminal defense lawyer at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, give us a call at 307-333-7884 today. You can also reach us through our online form, and we will be in touch shortly. We look forward to serving you.
In most Wyoming criminal cases, the government brings charges against the person they believe committed the crime in question. However, in some situations, prosecutors bring charges against someone they believe helped or encouraged another person to commit a crime. The law refers to this as aiding and abetting or being an accessory before the fact. Aiding and abetting is just as serious as the underlying crime, and anyone facing these charges needs to take them seriously. What Is Aiding and Abetting? In Wyoming, helping or encouraging another person to commit a crime is a crime itself. Wyoming Statutes Section 6-1-201 refers to this as being an “accessory before the fact.” Take, for example, a situation in which you hire a hitman to “off” their former spouse. In this situation, the hitman commits the crime of murder. In legal terms, the hitman is the principal in this situation. However, the government could also charge you with being an accessory before the fact because you encouraged the hitman to commit the crime by offering to pay them. This is an example of aiding and abetting. How Much Time Do You Get for Aiding and Abetting in Wyoming? Aiding and abetting can be, but isn’t always, a very serious crime. Under Wyoming law, anyone who aids or abets another in committing a crime faces the same charges as the principal. To use the above example, if you hire a hitman to commit a murder, you could face first-degree murder charges yourself. Many people are astonished to learn that the punishment for aiding and abetting is the same as the punishment for the underlying crime. Wyoming law provides that the government can bring charges against an aider and abettor before, after, or at the same time as the case against the principal. You can even face aiding and abetting charges if the government decides not to prosecute the principal. For example, if the principal agrees to testify on behalf of the government in exchange for leniency, they may walk free while sending you to jail. Aiding and Abetting Versus “Accessory After the Fact” Aiding and abetting involves conduct that takes place before the principal commits a crime. However, what if you knowingly help someone cover up a crime they already committed without your help. This too is a crime, referred to as being an “accessory after the fact.” Under Wyoming Statutes Section 6-5-202, it is illegal to help another person “hinder, delay, or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, detention, conviction or punishment of another for the commission of a crime.” Thus, if your involvement only occurred after the principal committed the crime, you cannot be found guilty of aiding and abetting. For example, helping someone hide evidence or allowing them to hide out in your home could render you an accessory after the fact. The distinction between aiding and abetting is important because the punishment for being an accessory after the fact is significantly less in most cases. A charge involving being an accessory after the fact can be a felony or a misdemeanor. The crime is a felony if: The underlying crime is a felony; andYou are not related to the person committing the crime. Felony accessory after the fact charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a fine of $3,000, or both. You will face misdemeanor accessory after the fact charges if: The underlying crime is a felony, and you are related to the person committing the crime;The underlying crime is a misdemeanor, and you are not related to the person committing the crime; orThe person committing the crime was a minor. Misdemeanor accessory after the fact charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of up to $750, or both. In certain situations, being an accessory after the fact is not a crime at all. This is the case when the underlying crime is a misdemeanor and you are related to the person committing the crime. Contact a Wyoming Criminal Defense Lawyer for Immediate Assistance with Your Case If you face charges of aiding and abetting, the punishment is the same as if you committed the offense yourself. Do not take these charges lightly. At the Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, our Wyoming criminal defense lawyers represent clients in all types of cases. We handle theft cases, violent crimes, sex crimes, homicides, and more. Our attorneys take an aggressive approach to every case we handle from the moment you bring us on board. As skilled negotiators, we can often resolve cases favorably without the need for a trial. However, as experienced trial attorneys, we are always ready to take your case to trial in front of the judge or jury. We will fight for you with every legal tool possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 307-333-7884 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form, and reach out to you shortly.
The internet has popularized certain crimes that didn’t even exist 30 years ago. One of these crimes is cyberstalking, which is a form of stalking that takes place using modern communications technology. Although Wyoming has no formal cyberstalking laws, the state will charge people suspected of cyberstalking behavior under Wyoming stalking laws. Is Cyberstalking a Crime in Wyoming? Yes, cyberstalking is a crime in Wyoming, even without any specific cyberstalking laws. Stalking is criminalized by Wyoming Statutes Title 6. Crimes and Offenses § 6-2-506., and Wyoming treats cyberstalking as a form of stalking. Normally, cyberstalking is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $750 or a year in jail (or both) and probation for up to three years. Is cyberstalking a felony in Wyoming? Sometimes. It can be prosecuted as a felony if: It represents a second or further offense within five years of the most recent offense;The stalking conduct causes the victim serious bodily harm;The stalking conduct violated the terms of parole, probation, or bail; orThe stalking conduct was a violation of a restraining order or order of protection. If you are convicted of felony stalking in Wyoming, the court can sentence you to up to 10 years in prison. Examples of Cyberstalking Many different types of behavior can constitute cyberstalking. Wyoming has no specific texting harassment laws or cell phone stalking laws. Nevertheless, Wyoming law does prohibit stalking, which it defines, in pertinent part, as “[c]ommunicating. . .or causing a communication with another person by. . .electronic. . .or written means in a manner that harasses [someone].” Texting and Cell Phone Harassment The law defines harassment to include threats, lewd or obscene images, and vandalism. All of these things can be accomplished using a cell phone. And in case you were wondering, sending a malware link could constitute vandalism. A single act, however, is not enough to constitute stalking under Wyoming law. You must engage in a course of conduct that indicates a consistent purpose. What Is Cyberstalking on Facebook? Cyberstalking on social media sites such as Facebook could lead to social media harassment charges under Wyoming’s stalking statute. Examples of social media cyberstalking could include activities such as: Posting rude, offensive, or lewd comments on someone’s Facebook or Instagram account;Tagging someone in photos excessively, especially if the posts are unrelated to you;Commenting on or “liking” everything someone posts online;Creating fake accounts to bombard someone with messages, posts, etc. on social media, or to continue attempting to “friend” someone despite repeated rebuffs;Hacking into someone’s social media accounts to violate their privacy;Creating a fake Facebook profile to impersonate someone on Facebook for the purpose of embarrassing them, damaging their reputation, or “framing” them for a crime;Posting confidential information about someone online; orPosting real or fake photos of someone on your or their social media accounts. The foregoing represent possible offenses, not all of which have been prosecuted under Wyoming’s stalking law. Further Examples of Possible Cyberstalking Many different types of actions might constitute cyberstalking under Wyoming law, including the following: Texting, emailing. or calling someone with threatening or offensive content, even after they ask you to stop;Using communications technology to blackmail or attempt to blackmail someone;Sending unwanted online gifts to someone;Attempting to extort money, sex, or explicit photos from someone;Posting “revenge porn”;Sending someone sexually explicit photos of yourself;Installing tracking devices or keyboard tracking software to invade someone’s privacy and track their online activity; orHacking into someone’s laptop or smartphone camera and secretly recording them. The foregoing list is certainly not exhaustive. And there are likely forms of cyberstalking that no one has even invented yet, so it is likely to grow even more in the future. Defenses Against Cyberstalking Charges A number of defenses might be applicable to your case, depending on the specific facts. Some common defenses against cyberstalking charges include the following. Impersonation Someone hacked into your online accounts or otherwise impersonated you through electronic means. This is particularly easy to do with a cell phone. One form of software, for example, is downloadable, costs less than $50, and allows you to send text messages in the name of anyone whose phone number you know. Isolated Instance Your conduct, although perhaps objectionable, was not habitual or pervasive enough to constitute stalking. One incident of bad conduct would certainly not qualify as stalking, and it remains unclear exactly how pervasive an activity must be in order to constitute cyberstalking. Reasonable Behavior The alleged “cyberstalking” conduct would not cause a “reasonable person” to: Fear for their safety; Fear for the safety of others; Fear the destruction of their property; or Suffer emotional distress. Sending numerous online gifts, for example, has been identified as a form of stalking in some jurisdictions. Your lawyer might argue, however, that the gifts would not have offended a reasonable person, no matter how much they might have offended the actual recipient. Double Jeopardy You are already being prosecuted for the same conduct under another law (terroristic threatening, for example). Prosecuting you for two state law crimes based upon the same conduct might constitute unconstitutional “double jeopardy.” By contrast, it is often possible to prosecute a state charge and a federal charge for the same conduct without violating the double jeopardy prohibition. Not a Felony Wyoming can prosecute stalking as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on whether certain aggravating factors are present. Even if your lawyer cannot win you an acquittal, they might be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Suppose, for example, that you are charged with a felony because your stalking conviction is considered a second offense based on a previous conviction in another state. Your lawyer might argue that your charge should not be considered a second offense because your out-of-state conviction was not the equivalent of your present charge. Fight Back, Starting Today When Wyoming charges you with a crime, it’s you versus the full weight of the Wyoming criminal justice system. The system is competitive, brutal, and unforgiving. You are going…
If law enforcement catches you with a drug that’s considered a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), you should learn as soon as possible what criminal liability you could incur. Yes, possession of a CDS can be a felony in Wyoming, but not for every instance of possession. The specific details of your case matter. What Is a CDS Drug? Wyoming penalizes the possession of CDS drugs under Title 35 of the Wyoming Statutes Annotated beginning in Wyo. Stat. Ann. §35-7-1011. Title 35 regulates Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V of controlled substances. Criminal penalties are possible in many possession cases, but not all possession cases are subject to a felony charge. The potential for a felony charge depends on the nature of the CDS drug you’re carrying. Schedule I CDS A Schedule I CDS drug has two defining characteristics: There is a high potential that individuals will abuse the substance; andThe substance has no accepted use for medical treatment. Schedule I CDS drugs can take many forms including: Opiates, Opium derivatives,Hallucinogens,Depressants,Stimulants, and Certain substances subject to emergency scheduling. You can find a more detailed list of all the specific substances and chemical compounds that are under Schedule I by checking Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1014. Schedule II CDS If a drug has the following characteristics, Wyoming law classifies it as a Schedule II CDS drug: High potential for abuse;Currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States (including severely restricted medical use); andPotential for abuse to cause severe psychic or physical dependence. The categories of drugs that are Schedule II include: Opium (synthetic or natural);Opiates;Stimulants;Depressants;Immediate precursors to amphetamine, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine (PCP); andHallucinogens. For a more comprehensive list of Schedule II substances, look to Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1016. Schedule III CDS Wyoming law places a substance on the Schedule III list if it has: Abuse potential that is less than Schedules I and II;Currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States; andAbuse potential that may lead to high psychological dependence or low to moderate physical dependence. Schedule III substances can take many forms including: Stimulants,Depressants,Anabolic steroids, and Hallucinogens. A complete list of the substances under Schedule III is in Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1018. Schedule IV CDS Schedule IV drugs have three defining characteristics: Potential for abuse that is low in relation to Schedule III CDS drugs;Currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States; and Potential for abuse to cause limited physical or psychological dependence (in relation to Schedule III substances). Schedule IV drugs include: Narcotics,Depressants,Fenfluramine,Stimulants, and Other specific substances listed under Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1020(f). Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1020 lists all the substances that are Schedule IV substances. Schedule V CDS Wyoming law defines Schedule V drugs as substances that have: Low potential for abuse in relation to Schedule IV substances;Currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States; andLimited potential to cause physical or psychological dependence, relative to Schedule IV substances. Schedule V drugs include: Narcotics,Stimulants, andDepressants. You can find a more detailed list of Schedule V substances under Wyoming Statute Section 35-7-1022. What Is Possession of CDS? Possession of CDS is possession of substances on Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V. Depending on the type and weight of the substance you carry, you could be subject to heavier or lighter charges and penalties. With any CDS charges for possession, the weight of your substance does not include the packaging. However, it does include the weight of carrier elements, cutting agents, diluting agents, and any other substances. Misdemeanor Charges for Possession of CDS If you understand what qualifies as a misdemeanor charge for possession of CDS you will have a better understanding of what constitutes a felony. Possession subject to misdemeanor charges includes: Possession of three ounces of a controlled substance in plant form;Possession of 3/10 of a gram of LSD or a controlled substance in liquid form;Possession of three grams of a controlled substance in powder, crystalline, pill, or capsule form; orPossession of 5/10 of a gram of crack cocaine. A misdemeanor charge means that your jail sentence can be no longer than 12 months, and your fine cannot exceed $1,000. Felony Charges for Possession of CDS There are many circumstances that can subject you to a felony charge for possession of CDS, and there are different levels of penalties a felony conviction can yield. You could be subject to a felony charge and conviction if you possess: Methamphetamine or a narcotic on Schedule I or II in an amount greater than those subject to misdemeanor charges (seven-year maximum prison sentence, $15,000 maximum fine); A substance from Schedule I, II, or III in an amount greater than those subject to misdemeanor charges (five-year maximum prison sentence, $10,000 maximum fine); orA substance from Schedule II in an amount greater than those subject to misdemeanor charges (two-year maximum prison sentence, $2,500 maximum fine). Between Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V, there are over 200 separate substances and/or chemical compounds that the law lists and categorizes. If law enforcement caught you with a CDS, you should speak with an attorney immediately. You need an experienced professional to defend you against criminal penalties and to ensure that any charges filed against you do not exceed the categories provided for in the law. Speak with an Attorney to Defend Your Freedom The attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense are fierce defenders of your rights and do not want you to be bullied by the system. We are tenacious and strategic when we fight for you and we want to give your story a voice in court. Contact us online for an empowering advocate.
A primary section of laws intended to protect children are child pornography laws. In Wyoming, child pornography laws define the crime of child pornography, as well as the penalties for possession of child pornography. While this is a tough topic for all involved, it is important that those whom police charge with child pornography also understand the laws, their rights, and how child pornography charges may impact them. Wyoming Child Pornography Laws Wyoming Statutes Title 6, Crimes and Offenses §6-4-303, contains Wyoming child porn laws. These statutes give insight into key terms and offenses in this area. These statutes help us answer the question, What is child sexual exploitation? They also classify the act of possessing child pornography as a felony criminal offense. The law states in part that a person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a child if, for any purpose, they knowingly: Cause, coerce, or permit a child to engage in, or be used for, the making of child pornography or any explicit sexual conduct; orCreate, receive, distribute, reproduce, or possess any child pornography. The same Wyoming child pornography law defines child pornography. It states that child pornography means any explicit sexual conduct involving a child or an individual virtually indistinguishable from a child as a visual depiction including any: Photograph, Film, Video, Picture, or Computer or computer-generated image or picture. Any involvement in child pornography or child exploitation is a serious offense. As a result, the judicial system may impose severe consequences for those convicted of these crimes. Consequences of Violating Wyoming Child Pornography Laws When someone fears getting charged with a child pornography violation they understandably are concerned with the consequences if convicted. What are the penalties for possession of child pornography? The sexual exploitation of a child is a felony punishable in part by: Significant prison time;A fine of up to $10,000;Forfeiture of any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of such offense; andThe requirement to register as a sex offender. The above are only some of the basics of the legal ramifications. Our judicial system provides significant leeway for punishments in this regard. A judge may add additional consequences such as loss of child custody or limitations on the ability to visit with one’s own children. Offenders also face collateral consequences like the loss of employment, public and media scrutiny, and family upheaval and tension. What to Do if Accused of Violating Wyoming Child Pornography Laws Even the potential of being charged with possession of child pornography can be emotionally, socially, and financially taxing. But remember, you do not have to fight this fight alone. If the state charges you with such a crime, you have rights. Hiring seasoned criminal defense attorneys at a high-quality law firm can help to ensure that your rights are protected. Law Enforcement Must Have a Documentable Reason to Arrest In the United States, our laws protect individuals from being arrested based solely on the vague concern of police or a member of the public. Law enforcement must have clearly identified and supported reasons to arrest a person. Arrest Does Not Mean Guilt Even once the police arrest a person, it does not mean they are guilty. Remember, in America, citizens are innocent until proven guilty and there is a reason for that. The prosecution must be able to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt before exacting punishment on citizens. Those charged with a crime have the right to a vigorous defense and should take full advantage of this protection. Guilt Does Not Mean A Loss of Rights Even if a jury finds you guilty or you plead guilty to violating child pornography laws, you still retain certain rights. Your attorney can help make sure your rights are protected and that sentencing is fair. Therefore, one of the most important first steps to take after the state charges you with violating child pornography laws is hiring an attorney. Those accused often react with fear and embarrassment and as a result wait to seek legal help. That is a mistake. When the state charges you with such a serious crime, you need a well-established, reputable criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense: Your Best Defense At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense we work tirelessly to protect people that the state accuses of crimes. We fight for our clients every step of the way. We don’t judge or accuse. Instead, we mount a defense and stand with our clients to be sure they have the best representation possible. If you need a criminal defense attorney call us at 307-333-7884, or reach us anytime via our online form.
It’s challenging to be a responsible gun owner nowadays. You have to keep up with ever-changing laws, permitting, and state-by-state reciprocity rules. We know you do your best, and we want to help you abide by the law. Wyoming doesn’t have a statute that prohibits brandishing a weapon. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for where and how you display or use a firearm. If you’re facing a weapons charge in Natrona County, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Call Cowboy County Criminal Defense and invoke your Constitutional right to defend yourself. What Is Brandishing a Firearm? Traditionally, violating a brandishing law meant you displayed a weapon. The definition of brandishing means to wave or flourish something as a threat, or in your anger or excitement. Is Brandishing a Firearm Illegal in Wyoming? It depends on the circumstances. Wyoming doesn’t have a statute that specifically outlaws displaying a firearm or other weapon. You won’t see the word “brandishing” in any laws. In fact, open and concealed carry are legal in the state, so there are many situations in which you may have a firearm with you. However, the police can arrest you if you deliberately aim a gun at someone or display a firearm during other criminal conduct. The specific facts in your case dictate whether you are charged and for which crime. Aggravated assault and battery (WY Stat. §6-2-502): You can be charged with a felony if you intentionally cause or try to cause someone harm with a deadly weapon, or if you threaten to use a drawn deadly weapon. You face up to 10 years in prison.Reckless endangering (WY Stat. §6-2-504): You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you knowingly point a firearm at or in the direction of another person, whether or not you believe the gun’s loaded. You can be imprisoned for up to one year.Breach of peace (WY Stat. §6-6-102): If you disturb the peace of a community through unreasonable noise; threatening, abusive, or obscene language; or violent actions, you face a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of imprisonment and fines up to $750.Use of a firearm while committing a felony (WY Stat. §6-8-101): If you use a firearm while committing a felony, you face up to 10 years in prison in addition to the penalty for the felony offense. If this is your second or third time facing this charge, you can be imprisoned for an additional 20 years.Possession of firearm by person convicted of certain felonies (WY Stat. §6-8-102): If you’ve previously been convicted of a violent felony or a felony for interfering with a peace officer, then you can face another felony offense for knowingly using or possessing a firearm. This offense is punishable by up to three years in prison and fines up to $5,000.Possession of deadly weapon with unlawful intent (WY Stat. §6-8-103): You face a felony offense if you knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell a deadly weapon with the intent to unlawfully threaten the life or well-being of another person, or to assault or inflict injury. It’s punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $1,000. If the police arrest you for an assault or weapons crime, call defense attorney Jeremy Hugus right away. Is Brandishing a Firearm a Felony? Many Wyoming firearm offenses are felonies. When you’re facing a weapons charge, it’s best to reach out to an experienced defense attorney for help. Felony crimes can be punished with years in prison, probation, and stiff fines. You may also face a number of collateral consequences, like losing your right to own a firearm in the future. Can I Be Charged with Brandishing a Firearm for Open Carry? No, open carry is not the same as brandishing a weapon. Wyoming allows anyone 18 years or older to carry a firearm openly in public. As of July 1, 2021, it’s also legal to conceal carry a firearm in Wyoming without a permit if you’re 21 years or older and meet other eligibility requirements. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of the state. Charged with a Gun Crime? If a prosecutor has filed gun crime charges, you can and should fight back with the help of Casper criminal defense lawyer Jeremy Hugus. We have been serving our Wyoming community for years and have helped numerous clients achieve successful results in their criminal cases. Reach out to Cowboy Country Criminal Defense at 307-333-7884 or through our online form.
Unless you have some experience with getting arrested and going to jail, you might not understand the differences between bail vs. bond. If you or someone close to you is currently in jail, you might be scrambling to get answers. You might run internet searches asking, What is bail? Or you might search, How does bail work? If so, you will likely find a variety of confusing and potentially contradictory information, yet few concrete answers. To address these and other questions you might have, the criminal defense attorneys of Cowboy Country Criminal Defense have put together some basic information about how to make bail. We will also explore how to get someone out of jail in Wyoming. If you have questions about how bail works in Wyoming, contact our experienced team today to schedule a free consultation. What Is Bail? Upon arrest for a crime, the defendant appears before a judge. During this initial hearing, the court informs the defendant of the charges against them. The court also informs the defendant of the potential penalties that they could face upon conviction. The judge then sets the amount of money that the defendant must pay to get out of jail. The law refers to this amount of money as bail. You must pay this amount to the court before you can be released. The court holds your bail funds until such time as you resolve your case. Upon resolution, the court will release the money back to you, less any fines and court costs you owe. If you can get your hands on the amount of money you need, the process is simple. If you do not have the funds available, you can explore the possibility of getting a bail bond. What Is a Bail Bond? Now that we have explored the concept of bail, we can get to the most pressing question at hand. What is the difference between bail vs. bond? A bail bond, also known as an appearance bond, is a type of secured (surety) bond. This bond is essentially an insurance policy, assuring the court that the defendant will show up for their court date. To obtain a bail bond, you (or someone working on your behalf) must contact a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen are agents of federally registered surety companies. The bondsman, through the surety company, issues a bond to the court. This document ensures that the bondsman will post your full amount should you fail to appear in court. In exchange for providing this assurance to the court, the bondsman charges you a fee. The typical fee is 10% of your bail amount. For example, say the judge sets your bail at $10,000. In that case, you will likely have to pay the bail bondsman $1,000 in cash before they post your bond. This is a non-refundable fee. You might also have to pay some additional fees or costs for the bondsman’s services. Typically, the bondsman will ask that you have a cosigner for the bond. They may even ask the cosigner to pledge an asset like their house or car as collateral. If you fail to appear in court—known as skipping bail—the court will revoke your bail. The court will also issue a warrant for your arrest. If that happens, the cosigner must pay the full amount of your bail. Otherwise, they must forfeit any pledged assets. You can also rest assured that the bondsman or their bounty hunter will come looking for you. Bondsmen and bounty hunters have the authority to apprehend you and return you to jail. How Does Bail Work in Wyoming? In Wyoming, posting bail works as described above once a judge sets your bail amount. However, there are some specific facts that you should know. For example, the Wyoming bail statute states that unless the alleged crime potentially carries the death penalty, an arrested person may be admitted to bail. However, the amount of bail is at the judge’s discretion. Wyoming law states that the courts must grant an arrested person an appearance before a judge without unnecessary delay. The statute further states that if no judge is available at the time of arrest—and if the court has not established a bail schedule or has no authorized individual available to accept bail at that time—that person shall be released from custody upon receipt and acceptance of a written citation and promise to appear. This is known as a “citation release.” In other words, if no one can get a judge to set bail, they must release you. If they do not release you, you can contact a criminal defense lawyer to help get you out of jail. Talking to a lawyer also makes sense because you face criminal charges. How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help? If you have been arrested in Wyoming, having the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable. You likely have many questions and concerns on your mind, the first of which might be, How does posting bail work in Wyoming? A Wyoming criminal defense lawyer from Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can answer your questions and help you determine your next steps. We explain the charges you’re facing—as well as any potential penalties—and help you explore your options. Having a criminal conviction on your record can negatively affect every aspect of your life. You need someone who is willing and able to fight for you, your future, and your freedom. Call us at 307-333-7884, or contact us online to let us put our experience to work for you!
We have all seen it in movies. A mob boss is in court facing a criminal charge. The prosecuting attorney asks a witness or the defendant a question about the alleged crime. The only answer they receive in response is “I plead the Fifth.” The question is left unanswered. The accused has a smirk on their face as though they have just gotten one over on the prosecution. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney has a look of frustration on their face as their case has hit a snag. If you are facing a criminal charge and think of one of these movie scenes, you might find yourself wondering, What is pleading the Fifth? When can you not plead the Fifth? Or even, Is it wise to plead the Fifth? Despite its use as a trope in courtroom dramas, most people do not understand how pleading the Fifth works in criminal proceedings. We prepared this piece to answer those questions and shed some light on how pleading the Fifth works in practice. What Is Pleading the Fifth? “Pleading the Fifth” refers to a situation wherein someone invokes The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in legal proceedings. We could spend a great deal of time unpacking the text of the Fifth Amendment into its various components, but for our purposes, there is one key element. The Fifth Amendment protects those accused or suspected of committing criminal offenses from being “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” In other words, the Fifth Amendment gives accused persons “the right to remain silent.” Defendants plead the Fifth to avoid incriminating themselves in their own trials. Additionally, witnesses testifying in someone else’s criminal trial may plead the Fifth. People can also plead the Fifth in civil court, but our focus here is criminal law. When Can You Not Plead the Fifth? Knowing the answer to the question, When can you not plead the Fifth? is crucial if you are considering invoking the amendment. There are two classes of people who can plead the Fifth in a criminal trial. First, a witness who does not want to incriminate themselves by answering a specific question can plead the Fifth. For example, a witness might plead the Fifth if a prosecutor asks them about a drug deal that they were a part of. In answering the question, the witness might incriminate themselves for drug possession or distribution, so they avoid answering it entirely. A person who receives immunity or a pardon for a given criminal offense cannot invoke the right to remain silent concerning that offense. Defendants can also invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against themselves in a criminal trial. Unlike witnesses, defendants cannot plead the Fifth to avoid answering specific questions. If a defendant pleads the Fifth, they cannot testify in their trial at all. What Happens When You Plead the Fifth? Pleading the Fifth might seem like a get-out-of-jail-free card that you can use in court, but there are consequences of pleading the Fifth. Pleading the Fifth is much more complicated than just saying the words “I plead the Fifth” and having the question go away. You might have already thought of one issue with pleading the Fifth. You might think, If you plead the Fifth, do you not inadvertently criminalize yourself in doing so? Or, Does pleading the Fifth not signal that you are guilty of the crime in question, if not a separate crime? As with most questions in the legal field, the answer depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Sometimes pleading the Fifth is the most prudent legal move you can make. Other times, pleading the Fifth is unnecessary and may hurt your case. The best way to gauge the impact of pleading the Fifth is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. With their expert advice, you can balance the potential risks of pleading the Fifth against the potential rewards. Your Silence Cannot Be Used Against You One thing that readers should take away from this piece is that remaining silent cannot be used against you in court. You may think that pleading the Fifth inadvertently indicates guilt of a crime. After all, by pleading the Fifth, you all but admit guilt with respect to a crime. While this may be a reasonable assumption, it is unconstitutional for juries, judges, or prosecutors to use your silence against you as evidence of guilt. If prosecutors could infer guilt on the basis of silence alone, it would undermine the purpose of the Fifth Amendment. Do You Think You Might Need to Plead the Fifth? Whether you are facing a witness subpoena or a criminal charge, if you think you might need to plead the Fifth, don’t go through with it without consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Instead, get in touch with our knowledgeable team of criminal defense attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. At our firm, we believe in giving power to the people. Our founder, Jeremy Hugus, believes that everyone deserves a fair trial. If you are considering pleading the Fifth, don’t wait until the day before your court date. Call us today and tell us how we can help!
When you are arrested, it is obvious that the police are accusing you of committing a crime. There is no other way to look at the situation. Police only arrest someone when they suspect them of a commiting a crime. But what happens before you are arrested? If you are not arrested while committing a crime, how do the police know that a crime was committed? Police conduct investigations of specific crimes to identify suspected perpetrators, then make an arrest when they feel they have enough evidence to prove an accused person’s guilt. With this in mind, the next logical question is, can I find out if I’m under investigation? Sometimes you can find out if you are under investigation, but not always. There are certain signs of being under investigation you can look out for. If you can identify those signs, you will learn how to know if you are under investigation by the police. How to Find Out If You Are Under Criminal Investigation If the police arrest you, it is safe to assume that you are or were under a criminal investigation. But you don’t want to wait until that happens to take action. Recognizing the signs of being under criminal investigation can help you get ahead of the situation by seeking legal counsel and preparing for the possibility of an arrest and criminal charge. The Police Contact You First, if the police contact you to talk about an open criminal case, you might be under investigation. Police contact and interview persons of interest in their investigations. Not every person they contact is a suspect, but when investigations begin, typically every person that the police talk to is a potential suspect. If not a suspect, individuals that the police contact are at least persons of interest. Thus, if the police contact and interview you, it is a sign that you might be under criminal investigation. A Federal Agency Contacts You Your local police are not the only law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes crimes. Other law enforcement agencies exist, particularly in the federal government. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are just a few federal agencies that investigate and prosecute federal crimes. If an agent from one of these agencies contacts you for an interview, you might be under investigation for a federal crime. Pay Attention to the Questions Asked of You If the police contact you for an interview, the types of questions they ask can signal whether you are under investigation. For example, if the police contact you for an interview and mostly ask you questions about someone else, that person is probably under investigation, and you probably are not. On the other hand, if the police ask you more pointed questions, you might be under investigation yourself. Questions concerning things like your whereabouts on a given date or your relationship with someone who was the victim of a crime can indicate that you are under investigation for a given crime. Closely following the questions that law enforcement asks you in an interview will help you figure out whether you are being investigated. Grand Jury Indictment Receiving a grand jury indictment leaves no question as to whether you are under investigation for a crime. In many federal criminal cases, prosecutors must secure an indictment before formally filing charges. To secure an indictment, prosecutors present all the evidence they have in a given case to a grand jury. The grand jury weighs the evidence and decides whether it is substantial or compelling enough to warrant prosecution before accepting or rejecting the indictment. Sometimes law enforcement detains suspects before a grand jury decides on an indictment, but not always. Thus, if you are indicted, an arrest may come before or after the grand jury hearing. An indictment is a formal accusation of a criminal offense, so if you receive indictment papers, you are or were under criminal investigation. If You Think You are Under Criminal Investigation The best way to find out if you are under investigation is with the help of a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys have experience with prior police investigations, so they know how to identify things that indicate the existence of a criminal investigation. If you think you are under investigation for a crime, call Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we have helped countless clients identify ongoing police investigations. By identifying investigations before police file charges, we help our clients get ahead of criminal charges and prepare robust defenses to protect their freedom. Our mission is to protect your rights and put power back in your hands, so call us today for a consultation!
On April 5, 2021, Wyoming governor Mark Gordon signed HB 85 into law. The purpose of the bill, which is effective as of July 1, 2021, is to alter Wyoming porn laws to account for the recent rise of a phenomenon called revenge porn. The two houses of the legislature, which both overwhelmingly approved the bill, sought to update revenge porn laws in Wyoming that they felt did not effectively protect revenge porn victims. Revenge porn is a relatively recent phenomenon. It’s rise follows the rise and ubiquity of social media and smartphones. If you’re wondering, Is revenge porn illegal? You may be surprised to learn that before HB 48’s passage, Wyoming’s porn laws were silent on the issue. In fact, in 2019, Wyoming was one of only four states without a law on it. Anyone who faces a revenge porn conviction should understand the new set of rules. Aside from understanding the rules and consequences, you should immediately retain an experienced criminal defense attorney if someone accuses you of revenge porn. What Is Revenge Porn? To understand the law, it is important to understand the answer to the question, What is revenge porn? Revenge porn differs from legal pornography in a few ways. The new Wyoming revenge porn law states that the crime of revenge porn occurs when someone disseminates an image of another person with the intent to humiliate, harm, harass, threaten, or coerce them. The image must meet four additional qualifications for courts to consider it revenge porn: The person in the image is 18 years or older;The person in the image does not consent to the image’s dissemination;The person in the image is engaged in a sexual act or in a state of nudity; andThe person in the image can be identified from information attached to the image or from the image itself. If your actions meet all these qualifications, you risk conviction for the crime of revenge porn in Wyoming. Whether or not you believe the conditions are met, if someone files a criminal complaint that accuses you of revenge porn, it is essential that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. What Are the Consequences for a Revenge Porn Conviction in Wyoming? HB 48 ensures that revenge porn is taken seriously by Wyoming authorities. The potential consequences reflect the crime’s severity in the eyes of the law. HB 48 classifies revenge porn as a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to one year of imprisonment, or both. A previous version of the bill made second offenses a felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, but this language did not make it into the final version of the text. While the felony language is no longer part of the bill, the consequences for a conviction are still severe. Why It Is Critical to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible The foundation of our country’s criminal law system is that all people are innocent until proven guilty. To help ensure that we follow this principle, our legal system relies on the idea that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial. However, with that said, trials aren’t always fair. Miscarriages of justice happen every day. There are several things that can make a trial unfair. Illegal investigation tactics, inadequate public defense, and coercion are just a few. As someone facing a criminal charge, how do you ensure you are given a fair trial? The best way to ensure that your trial is as fair as possible is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense know how to counter unfair tactics both in and out of the courtroom. Contact Cowboy Country Criminal Defense Today Has someone accused you of revenge porn in Wyoming? If so, don’t wait to protect your freedom. Contact us at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. Wyoming native Jeremy Hugus started Cowboy Country Criminal Defense for one reason: to make life better for real people. That’s our firm’s primary goal. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will do everything in their power to protect your rights and preserve your freedom. We believe in bringing power to the people and that you are more than the crimes you are accused of. Let us prove your innocence and ensure that you get a fair trial. Don’t wait. Contact us today to discuss your case!