when does stealing become a felony

If you were charged with theft in Wyoming, you may be wondering, When does stealing become a felony? Theft charges and penalties in Wyoming vary depending on the facts of the case and the value of the stolen property. When stealing changes from a misdemeanor to a felony, the consequences can be significant. Whether you face a misdemeanor or a felony theft, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you get the best outcome for your case.  Theft Charge Laws in Wyoming In Wyoming, a person is guilty of theft if he or she knowingly takes the property of another person with the intent to deprive that person of the property. Note that the law states the theft must be done knowingly. This means that to be charged with theft in Wyoming you must have intended to steal the property in question.  The Difference Between a Misdemeanor Theft and Felony Theft Theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen property as well as the underlying facts of the case. For example, if the defendant used a firearm during the theft, then it may be charged as aggravated robbery or burglary. Both charges carry harsher potential penalties than misdemeanor or felony theft.  Misdemeanor Theft Laws in Wyoming If the stolen property is worth less than $1,000, the theft will be charged as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor theft is punishable by a fine of up to $750, up to 6 months in jail, or both. Examples of theft charged as misdemeanors in Wyoming include: Auto theft;Defrauding an innkeeper;Obtaining property by false pretenses;Unlawful use of theft detection shielding device; Breaking into a coin machine;Taking possession of land; andTelecommunications fraud. Although these crimes commonly result in misdemeanor charges, they can be charged as felonies if the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000.  Felony Theft Laws in Wyoming  If the stolen property is worth $1,000 or more, the theft will be charged as a felony. Felony theft is also sometimes known as grand theft. A felony theft is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to 10 years in jail, or both.  Other theft crimes that are charged as felonies in Wyoming include: Auto theft (may depend on the value of the stolen car);Carjacking;Robbery;Burglary;Possession of tools to commit burglary; and Cattle or livestock theft.  Penalties for the above offenses include up to 10 years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.  Contact a Defense Attorney Today  Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is a team of passionate Casper-based criminal defense attorneys. We represent defendants across Wyoming in all kinds of criminal cases. Contact us today online or by calling 307-333-7884. We will work with you to develop your case, step by step and fight for the best outcome. 

defrauding an innkeeper

You might be asking, what does defrauding an innkeeper mean? Defrauding an innkeeper is a legal term that covers a number of different thefts, largely the use or enjoyment of different types of services without paying for them. Defrauding an innkeeper, also known as “dine and dash,” is a punishable offense in Wyoming.  Wyoming Laws Related to Defrauding an Innkeeper  What is defrauding an innkeeper in WY? Wyoming Statute 6-3-406 prohibits taking, ingesting, or using products or services from a business without paying. Examples of defrauding an innkeeper include: Eating at a restaurant without paying;Staying at a hotel without paying; andGetting gas at a gas station without paying. Defrauding an innkeeper in Wyoming can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of services used. Defrauding an innkeeper is a specific intent crime. This means that a person charged with defrauding the innkeeper must have had the intent to defraud at the time the theft occurred.  Penalties The penalties for defrauding an innkeeper depend on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. Defrauding an innkeeper is a misdemeanor if the value of stolen services is less than $1,000. If the value of stolen services is $1,000 or more, defrauding an innkeeper is a felony offense in Wyoming. A misdemeanor conviction carries a potential fine of up to $750, up to 6 months in jail, or both. A felony conviction carries a potential fine of up to $10,000, up to 10 years in jail, or both.  Defenses The best defense to a charge of defrauding an innkeeper is lack of intent to defraud. If you didn’t pay for your meal or your hotel room because of a miscommunication or because you forgot, were distracted, or you thought someone else paid, you may be able to argue the defense of lack of intent or honest mistake.  How a Defense Attorney Can Help  If you’ve been charged with defrauding an innkeeper in Wyoming, you should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Wyoming criminal defense attorney will be able to answer questions like, What is defrauding an innkeeper? in non-legal terms and help you understand the possible charges and penalties you face. An experienced attorney will work with you to develop a case strategy that reflects your best interests. An attorney will represent you in court and negotiate with prosecutors to seek the best outcome for your case and for your future.  Contact Us Today  Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is a Casper-based law firm that represents defendants across the state of Wyoming. We will work with you to develop your case, and we will negotiate with prosecutors to protect your rights and promote your best interests. Contact us today online or by calling 307-333-7884 and let us represent you.

Will My Text Messages and Social Media Posts Be Admissible in Court

Are text messages admissible in court? If you are in a case where your texts might be relevant, you may be wondering if they are admissible. Whether your text messages could help you or hurt, you’ll want to know how the court will treat them. If you have been recently charged and need to know if your text messages will be used in court reach out to a criminal defense attorney to get more details. The truth is, text messages are a new area for the law to consider. So is social media. “I felt helpless and hopeless…” When I reached out to Jeremy, I felt helpless and hopeless. Jeremy gave me my voice back. I tried to take care of legal issues on my own but my situation only got worse. Hiring Jeremy was the best choice. He was professional, honest and made me proud to have him on my side. – Carrie G. The rules on evidence have been around for many years. Fast, ubiquitous, and electronic forms of communication didn’t exist before, so courts are trying to apply old rules to new mediums. Texting and social media are very new ways to communicate in general. But, they are especially new for courts deciding whether or not they can be admissible as evidence. The problem becomes when text messages have a particular value or can provide insight into a case. Since many of us don’t chat on the phone anymore, text messages often provide the bulk of communication between parties. Social media posts can also give a lot of insight into someone’s thoughts or actions. They can even log where an individual was at a specific time. If you are in the middle of a criminal case, it can be very stressful to wonder, “Are text messages admissible in court?” Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the admissibility of text messages and social media posts. So, how do courts handle these new communication forms? The answer, like many answers in the law, is “it depends.” What is admissible evidence? Before discussing text messages and social media specifically, we must consider the definition of admissible evidence. Admissible evidence is anything relevant to a case that would make a material fact more or less probable. If evidence is not relevant, the court will not allow it. Admissible evidence can include the following: Witness testimonyPhotographsRecordingsWritten documents or statementsPhysical or digital objectsScientific or medical resultsCharts or displays for the jury Even relevant evidence may be subject to exclusion if it is unreliable or could confuse or mislead jurors. It could also be subject to exclusion if it would unfairly prejudice the jurors against the defendant. Relevant evidence may also be inadmissible if it is hearsay. What is hearsay? Hearsay is a hurdle that the parties need to cross to admit statements that weren’t made in court. The definition of hearsay is a statement not made in court offered as evidence to prove its veracity or truth. For example, imagine you sent a text message to a friend that said, “Bob vandalized Jane’s car.” If Jane’s attorney tried to admit your text as evidence that Bob did it, this would be hearsay. The general rule on hearsay is that it is inadmissible. However, there are many exceptions to hearsay which would allow certain statements into evidence. Are text messages hearsay? Given the hearsay rule, are text messages hearsay? Yes, under the definition of the term, text messages and social media posts are hearsay. They are statements made outside of court, which are generally introduced to prove the truth of the text or post. However, courts have largely allowed texts and social media posts under various exceptions to the hearsay rule. Sometimes, a court will allow them to show a fact other than the content of the message. For example, they may show that the parties had a close relationship. If you are wondering if your texts or posts are admissible, it’s better to prepare yourself: they likely will be. What else does the court consider admissible evidence? For evidence to be admissible, the party introducing it needs to authenticate it. Authentication is the process of proving that something is what the party claims it to be. For texts and social media, authentication would mean showing that the text or post was actually a text or post from the party who supposedly sent it or posted it. For online communications, authentication can happen by showing that online communication came from a phone number or account associated with the person who purportedly sent or posted it. Depending on the court, this may not be an acceptable method of authentication for online communications. After all, other people can access online accounts and cell phones that they do not own. The court may require additional information for authentication. Can text messages be used in criminal court? In Wyoming, the criminal court will generally allow text messages and social media posts. Wyoming has a rule which allows the prosecutor to bring in a text or post by the defendant. (Wyoming Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)). They will still need to be authenticated, but if a prosecutor wants to introduce them against the defendant, they can. If a defendant wanted to bring in a text message or social media post that they sent or posted themselves, they would need to get around the hearsay rule. So, are text messages admissible in court? Generally, you should anticipate your texts and social media posts being admissible in court. Although they will need to meet evidentiary standards and get around evidentiary exclusions, courts in Wyoming are likely to allow them in. No matter what, when sending electronic messages or posting things online, consider that everything you say may come back to you in the future. If you are in a criminal case and have concerns about text messages or social media posts you may have sent, contact the team at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. We can help guide you…

When you’ve been convicted of a crime, the sentencing judge generally has a few options to choose from. In addition to prison time, the judge may consider a probationary sentence. Probation is a form of in-community supervision that allows the defendant to remain at home while following a set of what can be fairly restrictive terms and conditions.  If you have been charged with violating your probation in Wyoming, you likely have a lot of questions about what you can expect in the coming weeks and months. It is important to understand the consequences you may be facing as a result of violating probation. Your best bet is to consult an attorney to develop a strong strategy for your case.  What Happens When You Break Probation? If you have violated the terms of your probation, your probation officer will likely file a complaint against you. You will then receive a summons to appear in court. If the judge or hearing officer determines that it is more likely than not that you violated probation, the judge will then impose consequences for the violation. As a consequence of violating probation, you may be sent to jail or be required to complete community service or undergo additional conditions of probation. The court may even revoke your probation altogether and impose your original sentence, which could include prison time. How Long Do You Have to Sit in Jail for a Probation Violation? The length of time you will be required to remain in jail following a probation violation depends on the facts of your case. It is possible that the judge will reimpose the same prison sentence you would have received if you hadn’t been sentenced to probation instead. Alternatively, the judge may order you to spend up to 30 days in jail or 60 days in a community correctional program. Will You Go to Jail for Your First Probation Violation? If this is the first time you have violated the conditions of your probation, don’t panic. If you haven’t already, contact your probation officer. You may be able to avoid having to go to court to address the violation. It is unlikely that you will serve jail time for a first violation, though the outcome depends on the specific circumstances of your case. It is more likely that you will be reminded of the terms and conditions with which you agreed to comply and be given a grace period during which you can demonstrate your ability to do so.  How Do You Beat a Probation Violation? Your best chance at beating a probation violation is to comply with the terms and conditions of your probation. Though these terms can be expensive and time-consuming continued compliance with probation is the best way to avoid spending time in jail. If you do violate your probation, you should contact your probation officer immediately. A probation officer is more likely to be lenient in their recommendations to the judge if they feel you have tried to comply and have been communicative in the process. If you receive a summons for a probation revocation hearing, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help determine the best strategy for avoiding additional jail time.  If you are set for a probation revocation hearing, be sure to appear in court on time and prepare a statement for the judge recounting your attempts and successes on probation. A judge is a person, after all, and maybe more lenient if you can show that you have good intentions.  Hire an Experienced Wyoming Probation Violation Attorney If you are facing the consequences of a probation violation, you need the help of an attorney. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is a Casper-based law firm that has defended clients across Wyoming. We defend individuals in court for all manner of criminal cases. We will meet with you to discuss the facts of your probation violation, and help you get the best outcome for your case. Contact us today so we can get to work protecting your rights.

If you violated the terms of your probation, you are probably facing serious consequences. Probation revocation hearings can be complicated. It is important to understand the process to help ensure you get the best outcome for your case. What Is a Probation Revocation? If you were charged with violating the conditions of your probation, you probably received a summons to appear for a probation revocation hearing. At a probation revocation hearing, a court will determine whether you have violated the terms of your probationary sentence and whether your probation should be revoked.  The terms of probation differ depending on the facts of each case. However, most jurisdictions use certain standard terms and conditions. Common probationary terms require you to: Report to the probation department immediately following sentencing;Report to and and communicate with probation officers on a regular basis;Maintain full time employment;Refrain from owning firearms;Submit to regular testing for drug and/or alcohol use;Refrain from incurring new law violations; andConsent to random searches of your car, residence, and personal belongings.  Failure to comply with these terms and conditions will likely result in the probation department filing a complaint against you. The complaint then triggers the process of probation revocation.  What Is the Process of Probation Revocation? In Wyoming, your probation officer may take you into custody until your hearing or for a reasonable period of time prior to the hearing.  In a probation revocation hearing, a judge, hearing officer, or other person empowered to hear the case will decide whether you violated the terms of your probation. The judge will use a preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard considers whether based on the evidence presented, there is a greater than 50% chance that you violated your probationary terms. Like other hearings in criminal court, you have the right to present evidence, including witnesses, and to cross-examine the witnesses testifying against you.  If the judge finds that you have violated the terms of your probation, they will make a finding on the record reflecting the violation. They will then determine the appropriate consequences. If the judge determines you have violated probation, it does not automatically mean that your probation has been revoked. In Wyoming, the judge may take you into custody for a probation violation. Alternatively, he or she could order you to complete community service or impose additional terms and conditions of probation.  What Happens If Your Probation Is Revoked If the court revokes your probation, it will sentence you as it would have if it had not originally sentenced you to probation. This means that the judge can again consider the sentencing options available to him or her during your original sentencing hearing. Additionally, if the court revokes your probation due to a new law violation, the State may charge you with a new crime. This will result in new or additional sentencing exposure for you.  How a Probation Defense Attorney Can Help  Probation revocation proceedings have serious consequences, including time in prison. For this reason, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced probation revocation hearing attorney in Wyoming. An attorney will be well versed in the requirements of a probation revocation hearing and will ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney will also be able to prepare you for your hearing and examine your witnesses and the witnesses against you.  Based in Casper, the attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense are committed to defending individuals across Wyoming. We are strategic, pragmatic, and focused attorneys. We will represent you in court and negotiate with the Government to help you get the best outcome for your case. Contact us today so we can help you protect your rights.

wyoming marijuana laws

Like many states, Wyoming has strict penalties for possessing and distributing marijuana. Wyoming marijuana laws also apply to other forms of marijuana such as hash and concentrate. Unlike other states, Wyoming marijuana laws prohibit the exception for medical marijuana.   Additionally, the state can charge you with DUI for driving while under the influence of marijuana. This charge carries the same penalties as driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you face a marijuana-related charge in Wyoming, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer today. Possession There are four types of marijuana possession crimes in Wyoming.  Under the Influence Being under the influence of marijuana at any time is a misdemeanor in Wyoming. This charge results in a jail sentence of up to six months, a fine up to $750, or both. Possession of Less Than Three Ounces Possession of less than three ounces of marijuana is also a misdemeanor. It carries with it a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both. Possession of More Than Three Ounces However, possession of more than three ounces of marijuana is a felony. This charge results in a penalty of up to five years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. Possession Within 500 Feet of a School Additionally, if you possess marijuana within 500 feet of a school, your fine increases by $500. This rule applies to all forms of marijuana possession crimes. Distribution In Wyoming, the sale or distribution of any amount of marijuana is a felony. Selling or distributing marijuana carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine up to $10,000, or both. Paraphernalia Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is usually a separate charge from possession or distribution. Examples of paraphernalia include: Pipes, Scales, Papers, andMarijuana residue. In Wyoming, possession of marijuana paraphernalia carries a penalty of up to six months in jail, up to a $750 fine, or both. Other Forms of Marijuana Other common forms of marijuana include concentrate and hash. These forms of marijuana can be mixed into foods and drinks or consumed through a vaporizer or e-cigarette. In Wyoming, the penalties for possession of marijuana concentrate and hash depend on the amount of marijuana in the food, drink, vaporizer, or e-cigarette. Possession of .3 grams or less is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both. Possession of more than .3 grams is a felony with a punishment of up to five years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You? A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand Wyoming marijuana laws and how they apply to you. Additionally, a lawyer can defend you in court if the state charges you with a marijuana offense. If you’ve been charged with violating marijuana laws in Wyoming, Jeremy Hugus at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can fight for your freedom. Jeremy believes in his clients from the start and will keep you informed throughout the entire criminal justice process. Contact Jeremy today to schedule your consultation.

wyoming-stalking-laws

Relationships can be complicated, and sometimes they don’t always end well. Sometimes relationships involve stalking charges and accusations. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this difficult time and protect your legal interests and rights.  What Is Stalking? Under Wyoming law, a person may face stalking charges if that person intends to harass someone else and behaves in a way that is reasonably likely to cause harassment. Harassment occurs when a person: Feels emotional distress,Fears for their safety or someone else’s safety, orFears for the safety of their property. Types of harassing behavior include: Communicating in a harassing manner through verbal, electronic, or other means;Following someone; orWatching someone at their work, school, or home. Behavior that qualifies as stalking is not always obvious. Sometimes someone accused of stalking does not realize that their behavior is illegal or otherwise inappropriate.  If someone accused you of stalking, you should speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can help explain your charges and try to protect you from serious legal consequences.  What Evidence Is Needed for a Stalking Charge? To prove a stalking charge, the prosecution must show that a person intended to harass someone else and behaved in a way that was reasonably likely to cause the other person to feel harassed. Often, proving stalking charges requires evidence showing a pattern of harassing behavior. For example, if someone follows another person to and from work, regularly passes by their house, or repeatedly tries to contact them, this behavior may be sufficient to prove a stalking charge. The prosecution must also show that the alleged stalking behavior would cause a reasonable person fear or emotional distress under the circumstances. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands the requirements of proof and can identify ways to defeat a stalking charge. Restraining Orders in the State of Wyoming When someone accuses another of stalking, a court may issue a restraining order to protect a victim. Restraining orders prevent a person from contacting or approaching a victim. In addition to requiring someone to maintain a physical distance from a victim, the restraining order may prevent a person from visiting certain locations, such as: The victim’s home,The victim’s place of work, orThe victim’s school. Normally, restraining orders in Wyoming last about three months. But depending on the circumstances, a court may extend the length of the restraining order. If a person violates a restraining order, they may face penalties such as: Up to six months in jail,Fines of up to $750, orA combination of fines and jail time. An attorney can help explain the terms of a restraining order and help you avoid further criminal sanctions.  Contact a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney Today Stalking charges and restraining orders can be painful and difficult to handle on your own. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we fight diligently to protect our clients’ interests. Our attorney Jeremy Hugus has extensive experience fighting to deliver the best results for his clients. Our experienced staff will answer your questions and support you every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our office at 307-333-7884 or fill out an online form today. 

Wyoming DUI Laws

Driving under the influence is a very serious offense in Wyoming and can have substantial penalties. Even though this is still a frontier, the state has cracked down on drunk driving, so anyone picked up after drinking can expect to face some stiff penalties. Wyoming DUI laws also apply to those who drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Wyoming DUI laws can have long-lasting consequences. Hiring a Casper DUI defense attorney to advocate for you can be beneficial to the success of your case. Related: How Long Does a DUI remain on Your Record? If you have been arrested, you should be aware of the punishments and penalties of a DUI in Wyoming. A DUI can stay on your driving record for 10 years, and the penalties will continue to increase if you are picked up for a second or third DUI. Reach out to an experienced Wyoming DUI attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense. Wyoming DUI/DWI Laws The Wyoming DUI law can be found at WY Stat. § 31-5-233. Wyoming law defines DUI as driving or having “actual physical control” of a vehicle when: The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher; orThe driver is incapable of operating the vehicle safely and is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. As you can see, you can still face DUI charges with a BAC under 0.08% or even if your BAC is unknown, so long as you were not capable of operating the vehicle safely. Therefore, it is important to contact a Wyoming DUI attorney if you face DUI charges. Hiring an attorney provides you with the best opportunity to reduce or eliminate your DUI charges. Overview of DUI/DWI Penalties under Wyoming Laws Under Wyoming DUI laws, the severity of your punishment for a DUI offense depends on a number of factors. These factors include: The number of prior DUI convictions you have,The time frame within which you’ve received DUI convictions,The amount of alcohol in your blood,Whether someone was hurt as a result of your intoxicated driving, andWhether you were driving while intoxicated with a child under 16 in the vehicle. However, the most important factor under Wyoming DUI laws is the number of prior DUI convictions you might have. A Wyoming DUI lawyer can help you understand whether your punishment is excessive and fight to lower your punishment to an appropriate level. First DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming A first DUI offense in Wyoming carries the least severe punishment. For a first-time Wyoming DUI conviction, the punishments you can face include: Up to six months in jail,Up to a $750 fine, andSuspension of your license for 90 days. In addition, a court may order you to receive a substance abuse assessment and complete a first offender DUI class. If your BAC was greater than 0.15%, the State of Wyoming can require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle for a period of six months. If you face charges for a first DUI offense, speak with a Wyoming DUI lawyer as soon as possible.  Second DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming If you face a second Wyoming DUI conviction within 10 years of your first conviction, the punishments you can receive include: Seven days to six months in jail,A $250 to $750 fine,The suspension of your license for up to one year, andThe installation of an IID on your vehicle for a period of one year. The State of Wyoming may also require you to receive a substance abuse assessment and complete a state-approved substance abuse program after a second DUI conviction. A Wyoming DUI attorney can help you potentially reduce your penalties for a second DUI offense. Third DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming The penalties for a third DUI conviction within 10 years of your first are severe. Specifically, the punishments for a third Wyoming DUI conviction include: Between one and six months in jail,A fine of at least $750 to $3,000,The suspension of your license for up to three years, andThe installation of an IID on your vehicle for a period of two years. A court may also order you to complete a state-approved substance abuse treatment program after a third DUI conviction. Due to the severity of a third DUI conviction in 10 years, it is essential that you speak with a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Fourth DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming The punishments for a fourth or more DUI conviction within 10 years are extremely harsh. The State of Wyoming considers a fourth DUI conviction a felony, and as a result, it carries much stricter penalties. These penalties include: Up to two years in prison,Up to a $10,000 fine,The suspension of your license, andThe installation of an IID for the remainder of your life. The duration of your license suspension will vary depending on the facts of your case. The State of Wyoming will also require you to receive a substance abuse assessment and complete a state-approved substance abuse treatment program. No matter how many prior DUI convictions you may have, speaking with a DUI attorney gives you the best chance of potentially reducing or eliminating your DUI charges.  Aggravating Factors Like other states, Wyoming DUI Laws increase the punishment where certain aggravating factors are involved. In Wyoming, these aggravating factors include: Whether your BAC was very high (0.15% or higher),Whether you hurt someone in an accident while driving under the influence, and Whether you had someone under age 16 in the car with you. Any of the above is an aggravating factor that will increase the penalties you suffer. If you believe any of these aggravating factors apply to your case, you should speak with a Wyoming DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Probation In addition to the punishments discussed above, a court may sentence you to probation for a DUI conviction. Probation can be sentenced instead of or in addition to jail time, fines, and other penalties. In Wyoming DUI cases, probation usually…

Wyoming Sex Offender Registry Laws

Under Wyoming law, if a person commits certain sexual offenses, they must register on Wyoming’s sexual offender registry. The sex offender registry is a public database that contains a list of all sex offenders residing in Wyoming required to register with the state. If you are convicted of a sexual offense or have questions about sex offender registration, you should contact a qualified attorney right away.  Who Must Register for Wyoming’s Sex Offender Registry? Under Wyoming Statute 7-19-302, any sex offender residing, attending school, or working in Wyoming must register with the Sheriff in the county where they reside. Registerable sexual offenses include any of the offenses listed in the statute, such as: Sexual abuse of a minor,Possession of child pornography,Taking obscene photos or videos of a child,Sexual assault of a minor,Soliciting sexual relations with a minor, andSexual exploitation of a minor. Sex offenders must also register for certain federal offenses or sexual offenses in other states that are similar to those under Wyoming law.  What Does Registration Look Like? If someone is convicted of one of the registerable sexual offenses, they must immediately register with the Sheriff’s department in the county where they reside. Individuals arrested and confined for a sexual offense in Wyoming after July 1, 1999, and sentenced after January 1, 1985, must register before release from custody. If the person is arrested but not required to serve any jail time, they must register immediately after sentencing. If a person convicted of a registerable offense enters Wyoming, the offender must register with the county within three days of arrival in the state. To register, the offender must be: Photographed,Fingerprinted, andPalmprinted. The offender must also provide the following information to the Sheriff’s office: Name,Address,Date and place of birth,Social security number,Place and physical address of employment,Date and place of conviction,Crime for which they were convicted,The name and address of any school they are attending,License plate number and a description of the vehicle,A DNA sample,The age of each victim,Email address, andPhone numbers. If the offender changes their address, they must notify the law enforcement agency in the new county within three days of moving. In addition, the offender must notify law enforcement if they plan to leave the country, and they must provide a travel itinerary.  What Does It Mean to Be Registered? If someone registers on Wyoming’s sex offender registry, any member of the public can access their registered information, including the offender’s: Name,Physical address,Date and place of birth,Crime for which he was convicted,Photograph,Physical characteristics,Employer’s address, andSchool address. For certain offenses, the law enforcement agency must provide notice of the registration to any neighbors who live within at least 750 feet of the offender’s residence. Schools, religious organizations, and youth groups within 750 feet must also receive notice.  What Happens If Someone Doesn’t Register? Failing to register as a Wyoming sex offender carries serious penalties, including large fines and jail time. A person who knowingly fails to register as a sex offender faces punishment, including: Fines of up to $1,000 andUp to five years in prison. A second offense includes: Fines up to $1,000 andUp to ten years in prison. Failing to pay required fees is also punishable as a misdemeanor with penalties including a $750 fine and up to six months in county jail.  How Can I Get Off the Sex Offender Registry? If someone is convicted of a registerable sex offense, normally, the offender must register on Wyoming’s sex offender registry for the rest of their life. However, under some circumstances, Wyoming law allows registered sex offenders to petition the court to remove their name from the sex offender registry. For less serious sexual offenses, such as third-degree sexual abuse of a minor or possession of child pornography, an offender could remove their name from the registry if the offender: Has been registered for at least ten years, and Has maintained a clean record by avoiding arrest and completing all required probation and parole. For more serious sexual offenses, such as sexual assault or first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, the offender can request to remove their name if the offender: Has been registered for at least 25 years andHas maintained a clean record for all 25 years. The court will review the facts and decide whether to grant the sex offender’s petition.  How an Attorney Can Help If you qualify to remove your name from the sex offender registry, you must go through a complicated petition process with the court. Before you can file a petition, you must: Serve the petition to the court and the prosecuting attorney,Prove your registration for the required time period,Prove your clean record, andDefend your petition if the prosecutor files a response. If the prosecutor files a response, the judge will hold a hearing to decide your case. These hearings require specialized knowledge of the law and familiarity with legal theory and argument. If you lack legal experience, this can be a daunting and stressful experience. A qualified Wyoming defense attorney can help alleviate that stress and increase the likelihood that the judge will approve your petition. Contact a Qualified Wyoming Criminal Defense Attorney Today The attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense fight aggressively for our client’s interests. We understand how painful and harmful sex offender registration can be. We will provide you strong legal representation and work to protect your interests. Our experienced staff will answer your questions and guide you every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our offices at 307-333-7884 or fill out an online form today. 

How to Find Out If You Have a Wyoming Warrant

Courts can issue arrest warrants for a variety of reasons, and law enforcement can make an arrest at any time.  If you think you have a warrant, you should contact an experienced Wyoming attorney to help you perform a thorough search.  If you discover an outstanding warrant, your attorney will help you navigate the legal process and advise you of your best options.  What Is a Warrant? A warrant is a court order issued by a judge that grants law enforcement authority to search or seize the person or property listed on the warrant. Once a judge issues a warrant, the clerk uploads the information to the county or state’s law enforcement database. This information is accessible by all law enforcement statewide. Any law enforcement officer may execute an active warrant in any part of the state. Depending on the severity of the crime, even law enforcement agencies in other states or federal officers may execute the warrant. For example, if an officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, the officer will typically perform a background check. If the background check reveals an outstanding warrant, the officer may immediately place you under arrest. Types of Warrants in Wyoming Wyoming has different kinds of warrants depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of action the court needs law enforcement to perform. All arrest warrants grant law enforcement the authority to place the person listed on the warrant in custody. Search warrants allow law enforcement to enter and search specified property. Arrest Warrants When a prosecutor or law enforcement seeks a warrant for a person’s arrest, they will file a complaint with the court. A judge reviews the complaint, and if the judge determines it necessary, he or she will issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. The judge will need to determine that probable cause exists to issue a warrant for a person’s arrest in connection with a suspected crime. Once the judge issues the warrant, law enforcement will search for and place the individual in custody. Bench Warrants When an individual violates a court order, the judge will often issue bench arrest warrants. Judges commonly issue bench warrants for the following offenses: Violating the terms of bail,Failing or refusing to appear for a court date, orFailing to pay fines or perform other court-ordered actions for a previous offense. If you forgot about a court date or a fine you were required to pay, you might not know that a court issued a bench warrant for your arrest. It is important to determine if you have any outstanding warrants so you are not caught off guard and you can pursue the best legal options. Search Warrants Courts issue search warrants to grant law enforcement authority to enter and search a specified property or location. The warrant will specify its purpose, either to search the property for information or evidence or to search for an individual wanted for arrest. Officers may perform search warrants and any other warrant on any day and at any time. How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant There are several ways to search for a warrant in Wyoming. However, finding if you have a warrant depends on where the warrant was issued and the law enforcement agency that issued the warrant. Each Wyoming County has its own database. State and federal agencies also have their own databases. If you are unsure where your warrant was issued, you may need to search each database separately. An experienced attorney can help you perform a thorough search and provide you guidance and legal advice if you have an outstanding warrant. Search Through a Government Agency Searching online is the most convenient way to find out if you have any outstanding warrants. You can either search government warrant databases or use a third-party search engine. Some government websites offer free warrant searches, but third-party websites will often charge fees for searches. If you think you know where your warrant was issued, you can visit that local government’s website and search their online database. For example, if your warrant was issued in Natrona County, Wyoming, you can visit the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office website. The website offers a free warrant search database. You can search the database for any active warrants associated with a particular name. Similarly, if you think you have a warrant issued in Casper, you can visit the Casper, Wyoming government website and search its warrant database. You can also call the law enforcement agency directly and ask if you have any outstanding warrants. However, law enforcement may attempt to question you over the phone. If you choose to call the law enforcement agency and speak with an officer, it may be best to contact an attorney first. Your attorney can help protect your interests and prevent you from providing damaging information to the officer. Search Through a Third Party You can also search online through third-party websites. These websites will perform comprehensive searches in multiple law enforcement databases. However, these third-party websites usually require a fee for each search. Alternatively, you can contact a local bail bondsman. He or she may have access to the county database containing active arrest warrants. Should I Hire an Attorney? While you can search for warrants yourself, you may miss something. Experienced Wyoming attorneys have experience with the judicial system and understand how courts issue warrants. Lawyers may also have access to databases not available to the general public. Your attorney can use their access and experience to perform a comprehensive search covering all available databases. In addition, hiring an attorney is important if you discover you have an outstanding warrant. Your attorney can assess the warrant and determine your best options. An arrest may not even be required. Your attorney can arrange for alternative procedures instead of arrest. If the arrest is necessary, your attorney can negotiate the terms of your surrender and help you reduce your bail amount. In some cases, your attorney may…