Wyoming Self-Defense Laws

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

Child Abuse in Wyoming Laws and Penalties

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

wyoming-expungement-lawyers

A felony record is very serious.  It can cause long-term consequences that can affect other parts of your life. For example, a felony conviction may limit your employment opportunities or prevent you from securing housing. Fortunately, Wyoming has enacted laws that allow you to expunge or remove your felony record in certain circumstances. Getting your record expunged will open up new opportunities and provide you peace of mind and a better future moving forward. Speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney who will help you understand your legal options.  What Does “Expunge” Mean? Expungement is a court proceeding where a criminal record is destroyed or sealed from the state record. When a record is “expunged” it means that the court treats the criminal record as if it never existed. If a court expunges your felony record, you do not have to report it on certain job applications or when you apply for housing.  It is important to remember, however, that when a court expunges a record, this process removes it only from public records. Expunging a record makes it unavailable to employers, and it will no longer appear on a criminal background check for housing applications. But expunging a record does not completely erase the conviction. Expunged criminal convictions may still be available in certain circumstances, such as criminal background checks by law enforcement agencies. Wyoming Expungement Wyoming law describes the requirements to expunge a felony from your record. Wyoming Statute § 7-13-1401 allows you to request expungement of a felony arrest record by filing a petition with the court. All felony arrest records are eligible for expungement and are less difficult to expunge than a felony conviction.  Wyoming also allows courts to expunge felony convictions. However, certain felony convictions are not eligible for expungement, including: Violent felonies such as murder, manslaughter, and first or second-degree sexual assault;Aggravated vehicular homicide;Providing drugs to a minor that results in death;Sexual assault;Child abuse; andAssault on a police officer. It is important to remember that in Wyoming, even if a court expunges your felony record, you must still disclose your felony record for specific applications, including: Public employment applications,Professional licenses, andGun permit applications. Additionally, although your felony record will not be available for most routine background checks, law enforcement agencies can still access and view your expunged records. Further, an expunged record can be reversed by a court if you are charged with or convicted of another crime. It can be complicated to determine if you are eligible for record expungement. You should speak with an experienced Wyoming criminal defense attorney to determine your eligibility. How Do I Get My Felony Arrest Record Expunged?  If your felony arrest did not result in a conviction, that arrest record might still cause you problems in the future. You should seriously consider trying to expunge it from your record. If your arrest record is expunged, you may act as though the arrest never occurred. For example, if an employment application asks about previous arrests, you are not required to disclose an expunged arrest record.  To successfully expunge your felony arrest record, you must meet the following requirements: At least 180 days must have passed from the date of the arrest;There must be no formal charges still pending when you file for expungement; andThere must be no convictions related to the charges for the arrest. If you meet the requirements listed above, you may file a petition with the court to expunge your felony arrest record. Petitions for expungement of felony arrest records do not require a filing fee. The prosecuting attorney will review the petition. If the prosecutor files an objection to the petition, the court will set a hearing to resolve the matter.  If no objection is filed, the court must wait 20 days before issuing an order granting expungement. How Do I Get My Felony Conviction Record Expunged?  Wyoming Statute § 7-13-1502 describes the requirements to have a felony conviction expunged. At least ten years must have passed since the date of the felony,The terms of the sentence must have expired,The person seeking expungement must have completed any court-ordered programs,The person must have paid any court-ordered restitution, andThe person seeking expungement must not have previously pleaded guilty or no contest to or been convicted of another felony. For a felony conviction, if you meet all of the requirements listed above and your conviction is eligible, you must file a petition with the court to have your conviction record expunged.  This process includes: Drafting and submitting a petition to the court,Providing notice to the prosecution and any affected parties,Paying a filing fee, andAttending a hearing and defending your petition if the prosecution or any victims of the crime file an objection. Petitions to expunge a felony conviction are complicated and time-consuming. You should not try to navigate this process on your own. A qualified Wyoming criminal defense attorney understands how the court procedure works, can file a petition on your behalf, and can defend you and argue for your petition during hearings. Hiring a skilled attorney will give you the best chance to expunge your record.  Contact a Wyoming Criminal Defense Attorney Today The lawyers at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense understand that your felony record can cause significant hardships, even long after you completed any court-ordered sentence. Your felony record should not continue to harm you indefinitely. Our dedicated staff will review your record and discuss any available legal options. We care deeply about our clients and will provide you the support and advice you need. We will make sure you have the best opportunity to get your felony record expunged. Call our offices at 307-215-9724 or fill out an online form today. 

How long Does a DUI stay on your Record

A DUI conviction is a serious offense.  DUI convictions carry serious consequences. They can affect your employment eligibility and your ability to apply for housing. DUIs may lead to jail time, driver license suspension, and significant fines, and they will stay on your criminal record for a long time. If you were convicted of DUI, you may want to know if your conviction can be removed from your criminal record. In Wyoming, state lawmakers recently changed the rules so that courts now may expunge misdemeanor DUI convictions. However, you cannot remove a felony DUI conviction from your record.  If possible, you should do everything possible to avoid a DUI conviction. If you were charged with DUI, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will help you weigh your legal options and defend you in court proceedings. Is a Driving Record the Same as a Criminal Record?  First, you should understand that a driving record and a criminal record are not the same things. Driving records include a list of any criminal or non-criminal traffic-related offenses, including DUIs. States track driving records to determine the status of your driver’s license. Unlike some states, Wyoming does not track driver licenses based on a points system. Wyoming law allows drivers up to three moving violations (of any kind) within a twelve-month period. If a driver has more than three violations in that period, their driver’s license will be suspended. In contrast, a criminal record lists any of your previous criminal misdemeanor or felony offenses, including traffic-related criminal offenses. Driving records and criminal records have different rules regarding whether a previous offense can be removed and how long the offense remains on your record.  How Long Does a DUI Stay On Your Driving Record?  In Wyoming, a DUI offense will remain on your driving record for ten years after the date of the offense. In addition to having DUI on your driving record, you will also lose your license for 90 days if convicted of DUI. You will be able to lift the suspension only if you agree to install an ignition interlock device on your car. Ignition interlocks have a breathalyzer device that measures your BAC. You must blow into the interlock device to prove sobriety every time you want to drive your car. How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record? Under Wyoming law, felony DUI convictions cannot be removed from your record. However, if you have a misdemeanor DUI conviction, there is good news. In 2015, the Wyoming Legislature changed the laws regarding expungement of criminal conviction records. Under the new laws, courts may now expunge misdemeanor DUI convictions no less than five years after the date of the conviction. Although DUI convictions are now eligible for expungement, you still must follow certain court procedures and meet specific requirements so that a court will remove the record. How Do I Remove a DUI Conviction from My Record? Wyoming law requires specific procedures to expunge a DUI conviction from your record. First, you must demonstrate that you have completed all of the sentencing requirements imposed by the court for the original conviction. This may include: Serving jail time,Paying fines or court costs and any restitution, andCompleting court-ordered substance abuse classes. Once the court confirms you have completed your sentencing requirements, you may file a petition for expungement of your misdemeanor conviction. Under Wyoming Statute 7-13-1501 expungement of a criminal conviction requires: That at least five years have passed since the end of the terms of the sentence (such as probation or a jail term),That the DUI did not involve the use of a firearm, andThat you pay a $100 filing fee for each petition for expungement. A court may, at its discretion, request a copy of your criminal history for review. If the court finds you are eligible, it will expunge your misdemeanor DUI conviction. Expungement means that your conviction will not appear in a criminal background check, such as those performed for employment or housing. However, expungement does not prevent other law enforcement agencies from accessing your records.  Should I Hire an Attorney? Filing a petition for expungement is a complicated and time-consuming process. In addition to the requirements listed above, you must give notice to all affected parties, including any affected victims and the district attorney. The district attorney and any of the identified victims have the option to oppose your petition. If this happens, the court will set a date for a hearing to hear arguments from both sides. Given these complex legal procedures, it is best to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to handle your petition. The attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense have extensive experience successfully handling criminal DUI convictions. We understand the difficulties a DUI conviction can cause. Our dedicated staff cares deeply about our clients and will ensure you receive the best possible representation. For a free consultation, contact our offices at 307-215-9724 or fill out an online form today.

possession with intent to deliver

In Wyoming, a possession with attempt to distribute charge is a serious matter that demands a fight.  Possession with an attempt to distribute means you are charged with possessing illegal drugs with the intent to sell them to another person. If you were arrested with a substantial amount of a drug, distribution supplies, or manufacturing equipment, you could be subject to this charge. A Wyoming drug possession defense attorney can fight your charge by challenging the constitutionality of the police officer’s search or whether you actually knew you were in possession of drugs. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we will fight to overcome the negative appearances of your situation, complicated drug laws, severe penalties, and the State’s legal interpretations that come with possession with attempt to distribute charge. Possession Versus Possession with Attempt to Distribute The difference between receiving a possession charge and receiving a possession with intent to distribute charge is significant. Police officers, prosecutors, and judges see people charged with drug possession as drug users. Judges typically believe that the best way to penalize a drug user is through treatment programs instead of severe prison sentences or fines. However, judges, prosecutors, and police officers see someone with drug possession with intent to distribute charge as a drug dealer. A drug dealer consists of anyone in the distribution chain. This includes the manufacturer, transporter, delivery person, and seller. Drug dealers face more severe punishment in the form of long prison sentences and heavy fines. The type, weight, and size of the drugs you possess are key factors judges use to determine your penalty. Wyoming Drug Laws Wyoming has some of the toughest drug laws in the United States for possession with intent to distribute. Wyoming classifies different types of drugs into five schedules. The classifications are based on whether the drugs are accepted for medical use and their likelihood of abuse. Each schedule carries with it different levels of punishment. Schedule I Schedule I substances are drugs with no accepted medical use, have a high potential for abuse, and are unsafe. Examples of schedule I drugs include heroin, marijuana, LSD, and ecstasy. Schedule II Schedule II drugs are substances that also have a high potential for abuse and are highly addictive. Examples of schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine (Adderall), OxyContin, opium, methadone, morphine, and Percocet. Schedule III Schedule III drugs are substances with a lower potential for abuse, but that can still be moderate to highly addictive. Examples of schedule II drugs include Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, and anabolic steroids. Schedule IV Schedule IV drugs are substances with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs. Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Soma. Schedule V Schedule V drugs are drugs that contain a limited quantity of narcotics. Cough syrups that contain Codeine are an example. Penalties for the Distribution of Drugs in Wyoming The penalties for the possession of drugs with intent to distribute are more severe than possession charges alone. The sale of narcotics or counterfeit substances is an important consideration when evaluating your potential penalty. Narcotics The sale of narcotics carries increased penalties. Called opioids today, narcotics are substances that dull and relieve pain. Narcotics include opium, opium derivatives, and semi-synthetic substitute drugs. Examples of modern narcotic drugs are heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, Codeine, methadone, morphine, and fentanyl. Counterfeit Substances The sale of counterfeit substances also carries increased penalties. A counterfeit substance is a drug with a label that falsely states the manufacturer. Penalty for Possession with Intent to Distribute The penalty for possession with intent to distribute drugs in Wyoming depends on the classification of the drug. A prison sentence up to 20 years, a fine up to $25,000, or both is the punishment if you are charged with distributing: Schedule I and II controlled substances classified as narcotics, Methamphetamine, or Schedule I and II counterfeit substances. If you are charged with distributing any other substance classified in schedule I, II, or III, your penalty is a prison sentence up to 10 years, a fine up to $10,000, or both. A prison sentence up to 2 years, a fine up to $2,500, or both is the penalty if you are charged with distributing any drug classified in schedule IV. If you are charged with distributing any drug classified in schedule V, your penalty is a prison sentence up to 1 year, a fine up to $1,000, or both. How the State Decides Whether to Charge You as a User or a Dealer The surrounding circumstances of your arrest are the primary factors the State will use to determine whether you should be charged as a drug dealer or drug user. For instance, if you have drug manufacturing equipment, scales, or baggies, you are more likely to receive a possession with intent to distribute charges. Text messages in your phone that describe various drug deals also point to a charge as a drug dealer. However, if you do not have any of these types of items with you at the time of your arrest, the State will look at the quantity of drugs that you have. If you have a substantial quantity of the drug with you, a prosecutor is more likely to charge you as a drug dealer instead of a drug user. What You Should Consider To best fight your possession with intent to distribute charge, you should take all of these factors into consideration. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we will aggressively fight your possession with intent to distribute charges to help you regain your freedom. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Check Out Our Blog –

lawyer for felony charges

Felony charges are very serious. If you are convicted, you face not only possible time in prison, but you could also lose important civil rights like the right to vote or the ability to possess a firearm. For many people, being convicted of a felony forever changes their lives. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we represent people accused of a felony who don’t know what to do. Some are worried that they can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer for felony charges. Others think they might be able to handle their case on their own without any input from an attorney. Contact us today. We are available to meet with you for a free consultation. How Much Does It Cost for a Felony Case? No two felony cases are exactly alike, so the amount that you end up paying an attorney will differ by the case. Let’s look at some of the factors that go into a felony lawyer cost. The Complexity of the Case Some felony cases are much more complex than others. They require more legal analysis or much more time gathering facts. If you were alleged to be part of a criminal conspiracy, then your lawyer will need to do much more leg work than if the case is an assault that was captured on surveillance video. Research the Lawyers Reputation Lawyers can charge based on public demand for their work. If a lawyer has a strong reputation and gets consistently good results, then more people will want to hire him. All lawyers have a limit on how much work they can do, so they will increase the fees that they charge as a way of winnowing down the amount of people who hire them. That’s just how the business works. Incarceration May Affect the Cost Whether a client is incarcerated will also affect how much it costs to hire a lawyer’s services. When a client is in jail, it is much harder for a lawyer to get in touch with him. Lawyers typically need to take out time from their day to travel to the jail and visit their clients. If a client isn’t in jail, then he or she can stop by the office, which takes less time. Did Your Case Go to Trial? If you decide to go to trial, then it costs much more than if you accepted a plea deal. It takes a tremendous amount of time to prepare for trial. Witnesses need to be prepared, exhibits must be created, and a lawyer needs to develop a trial strategy. Discuss all of these issues with a lawyer when discussing fees. CRIMINAL DEFENSE FAQ Can a Lawyer Work on Contingency in a Criminal Defense Case? No. Contingency fees are routine in personal injury cases, like car accidents. The lawyer will not charge any upfront fees but will take a percentage of the client’s settlement or court award. Unfortunately, ethical rules prohibit contingency fees in criminal cases. They also don’t make any sense in a criminal context, since a defendant does not win any money which can be used to pay for an attorney. Criminal defense attorneys will charge either an hourly fee or a flat fee. A flat fee is a sum of money you pay the lawyer to handle your entire case. A lawyer will use his experience to estimate how much time it will take to handle your criminal case. If the case is more complex than the lawyer initially thought, then the lawyer is out of luck. He agreed to handle the case for a flat fee, which is all you owe. CRIMINAL DEFENSE FAQ Why Not Use the Public Defender? If funds are tight, many people think they will just use the public defender offered to them. Though these are great lawyers, most public defenders are swamped with cases. They are overworked and underpaid. As a result, they probably cannot commit all the hours your case needs. If there are unique legal issues, then an intern in the office might be stuck researching them—which is not ideal for a criminal defendant. By hiring your own lawyer, you can guarantee individualized attention for your case. This will increase the chances of receiving an excellent defense. Most public defenders agree with this sentiment and will tell you to hire a lawyer if you can afford one. Speak with a Wyoming Criminal Defense Attorney If the police have picked you up or if you believe you are the suspect of a crime, contact Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. Our office has helped many felony defendants obtain a favorable result. We are eager to help you in any way we can, so please reach out to schedule your free, confidential consultation. “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.

alternative sentencing options

Alternative sentencing is a name for all the different forms of punishment, excluding jail time and the death penalty, that a judge can give a defendant. For example, community sentencing and non-custodial sentencing are forms of alternative sentencing.  The purpose of alternative sentencing is to give the defendant a punishment that fits the crime and to encourage reform. Alternatives to prison have the best chance of having a positive impact on both the defendant and society. Qualifying for alternative sentencing options depends on the type of crime committed and whether the accused has any prior convictions. If you face criminal charges, we recommend discussing your case with a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense lawyers can potentially reduce or eliminate criminal charges. Alternative sentencing is often a beneficial route to pursue. Contact our attorneys today to discuss the specifics of your case and potential defenses. Types of Alternative Sentencing Options In Wyoming, there are many alternatives to prison. However, some alternative sentencing options apply to more crimes than others. Monetary Fines Monetary fines are the most common type of alternative sentence. They typically apply in cases involving speeding or parking tickets. Judges often use monetary fines as an additional form of punishment rather than just a prison sentence. But if it is possible, the attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can negotiate monetary fines as an alternative sentenced to jail time. Suspended Sentence A suspended sentence is an alternative form of punishment where the judge orders a sentence but does not enforce it. It usually applies in cases involving non-serious or first-time offenses. Suspended sentences usually include conditions that the defendant must meet to avoid jail time. Probation The accused is put on probation when he or she is released from detention but under supervision for a period of time. Similar to a suspended sentence, probation requires the accused to meet certain conditions, like completing a substance abuse treatment program. The probation can be revoked and the accused sentenced to jail time if those conditions are not met. The defense attorney and prosecutor usually negotiate the terms of probation. Restitution Like a fine, restitution is an alternative sentence that requires the accused to pay money. Restitution is different from a monetary fine because the money that the accused pays goes to the victim. The purpose of restitution is to compensate the victim for financial loss that resulted from the crime. Victims often use restitution to pay for medical expenses or property damages. However, judges often order restitution as an additional form of punishment instead of an alternate form. Community Service Community service is any activity that benefits the community to make up for the wrong done. There are many local and regional community service programs in Wyoming. Examples include: Cleaning a park or roadside,Volunteering at a welfare agency like United Way of Natrona County, andVolunteering at a homeless shelter such as Wyoming Rescue Mission. Sometimes community service is a specific form of punishment that relates to the crime charged. For example, an accused found guilty of a DUI offense may be sentenced to lecture young adults about the dangers of drinking and driving. Diversion Programs In Wyoming, diversion programs are alternatives to prison that may result in the dismissal of charges. The defendant must meet certain criteria that relate to the crime charged. The purpose of diversion programs is to allow defendants to show that they have learned from their mistakes and will not repeat them. However, the charges will be brought again if the defendant fails to meet the criteria. For example, while in the Wyoming Intensive Supervision program, a defendant: Participates in cognitive skills classes;Is subject to random drug tests;Receives unannounced home visits;Must work 40 hours per week; and Is required to pay all bills and other court-ordered obligations. Qualifying defendants include those eligible for parole, those likely to be sentenced to a correctional facility, and those experiencing difficulty under traditional probation and parole. Eligibility for Alternative Sentencing To be eligible for an alternative sentence in Wyoming, you must prove to a judge that you meet the qualifications for at least one of the alternative sentencing options. Wyoming judges have a lot of discretion when considering alternatives to prison. To take back your future and find out if you would qualify for an alternative sentence, contact us today at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. We will aggressively fight to reduce or eliminate prison time as your potential sentence.

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 and hiring a Casper DUI defense attorney to advocate for you can be beneficial. 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/DWUI Laws The Wyoming DUI law can be found at WY Stat. § 31-5-233. It defines DUI as driving or having “actual physical control” of a vehicle if: 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. Overview of Wyoming DUI/DWUI Penalties Wyoming’s punishments will depend on whether this is your first or a subsequent offense, as well as other factors. First DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming For a first-time Wyoming DUI conviction, you can face: Up to 6 months in jailUp to $750 in fines and penaltiesSuspended license for 90 days Second DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming If this is your second Wyoming DUI conviction, you can face: 7 days to 6 months in jailUp to $750 in fines and penaltiesSuspended license for a yearInstallation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Third DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming Punishments increase for a third Wyoming DUI conviction: Between 1 and 6 months in jailUp to $3,000 in fines and penaltiesSuspended license for 3 yearsInstallation of an IID Fourth DUI/DWI Conviction in Wyoming For a fourth conviction, punishments go up even more: Up to 2 years in prisonUp to $10,000 in fines and penaltiesLicense suspension of varying lengthsLifetime installation of an IID Like other states, Wyoming DUI Laws increase the punishment for certain aggravating factors, including: Whether your BAC was very high (0.15 or higher)Whether you hurt someone in an accident while driving under the influenceWhether 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. How a Wyoming DUI/DWUI Attorney Can Help It is important to realize that an arrest is not a conviction, and you might have defenses no matter how dire things look immediately after getting picked up. For example, we might be able to fight your case by pointing out: The officer had no probable cause to stop you, so the arrest is unconstitutionalThe officer did not calibrate the breathalyzer properlyThere is insufficient evidence to show you could not operate a vehicle safely The best attorneys will build a defense based on the facts of your case. To get started, please reach out to Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. We offer free consultations.

Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

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

What Is Simple Assault

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