A primary section of laws intended to protect children are child pornography laws. In Wyoming, child pornography laws define the crime of child pornography, as well as the penalties for possession of child pornography. While this is a tough topic for all involved, it is important that those whom police charge with child pornography also understand the laws, their rights, and how child pornography charges may impact them. Wyoming Child Pornography Laws Wyoming Statutes Title 6, Crimes and Offenses §6-4-303, contains Wyoming child porn laws. These statutes give insight into key terms and offenses in this area. These statutes help us answer the question, What is child sexual exploitation? They also classify the act of possessing child pornography as a felony criminal offense. The law states in part that a person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a child if, for any purpose, they knowingly: Cause, coerce, or permit a child to engage in, or be used for, the making of child pornography or any explicit sexual conduct; orCreate, receive, distribute, reproduce, or possess any child pornography. The same Wyoming child pornography law defines child pornography. It states that child pornography means any explicit sexual conduct involving a child or an individual virtually indistinguishable from a child as a visual depiction including any: Photograph, Film, Video, Picture, or Computer or computer-generated image or picture. Any involvement in child pornography or child exploitation is a serious offense. As a result, the judicial system may impose severe consequences for those convicted of these crimes. Consequences of Violating Wyoming Child Pornography Laws When someone fears getting charged with a child pornography violation they understandably are concerned with the consequences if convicted. What are the penalties for possession of child pornography? The sexual exploitation of a child is a felony punishable in part by: Significant prison time;A fine of up to $10,000;Forfeiture of any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of such offense; andThe requirement to register as a sex offender. The above are only some of the basics of the legal ramifications. Our judicial system provides significant leeway for punishments in this regard. A judge may add additional consequences such as loss of child custody or limitations on the ability to visit with one’s own children. Offenders also face collateral consequences like the loss of employment, public and media scrutiny, and family upheaval and tension. What to Do if Accused of Violating Wyoming Child Pornography Laws Even the potential of being charged with possession of child pornography can be emotionally, socially, and financially taxing. But remember, you do not have to fight this fight alone. If the state charges you with such a crime, you have rights. Hiring seasoned criminal defense attorneys at a high-quality law firm can help to ensure that your rights are protected. Law Enforcement Must Have a Documentable Reason to Arrest In the United States, our laws protect individuals from being arrested based solely on the vague concern of police or a member of the public. Law enforcement must have clearly identified and supported reasons to arrest a person. Arrest Does Not Mean Guilt Even once the police arrest a person, it does not mean they are guilty. Remember, in America, citizens are innocent until proven guilty and there is a reason for that. The prosecution must be able to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt before exacting punishment on citizens. Those charged with a crime have the right to a vigorous defense and should take full advantage of this protection. Guilt Does Not Mean A Loss of Rights Even if a jury finds you guilty or you plead guilty to violating child pornography laws, you still retain certain rights. Your attorney can help make sure your rights are protected and that sentencing is fair. Therefore, one of the most important first steps to take after the state charges you with violating child pornography laws is hiring an attorney. Those accused often react with fear and embarrassment and as a result wait to seek legal help. That is a mistake. When the state charges you with such a serious crime, you need a well-established, reputable criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense: Your Best Defense At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense we work tirelessly to protect people that the state accuses of crimes. We fight for our clients every step of the way. We don’t judge or accuse. Instead, we mount a defense and stand with our clients to be sure they have the best representation possible. If you need a criminal defense attorney call us at 307-333-7884, or reach us anytime via our online form.
It’s challenging to be a responsible gun owner nowadays. You have to keep up with ever-changing laws, permitting, and state-by-state reciprocity rules. We know you do your best, and we want to help you abide by the law. Wyoming doesn’t have a statute that prohibits brandishing a weapon. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for where and how you display or use a firearm. If you’re facing a weapons charge in Natrona County, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Call Cowboy County Criminal Defense and invoke your Constitutional right to defend yourself. What Is Brandishing a Firearm? Traditionally, violating a brandishing law meant you displayed a weapon. The definition of brandishing means to wave or flourish something as a threat, or in your anger or excitement. Is Brandishing a Firearm Illegal in Wyoming? It depends on the circumstances. Wyoming doesn’t have a statute that specifically outlaws displaying a firearm or other weapon. You won’t see the word “brandishing” in any laws. In fact, open and concealed carry are legal in the state, so there are many situations in which you may have a firearm with you. However, the police can arrest you if you deliberately aim a gun at someone or display a firearm during other criminal conduct. The specific facts in your case dictate whether you are charged and for which crime. Aggravated assault and battery (WY Stat. §6-2-502): You can be charged with a felony if you intentionally cause or try to cause someone harm with a deadly weapon, or if you threaten to use a drawn deadly weapon. You face up to 10 years in prison.Reckless endangering (WY Stat. §6-2-504): You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you knowingly point a firearm at or in the direction of another person, whether or not you believe the gun’s loaded. You can be imprisoned for up to one year.Breach of peace (WY Stat. §6-6-102): If you disturb the peace of a community through unreasonable noise; threatening, abusive, or obscene language; or violent actions, you face a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of imprisonment and fines up to $750.Use of a firearm while committing a felony (WY Stat. §6-8-101): If you use a firearm while committing a felony, you face up to 10 years in prison in addition to the penalty for the felony offense. If this is your second or third time facing this charge, you can be imprisoned for an additional 20 years.Possession of firearm by person convicted of certain felonies (WY Stat. §6-8-102): If you’ve previously been convicted of a violent felony or a felony for interfering with a peace officer, then you can face another felony offense for knowingly using or possessing a firearm. This offense is punishable by up to three years in prison and fines up to $5,000.Possession of deadly weapon with unlawful intent (WY Stat. §6-8-103): You face a felony offense if you knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell a deadly weapon with the intent to unlawfully threaten the life or well-being of another person, or to assault or inflict injury. It’s punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $1,000. If the police arrest you for an assault or weapons crime, call defense attorney Jeremy Hugus right away. Is Brandishing a Firearm a Felony? Many Wyoming firearm offenses are felonies. When you’re facing a weapons charge, it’s best to reach out to an experienced defense attorney for help. Felony crimes can be punished with years in prison, probation, and stiff fines. You may also face a number of collateral consequences, like losing your right to own a firearm in the future. Can I Be Charged with Brandishing a Firearm for Open Carry? No, open carry is not the same as brandishing a weapon. Wyoming allows anyone 18 years or older to carry a firearm openly in public. As of July 1, 2021, it’s also legal to conceal carry a firearm in Wyoming without a permit if you’re 21 years or older and meet other eligibility requirements. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of the state. Charged with a Gun Crime? If a prosecutor has filed gun crime charges, you can and should fight back with the help of Casper criminal defense lawyer Jeremy Hugus. We have been serving our Wyoming community for years and have helped numerous clients achieve successful results in their criminal cases. Reach out to Cowboy Country Criminal Defense at 307-333-7884 or through our online form.
Unless you have some experience with getting arrested and going to jail, you might not understand the differences between bail vs. bond. If you or someone close to you is currently in jail, you might be scrambling to get answers. You might run internet searches asking, What is bail? Or you might search, How does bail work? If so, you will likely find a variety of confusing and potentially contradictory information, yet few concrete answers. To address these and other questions you might have, the criminal defense attorneys of Cowboy Country Criminal Defense have put together some basic information about how to make bail. We will also explore how to get someone out of jail in Wyoming. If you have questions about how bail works in Wyoming, contact our experienced team today to schedule a free consultation. What Is Bail? Upon arrest for a crime, the defendant appears before a judge. During this initial hearing, the court informs the defendant of the charges against them. The court also informs the defendant of the potential penalties that they could face upon conviction. The judge then sets the amount of money that the defendant must pay to get out of jail. The law refers to this amount of money as bail. You must pay this amount to the court before you can be released. The court holds your bail funds until such time as you resolve your case. Upon resolution, the court will release the money back to you, less any fines and court costs you owe. If you can get your hands on the amount of money you need, the process is simple. If you do not have the funds available, you can explore the possibility of getting a bail bond. What Is a Bail Bond? Now that we have explored the concept of bail, we can get to the most pressing question at hand. What is the difference between bail vs. bond? A bail bond, also known as an appearance bond, is a type of secured (surety) bond. This bond is essentially an insurance policy, assuring the court that the defendant will show up for their court date. To obtain a bail bond, you (or someone working on your behalf) must contact a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen are agents of federally registered surety companies. The bondsman, through the surety company, issues a bond to the court. This document ensures that the bondsman will post your full amount should you fail to appear in court. In exchange for providing this assurance to the court, the bondsman charges you a fee. The typical fee is 10% of your bail amount. For example, say the judge sets your bail at $10,000. In that case, you will likely have to pay the bail bondsman $1,000 in cash before they post your bond. This is a non-refundable fee. You might also have to pay some additional fees or costs for the bondsman’s services. Typically, the bondsman will ask that you have a cosigner for the bond. They may even ask the cosigner to pledge an asset like their house or car as collateral. If you fail to appear in court—known as skipping bail—the court will revoke your bail. The court will also issue a warrant for your arrest. If that happens, the cosigner must pay the full amount of your bail. Otherwise, they must forfeit any pledged assets. You can also rest assured that the bondsman or their bounty hunter will come looking for you. Bondsmen and bounty hunters have the authority to apprehend you and return you to jail. How Does Bail Work in Wyoming? In Wyoming, posting bail works as described above once a judge sets your bail amount. However, there are some specific facts that you should know. For example, the Wyoming bail statute states that unless the alleged crime potentially carries the death penalty, an arrested person may be admitted to bail. However, the amount of bail is at the judge’s discretion. Wyoming law states that the courts must grant an arrested person an appearance before a judge without unnecessary delay. The statute further states that if no judge is available at the time of arrest—and if the court has not established a bail schedule or has no authorized individual available to accept bail at that time—that person shall be released from custody upon receipt and acceptance of a written citation and promise to appear. This is known as a “citation release.” In other words, if no one can get a judge to set bail, they must release you. If they do not release you, you can contact a criminal defense lawyer to help get you out of jail. Talking to a lawyer also makes sense because you face criminal charges. How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help? If you have been arrested in Wyoming, having the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable. You likely have many questions and concerns on your mind, the first of which might be, How does posting bail work in Wyoming? A Wyoming criminal defense lawyer from Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can answer your questions and help you determine your next steps. We explain the charges you’re facing—as well as any potential penalties—and help you explore your options. Having a criminal conviction on your record can negatively affect every aspect of your life. You need someone who is willing and able to fight for you, your future, and your freedom. Call us at 307-333-7884, or contact us online to let us put our experience to work for you!
We have all seen it in movies. A mob boss is in court facing a criminal charge. The prosecuting attorney asks a witness or the defendant a question about the alleged crime. The only answer they receive in response is, “I plead the Fifth.” The question is left unanswered. The accused has a smirk on their face, as though they have just gotten one over on the prosecution. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney has a look of frustration on their face as their case has hit a snag. If you are facing a criminal charge and think of one of these movie scenes, you might find yourself wondering, what is pleading the Fifth? When can you not plead the Fifth? Or even, Is it wise to plead the Fifth? Despite its use as a trope in courtroom dramas, most people do not understand how pleading the Fifth works in criminal proceedings. The Wyoming criminal defense attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense are prepared this piece to answer those questions and shed some light on how pleading the Fifth works in practice. To get in touch with our experienced team, contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. What Is Pleading the Fifth? “Pleading the Fifth” refers to a situation wherein someone invokes The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in legal proceedings. We could spend a great deal of time unpacking the text of the Fifth Amendment into its various components, but for our purposes, there is one key element. The Fifth Amendment protects those accused or suspected of committing criminal offenses from being “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” In other words, the Fifth Amendment gives accused persons “the right to remain silent.” Defendants plead the Fifth to avoid incriminating themselves in their own trials. Additionally, witnesses testifying in someone else’s criminal trial may plead the Fifth. People can also plead the Fifth in civil court, but our focus here is criminal law. When Can You Not Plead the Fifth? Knowing the answer to the question, When can you not plead the Fifth? Is crucial if you are considering invoking the amendment. There are two classes of people who can plead the Fifth in a criminal trial. First, a witness who does not want to incriminate themselves by answering a specific question can plead the Fifth. For example, a witness might plead the Fifth if a prosecutor asks them about a drug deal that they were a part of. In answering the question, the witness might incriminate themselves for drug possession or distribution, so they avoid answering it entirely. A person who receives immunity or a pardon for a given criminal offense cannot invoke the right to remain silent concerning that offense. Defendants can also invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against themselves in a criminal trial. Unlike witnesses, defendants cannot plead the Fifth to avoid answering specific questions. If a defendant pleads the Fifth, they cannot testify in their trial at all. What Happens When You Plead the Fifth? Pleading the Fifth might seem like a get-out-of-jail-free card that you can use in court, but there are consequences of pleading the Fifth. Pleading the Fifth is much more complicated than just saying the words “I plead the Fifth” and having the question go away. You might have already thought of one issue with pleading the Fifth. You might think, If you plead the Fifth, do you not inadvertently criminalize yourself in doing so? Or, does pleading the Fifth not signal that you are guilty of the crime in question, if not a separate crime? As with most questions in the legal field, the answer depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Sometimes pleading the Fifth is the most prudent legal move you can make. Other times, pleading the Fifth is unnecessary and may hurt your case. The best way to gauge the impact of pleading the Fifth is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. With their expert advice, you can balance the potential risks of pleading the Fifth against the potential rewards. Your Silence Cannot Be Used Against You One thing that readers should take away from this piece is that remaining silent cannot be used against you in court. You may think that pleading the Fifth inadvertently indicates the guilt of a crime. After all, by pleading the Fifth, you all but admit guilt with respect to a crime. While this may be a reasonable assumption, it is unconstitutional for juries, judges, or prosecutors to use your silence against you as evidence of guilt. If prosecutors could infer guilt on the basis of silence alone, it would undermine the purpose of the Fifth Amendment. Contact a Wyoming Criminal Defense Lawyer Today Whether you are facing a witness subpoena or a criminal charge, if you think you might need to plead the Fifth, don’t go through with it without consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Instead, get in touch with our knowledgeable team of criminal defense attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. At our firm, we believe in giving power to the people. Our founder, Jeremy Hugus, believes that everyone deserves a fair trial. If you are considering pleading the Fifth, don’t wait until the day before your court date. Call us 307.333.7884 or contact us online today and tell us how we can help!
When you are arrested, it is obvious that the police are accusing you of committing a crime. There is no other way to look at the situation. Police only arrest someone when they suspect them of a commiting a crime. But what happens before you are arrested? If you are not arrested while committing a crime, how do the police know that a crime was committed? Police conduct investigations of specific crimes to identify suspected perpetrators, then make an arrest when they feel they have enough evidence to prove an accused person’s guilt. With this in mind, the next logical question is, can I find out if I’m under investigation? Sometimes you can find out if you are under investigation, but not always. There are certain signs of being under investigation you can look out for. If you can identify those signs, you will learn how to know if you are under investigation by the police. How to Find Out If You Are Under Criminal Investigation If the police arrest you, it is safe to assume that you are or were under a criminal investigation. But you don’t want to wait until that happens to take action. Recognizing the signs of being under criminal investigation can help you get ahead of the situation by seeking legal counsel and preparing for the possibility of an arrest and criminal charge. The Police Contact You First, if the police contact you to talk about an open criminal case, you might be under investigation. Police contact and interview persons of interest in their investigations. Not every person they contact is a suspect, but when investigations begin, typically every person that the police talk to is a potential suspect. If not a suspect, individuals that the police contact are at least persons of interest. Thus, if the police contact and interview you, it is a sign that you might be under criminal investigation. A Federal Agency Contacts You Your local police are not the only law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes crimes. Other law enforcement agencies exist, particularly in the federal government. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are just a few federal agencies that investigate and prosecute federal crimes. If an agent from one of these agencies contacts you for an interview, you might be under investigation for a federal crime. Pay Attention to the Questions Asked of You If the police contact you for an interview, the types of questions they ask can signal whether you are under investigation. For example, if the police contact you for an interview and mostly ask you questions about someone else, that person is probably under investigation, and you probably are not. On the other hand, if the police ask you more pointed questions, you might be under investigation yourself. Questions concerning things like your whereabouts on a given date or your relationship with someone who was the victim of a crime can indicate that you are under investigation for a given crime. Closely following the questions that law enforcement asks you in an interview will help you figure out whether you are being investigated. Grand Jury Indictment Receiving a grand jury indictment leaves no question as to whether you are under investigation for a crime. In many federal criminal cases, prosecutors must secure an indictment before formally filing charges. To secure an indictment, prosecutors present all the evidence they have in a given case to a grand jury. The grand jury weighs the evidence and decides whether it is substantial or compelling enough to warrant prosecution before accepting or rejecting the indictment. Sometimes law enforcement detains suspects before a grand jury decides on an indictment, but not always. Thus, if you are indicted, an arrest may come before or after the grand jury hearing. An indictment is a formal accusation of a criminal offense, so if you receive indictment papers, you are or were under criminal investigation. If You Think You are Under Criminal Investigation The best way to find out if you are under investigation is with the help of a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys have experience with prior police investigations, so they know how to identify things that indicate the existence of a criminal investigation. If you think you are under investigation for a crime, call Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we have helped countless clients identify ongoing police investigations. By identifying investigations before police file charges, we help our clients get ahead of criminal charges and prepare robust defenses to protect their freedom. Our mission is to protect your rights and put power back in your hands, so call us today for a consultation!
On April 5, 2021, Wyoming governor Mark Gordon signed HB 85 into law. The purpose of the bill, which is effective as of July 1, 2021, is to alter Wyoming porn laws to account for the recent rise of a phenomenon called revenge porn. The two houses of the legislature, which both overwhelmingly approved the bill, sought to update revenge porn laws in Wyoming that they felt did not effectively protect revenge porn victims. Revenge porn is a relatively recent phenomenon. It’s rise follows the rise and ubiquity of social media and smartphones. If you’re wondering, Is revenge porn illegal? You may be surprised to learn that before HB 48’s passage, Wyoming’s porn laws were silent on the issue. In fact, in 2019, Wyoming was one of only four states without a law on it. Anyone who faces a revenge porn conviction should understand the new set of rules. Aside from understanding the rules and consequences, you should immediately retain an experienced criminal defense attorney if someone accuses you of revenge porn. What Is Revenge Porn? To understand the law, it is important to understand the answer to the question, What is revenge porn? Revenge porn differs from legal pornography in a few ways. The new Wyoming revenge porn law states that the crime of revenge porn occurs when someone disseminates an image of another person with the intent to humiliate, harm, harass, threaten, or coerce them. The image must meet four additional qualifications for courts to consider it revenge porn: The person in the image is 18 years or older;The person in the image does not consent to the image’s dissemination;The person in the image is engaged in a sexual act or in a state of nudity; andThe person in the image can be identified from information attached to the image or from the image itself. If your actions meet all these qualifications, you risk conviction for the crime of revenge porn in Wyoming. Whether or not you believe the conditions are met, if someone files a criminal complaint that accuses you of revenge porn, it is essential that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. What Are the Consequences for a Revenge Porn Conviction in Wyoming? HB 48 ensures that revenge porn is taken seriously by Wyoming authorities. The potential consequences reflect the crime’s severity in the eyes of the law. HB 48 classifies revenge porn as a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to one year of imprisonment, or both. A previous version of the bill made second offenses a felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, but this language did not make it into the final version of the text. While the felony language is no longer part of the bill, the consequences for a conviction are still severe. Why It Is Critical to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible The foundation of our country’s criminal law system is that all people are innocent until proven guilty. To help ensure that we follow this principle, our legal system relies on the idea that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial. However, with that said, trials aren’t always fair. Miscarriages of justice happen every day. There are several things that can make a trial unfair. Illegal investigation tactics, inadequate public defense, and coercion are just a few. As someone facing a criminal charge, how do you ensure you are given a fair trial? The best way to ensure that your trial is as fair as possible is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense know how to counter unfair tactics both in and out of the courtroom. Contact Cowboy Country Criminal Defense Today Has someone accused you of revenge porn in Wyoming? If so, don’t wait to protect your freedom. Contact us at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. Wyoming native Jeremy Hugus started Cowboy Country Criminal Defense for one reason: to make life better for real people. That’s our firm’s primary goal. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will do everything in their power to protect your rights and preserve your freedom. We believe in bringing power to the people and that you are more than the crimes you are accused of. Let us prove your innocence and ensure that you get a fair trial. Don’t wait. Contact us today to discuss your case!
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in Wyoming, the frequent punishment is probation. The first time you commit a probation violation will result in consequences. Whether the State sends you to jail depends on the severity of the violation. You receive probation when the court puts you under supervision for a period of time instead of sending you to jail. Probation requires you to meet certain conditions, such as: Completing a substance abuse treatment program;Undergoing mandatory drug tests;Meeting with your probation officer; andNot associating with known felons. Failing to meet any of the conditions of your probation is a probation violation. Committing a crime and not meeting with your probation officer are two common violations of probation. If you have violated the terms of your probation, you should contact a Wyoming criminal defense attorney today. Working with a criminal defense attorney is your best shot at reducing the chances that you go to jail for your first probation violation. What’s the Process After Violating Probation? After violating probation, you must go through a separate judicial process in probation court. Under Wyoming law, if your probation officer believes you have violated any of the terms of your probation, he or she can take you into custody and detain you for a reasonable time. You will next receive written notice of the allegations of your probation violation. You and your criminal defense lawyer can use this to prepare for your probation hearing in court. However, it is important to understand that the State needs to prove only that it is more likely than not that you violated the terms of your probation. If the judge finds that the State has met its burden of proof, the State will punish you in accordance with the severity of the probation violation. What Are the Consequences for Violating Probation in Wyoming? The judge has the discretion to select from a number of potential consequences for a probation violation. The specific consequences you face may depend on the severity of what you did. Wyoming law permits a judge to send you to jail for up to 90 days, or you may receive penalties that don’t include jail time, such as: A loss or restriction of your privileges,Community service, orThe State placing you in a residential community correction program for up to 90 days. Usually, after you complete a jail sentence or residential community correction program, the State puts you back on probation. But it is also possible that the court could revoke your probation altogether and sentence you as if you never received probation. This is particularly likely if you committed a more serious violation, such as committing another crime, or violated your probation in multiple ways. How Can a Wyoming Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You? A criminal defense lawyer can increase the odds that you avoid jail time for your first probation violation. A lawyer can defend you during your probation hearing and present evidence, if it exists, that shows jail time is not the proper punishment. Jeremy Hugus at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense understands that a criminal conviction can change the rest of your life. He is an experienced Wyoming criminal defense attorney who will fight to get you the best possible result. To get started, contact us online or call 307.333.7884 today 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.
Cowboy Country Criminal Defense Attorney Addresses the Difference Between Being Detained vs. Arrested If a law enforcement officer pulled you over in Wyoming, searched your car, and placed you under arrest, you may wonder if the officer violated your rights. Police officers have the authority to investigate crimes. However, they do not possess the power to detain you indefinitely without evidence. You have the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense attorney Jeremy Hugus will fight hard to protect your rights. As a highly experienced and successful criminal defense lawyer, Jeremy will review your case to see if the police violated your constitutional rights and work to develop the best defense strategy possible to help you win your case. Detained vs. Arrested in Wyoming Explained Wyoming law recognizes three types of police encounters: Voluntary or consensual encounter;Investigatory detention (also called a “Terry stop”); andFormal arrest based on probable cause or arrest with a warrant. A voluntary encounter means that the person was objectively free to leave. For example, if you walk up to a police officer to ask a question, the encounter is voluntary. Similarly, if the police walk up to you and ask you a question, you are free to leave unless they have evidence that justifies their intrusion into your privacy. What Does It Mean to Be Detained? Police can detain a person to investigate a violation of the law. The most common example is getting pulled over for a traffic violation. In that situation, the officer can detain you to investigate the officer’s belief that a moving violation occurred. A police officer needs evidence to detain a person. The evidence, under both the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions, is reasonable suspicion. If a police officer saw you run a stop sign, the officer has reasonable suspicion to stop you to give you a ticket for that infraction. The police officer cannot detain you any longer than reasonably necessary to complete the investigation into the reason why the officer stopped you. The officer must let you be on your way once the officer finishes the traffic stop. Good police officers understand that people often conceal contraband inside of a car. Therefore, the officer will ask questions of the driver to see if the story makes sense. You never have to answer those questions. Despite that right, many people decide to talk with the police. The officer might ask for consent to search the car. The officer needs no reason at all to ask you if you consent to a car search. You have the right to say “no.” Constitutional law allows police officers to detain a person longer if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime is underway, was committed, or is about to be committed. The officer cannot rely on just a hunch. Instead, the officer must have evidence to justify inquiring further. That could lead to a search of your car or your person. When Are You Arrested vs. Detained in Wyoming? The difference between being detained vs. arrested is one of degree. A police officer must have either an arrest warrant or possess probable cause that you committed a crime to place you under formal arrest. A formal arrest usually means the police put handcuffs on you, bring you back for booking and fingerprinting, read your Miranda rights, and file charges against you. However, a stop based on reasonable suspicion becomes an arrest without probable cause when the police detain you without enough evidence to justify their actions. The police may have arrested you unlawfully if they: Detained you longer than necessary to complete their initial investigation;Used more force than required to protect themselves;Called for a large number of officers to assist with their investigation;Patted you down for weapons; Put you in handcuffs; orPut you in the patrol car. The court will look at the “totality of the circumstances” to see if the police violated your rights by arresting you without probable cause. The judge may suppress all evidence seized against you, including any statements you made, if the police arrested you without probable cause. What Should You Do If You Feel Police Should Have Detained You vs. Arrested You in Wyoming? Cowboy Country Criminal Defense lawyer Jeremy Hugus relies on his extensive courtroom experience when coming up with a winning defense strategy. With Jeremy by your side, you can rest assured knowing that he will fight aggressively to protect your rights if you were wrongly detained vs. arrested in Wyoming. Call Jeremy and his team with Cowboy Country Criminal Defense right away at 307-333-7884 to get your best defense.
If you are attending a bond hearing, it is essential that you have an experienced Wyoming criminal defense lawyer on your side. What is a bond hearing? you may ask. This is the proceeding to decide whether you will be able to remain free while your criminal case is pending. The Wyoming Constitution guarantees the right to bail in all but capital cases. Therefore, people frequently assume they will quickly go free while they await charges. However, this is a mistake. You need to work to make sure the court sets the lowest possible bond. Don’t underestimate the importance of what happens at a bond hearing. Be prepared by hiring a strong Wyoming criminal defense firm. WHAT IS A BOND HEARING? In most cases, a bond hearing is a process for the court to address what happens to a person while awaiting trial. So let’s look at what happens at a bond hearing. If you are the accused, you will have an opportunity to convince the court that you are not a danger to society and that the court can trust you to return to court for your hearing. It is not as dramatic as the trials you see on TV. However, it is equally important in many ways as you are hoping that a judge will set a reasonable bail so that you can leave freely as you prepare for trial. It is true that Article 1, Section 14 of the Wyoming Constitution requires that courts not apply excessive bail. But the judge determines what that means based on your case and how you present yourself at the hearing. The judge may allow you to make a statement and present witnesses. Why would you need witnesses at a bond hearing? Because it helps to have another vouch for you. The hearing is an opportunity for others to show that you have ties in the community and a job you need to attend to, for instance. Mainly you need to prove to the judge that if they allow you out on bond, you will not run off and are worthy of the lowest bond possible. It is the job of a strategic, pragmatic, and focused criminal defense lawyer to help you with this process. WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A WY ATTORNEY FOR A BOND HEARING You likely would not dare attend any other criminal hearing without a defense attorney. After all, criminal proceedings are serious business. You are dealing with judges, lawyers, court staff, and more. By that same line of thought, a bond hearing is also a court proceeding. Even if you are feeling confident that you can handle it on your own, you should think twice about doing so. It takes proper legal training to understand the process of: Presenting information to a court, Questioning witnesses, Knowing how to combat prosecutors, and Handling tough questions from judges. A Wyoming criminal defense lawyer with a background in representing clients in these matters is your best resource in dealing with bond hearings in Wyoming. Without legal training, it is very difficult for an accused person to handle all that goes on in a bond hearing. Even lawyers in other legal specialties contact an experienced defense lawyer to come to represent them or their clients in bond hearings. COWBOY COUNTRY CRIMINAL DEFENSE: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS, EXPLAINING YOUR OPTIONS Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is owned by Attorney Jeremy Hugus. We represent people in all types of criminal cases in Casper and throughout Wyoming. Contact our firm for any criminal defense needs. We can protect your future and help you take back the reins.
Consult a Sophisticated and Accomplished Wyoming Criminal Defense Lawyer for Advice If You Have Concerns About Punishments for White-Collar Crime White-collar crime is under the microscope more now than ever before. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agents work together closely to investigate and prosecute white-collar crimes. Incredibly, the United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming estimated that prosecutors dedicated 8% of their workload to investigating and prosecuting white-collar criminals. The figure does not account for all the white-collar criminal cases pursued by Wyoming state prosecutors. Moreover, the general public takes a harsh stance on white-collar crime and often wants people convicted of white-collar crime to receive severe punishments. You are undoubtedly in a tough spot if you are under indictment or were charged with white-collar crimes. You have options, but you must understand the white-collar crime punishment severity you face before deciding which course of action you should take. Having a tough, aggressive, and knowledgeable Wyoming white-collar criminal defense lawyer by your side could make the difference for you and your future. What Is White-Collar Crime? White-collar crime is a generic term used to describe a broad range of criminal offenses. White-collar crime, by definition, is non-violent. Moreover, financial gains often motivate people who allegedly commit white-collar crimes. Examples of white-collar crime include: Insurance fraud,Tax fraud,Tax evasion,Credit card fraud,Theft,Internet fraud,Money laundering,Bankruptcy fraud,Embezzlement,Computer fraud,Internet crimes,Bribery,Ponzi schemes,Healthcare fraud, Mortgage fraud, andInvestment fraud. Other crimes may fall under this broad range of offenses described as white-collar by the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Wyoming. Both local and federal authorities can investigate and prosecute white-collar crimes. Motives for Committing White-Collar Crime Typically, the white-collar criminal is a business person who has no record but has some sophisticated knowledge of their business. Their in-depth understanding of the inner workings of their industry helps them clandestinely conceal their fraud. People commit white-collar crimes because they see an opportunity to steal money and not get caught. Commonly, people begin stealing from their employers, organizations, or individuals because of greed, jealousy, or avarice. Some might have financial problems as a result of gambling or substance abuse. Whatever the motive, white-collar crime can have a disastrous effect on a person’s business. White-Collar Crime Jail Sentences Under Wyoming state law, theft, which included embezzlement, is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison for a felony. Prosecutors can pursue felony charges if the stolen property has a value exceeding $1,000. Otherwise, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months in jail and a fine of no more than $750. The potential sentences vary depending on the type of white-collar crime. Generally, the maximum penalty for a white-collar felony in Wyoming is 10 years, but exceptions could apply to your case. Additionally, judges can stack prison sentences and order that you serve them “from and after.” How Do Wyoming Judges Determine White-Collar Crime Severity? At one time, people convicted of white-collar crimes received little to no punishment. That is no longer the case. Many people convicted of white-collar crime, including celebrities and well-known people, have spent time behind bars for convictions classified as white-collar crimes. Not only did they end up in jail, but they had to pay enormous fines and participate in post-release supervision services. Judges must consider several factors when determining an appropriate sentence for a convicted offender. Most people who face white-collar crime allegations have no prior criminal history. Sentencing judges must consider the facts alleged by the prosecution. More egregious cases will convince judges to impose the harshest sentences. These sentences could include maximum prison time, probation, and a restitution order. A sentencing judge may exercise leniency if the accused expresses remorse and offers to repay the stolen money. However, most of the money is typically gone by the time law enforcement officers complete their investigation. Typically, people convicted of white-collar crimes cannot pay full restitution because they stole more than they could ever repay. Federal and state prosecutors may seek to have the accused forfeit any proceeds of white-collar crime. Asset forfeiture disgorges the ill-gotten gains from the accused. Volunteering to forfeit assets acquired by fraudulent means could convince a sentencing judge to impose a lighter sentence. Collateral Punishments for White-Collar Crime Anyone convicted of a white-collar crime might have difficulty regaining employment. Employers will find it difficult to trust someone convicted of fraud. Additionally, a professional licensee such as a lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, or broker will assuredly face professional discipline. The social stigma associated with a white-collar criminal conviction should not be underestimated. Losing the ability to work in your professional industry can shatter your stature in the community. Additionally, any person who is not a citizen of the United States and receives a conviction for a white-collar crime faces denial of naturalization rights, potential deportation, and other immigration consequences. Avoid Punishments for White-Collar Crime with a Skilled White-Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer If you are the subject of a police investigation or face white-collar criminal charges, you must act immediately. Engaging a highly skilled and top-rated Wyoming criminal defense lawyer to represent you could help you avoid any white-collar crime jail sentence. Call attorney Jeremy Hugus and his team with Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today at 307-333-7884 to learn more about your potential defenses and how to avoid punishments for white-collar crime.