The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault tracked 2,592 reports of domestic violence submitted to various police departments across Wyoming in 2014.
Of those, roughly 44 percent were either unsubstantiated claims or didn’t merit an arrest.
While 56 percent did lead to an arrest of one or more individuals, a good portion of those arrestees were given a second chance or had charges dismissed altogether thanks to superior representation.
Wyoming has no shortage of physical attacks each year, with almost 5,000 simple assaults in 2017 alone.
As defenders of those accused of crimes, Cowboy Country Criminal Defense knows each arrest has its own story, an unusual tale where a defendant and victim purportedly engaged in a scuffle that caused visible injuries to the victim.
Most importantly, it's our job to zealously defend the accused regardless of involvement with one ultimate goal in mind: getting charges dropped.
Wyoming Domestic Violence Laws
To clarify, assaults and domestic violence have similar legal components, yet one involves battering those we don’t know while the other involves violent actions against cohabitants, spouses, love interests and family members living with alleged assaulter.
Simple assault is what Wyoming statute calls the striking of individuals we coexist with.
This could involve kicking, biting, punching, slapping or performing similar acts designed to cause bodily injury.
The battery comes into play when there’s recklessness or intent involved with simple assaults.
An even more serious form of assault, strangulation, involves impeding an individual’s blood flow or depriving an individual of oxygen.
Charges filed against persons accused of simple assault and battery will usually fall under misdemeanors, while strangulation or harsher forms of assault, such as with weapons or other objects, maybe filed as felonies.
Possible Sentences for Domestic Violence
Persons convicted of simple assault or battery under WY Stat § 6-2-511 face the following potential sentences:
- Six months incarceration (which may be suspended), a fine up to $750, or both;
- One year for subsequent offenses that occur within five years of each other, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
- A separate crime, violation of protection order, is a misdemeanor offense punishable by incarceration for not more than six months, a fine of not more than $750.00, or both.
- Imprisonment up to five years, a fine not to exceed $2,000, or both, if subsequent offenses occur within ten years of each other;
- Mainly reserved for child abuse, serious bodily injury offenses, aggravated battery, or reckless endangering.
It’s clear that Wyoming doesn’t take offenses like this kindly, which is the main reason why seeking help from a domestic violence attorney is always advised.
Felonies and other battery charges may impede one’s ability to maintain employment and possess firearms and will blemish an otherwise clean criminal record, which could hamper other areas of life.
Defending Domestic Violence Charges
We approach each case with a renewed sense of urgency, defending those accused of domestic violence, an alleged violation of protection orders and similar family offenses.
This requires an incredible level of skill, patience, and diplomacy – three areas our firm applies to all cases where freedom hinges on passionate representation.
Law enforcement will initiate contact by either presenting defendants with an arrest warrant, by visiting a residence after being called, or by presenting TRO (temporary restraining order) preceded by a letter containing a court date and cause of action.
Say nothing to any law enforcement official; listen to their spoken commands, comply with simple requests, and phone your domestic violence attorney at once.
The exact strategy each firm uses to defend clients accused of battering persons within their home varies. As for Cowboy County Criminal Defense, our approach is as serious, and focused, as the offense you’ve been charged with.
In many cases, we employ the following tactics to assist defendants (not necessarily in order as some cases may have additional or redacted steps):
Challenging validity of charges/arrest
We’ll first challenge the jurisdiction of the arrest, and whether that jurisdiction binds both parties to the case. Additionally, we’ll attack specific codes used to charge defendants, questioning whether the underlying offense applies to the statute quoted. If the prosecution fails to produce evidence backing both scenarios, the case has sufficient grounds for dismissal, pursuant to court rules and other factors.
Once the court agrees the arrest and charges are appropriate, there’s the discovery phase.
Every Wyoming domestic violence arrest, including charges, tests, and evidence collected, gets put into a case file, which is then sent to the prosecuting attorney for formal representation.
An attorney will request the prosecutor allow evidence to be presented for review (‘discovered’) so an accurate defense can be mounted. So, these can range from several pages to several hundred, depending on the amount of evidence collected.
After clawing through the state’s discovery material we'll mount an independent fact-finding investigation of their own.
In domestic violence cases, this means we’re looking for:
- Physical evidence supporting the state’s claim that the defendant struck the alleged victim;
- Uncorroborated statements from witnesses the state may subpoena;
- Evidence that you were actually elsewhere during the alleged incident;
- Evidence that the alleged battering of the victim was an act of self-defense; and
- Whether someone was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Once we’ve concluded our findings, we’ll move forward in one of three distinct manners:
- Request the court to dismiss domestic violence charges as the state failed to provide a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant performed the alleged offense;
- Take the case to trial to fully exonerate the defendant of all charges based on our findings;
- Discuss lesser charges through plea bargaining (usually when both state and defense cases are equally strong, reasonably questionable or ‘on the fence’).
Domestic Violence Charges Are Serious. Is Your Defense?
Your freedom, spotless criminal record and ability to maintain certain rights and privileges hinges on the level of defense your charges receive.
So, investing little time and money into the defense of your charges will render equally undesirable results.
Those who want high-powered representation need look no further than Cowboy County Criminal Defense.