Wyoming Theft Laws Overview

theft laws wyoming

Talk with an Experienced Wyoming Criminal Defense Lawyer to Understand Your Rights Fully If You Face Charges Under Wyoming Theft Laws

Wyoming laws take a hard stance on theft crimes. You could face lengthy jail time along with other penalties for a theft conviction. Therefore, you need to take theft charges seriously. 

Don’t try to take on the government’s lawyers alone. Experienced prosecutors are no match for a person representing themselves. You need a tough, knowledgeable, and skilled criminal defense lawyer to stand up and fight for you.

At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we believe that you are better than the charges you face. Let us help you get the best result possible W when you face a theft charge.

Theft Laws in Wyoming

Theft is the act of taking another person’s property without compensation and with the intent to deprive the owner of the benefit of the property permanently.

It can include stealing or disposing of another’s property in a way that prevents them from using it. The crime can also include holding another person’s property for ransom. The statute covers both goods and services. 

As you can see, Wyoming’s theft law is all-encompassing. It is so broad that receiving stolen property and “fencing” or selling stolen property also falls under the theft statute.

The crimes of shoplifting and theft by false pretenses (obtaining another’s property by knowingly making false representations with the intent to defraud) are also included in this statute.

How Are Theft Laws Different from Robbery Laws in Wyoming?

Theft refers to stealing without resorting to force or violence. Robbery, on the other hand, is taking another person’s property by show of force.

A display of force might include showing a weapon such as a knife or a firearm or threatening to use a knife or firearm to take the person’s property by force. 

Robbery can also include “strong-arm” robbery. A good example of strong-arm robbery is purse snatching. By contrast, theft does not require you to use force to commit.

Theft Penalties Under Wyoming Law

Wyoming theft laws divide the penalties into felonies and misdemeanors. The difference between the two lies in the value of the property or services stolen or the type of item stolen.

No matter which class of crime you face, you may end up in jail, have to pay fines or restitution and be placed on probation. 

When Is Theft a Felony in Wyoming?

The prosecution can charge you with theft as a felony when the value of the property or services is worth more than $1,000.

Additionally, the government can charge you with theft as a felony for stealing a firearm, a swine, a horse, a mule, a sheep, cattle, or a buffalo, no matter the value. 

The maximum prison sentence for theft charged as a felony is 10 years. The judge can order you to pay as much as $10,000 in fines as well as restitution. Additionally, the judge could place you on probation after you get out of prison. 

What Is Misdemeanor Theft in Wyoming?

The theft laws define misdemeanor theft as stealing property or services worth less than $1,000. If convicted, you could go to jail for up to six months and have to pay a $750 fine. The judge could put you on probation for this charge and order you to make restitution to the victims.

Theft by Common Scheme or Transaction

Wyoming law allows the government to add up the stolen property amounts if the thefts occurred during a common scheme. A common scheme or transaction is one continuous enterprise rather than individual thefts. 

Theft by a common scheme is not a separate crime. Rather it is a legal theory that allows the prosecution to build a felony case by adding the stolen property values together.

For example, an employee who steals $50 from a cash register twenty times could face a felony charge under the theory of theft by a common scheme rather than 20 misdemeanor charges. 

Theft by Shoplifting

Shoplifting is stealing from a store and falls under the theft laws of Wyoming. You could face theft by shoplifting charges for either asportation or concealment.

Asportation is a fancy word that just means the act of proceeding past the last point of purchase in the store without paying for the merchandise; it’s when a person takes goods away from a retail store without paying.

The crime of shoplifting by concealment is committed by hiding merchandise on your person or in your belongings while still in the store. 

The prosecution has the burden of proving that you formed the intent to deprive the shopkeeper of the value of the property when walking out of the store or concealing the item.

Accidentally walking out of the store without paying is not shoplifting.

As with general crimes of theft, the value of the property stolen determines whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges. The penalties for shoplifting are the same as for general theft.

Defenses to Theft in Wyoming

Since every case is different, only a thorough analysis of the facts of your case will determine the best course of action for you. Remember that the prosecution bears the burden of proving you guilty. 

If the prosecution cannot prove you were the person caught stealing or that you had the guilty intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, then you could win an acquittal. Sometimes “mistake” is also a valid defense.

This means that the prosecution cannot prove you had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property if you took something you mistakenly thought was yours.

Cowboy Country Criminal Defense Believes in You

We believe that you are better than your worst day. That’s why we fight tooth and nail for justice for our clients. We use our experience, knowledge, and determination to give you the best defense possible.

Call Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today at 307-333-7884 to learn more about how we could best serve you. 

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