Aggravated assault and battery in Wyoming is a felony and consists of:
- intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicting or attempting to inflict serious bodily injury on another person “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life”
- intentionally or knowingly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to a person with a deadly weapon
- threatening to use a deadly weapon against another person, or
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicting bodily injury on a woman who the offender knows is pregnant. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §6-2-502.)
Aggravated Assault and Battery Against a Detention or Corrections Officer
Aggravated assault and battery against a detention or corrections officer also is a felony and occurs when a person being held in jail or prison:
- intentionally and knowingly propels any dangerous substance such as saliva, urine, blood, vomit, semen or feces at a detention or corrections officer or a staff member at the jail or prison, or
- intentionally and knowingly tampers with or alters any item by contaminating the item with a dangerous substance, if the item might be handled or consumed by a corrections officer or a staff member.
If the offender knows that he suffers from “a contagious, life threatening disease” and he commits aggravated assault and battery against a detention or corrections officer with the intention of infecting the victim, the penalty can be significantly enhanced.
The victim must be acting in his capacity as a detention or corrections officer or staff member at the time of the offense, or the offender must commit the offense because of the victim’s status. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §6-2-508(b).)
Strangulating a Household Member
Wyoming's assault and battery statutes also list the crime of strangulation of a household member. This crime is a felony and consists of intentionally and knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to a household member by an act that impedes the victim's circulation or ability to breathe. Household members include spouses, former spouses, adults who live together or previously lived together, parents and adult children, persons who have children together, and persons who are dating or dated in the past. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §6-2-509.)
For more information on assault and battery against a household member, see Wyoming Domestic Violence Laws.
A reckless act is one that is committed, not necessarily with intent to harm another, but without regard for the outcome. Pushing someone out of the way in a crowd so that you can get through, without intending to injure the person, could be considered reckless.
A deadly weapon is any object that, by definition or because of the manner in which it is used, is reasonably capable of causing great bodily injury or death. A gun or knife is, by definition, a deadly weapon. Other objects such as a baseball bat, metal pipe or heavy frying pan also are deadly weapons because they can be used in a manner that will likely cause serious bodily injury or death.
Serious Bodily Injury
Serious bodily injury is defined more strictly in Wyoming than in many other states, and refers to bodily injury which is very severe. The injury must involve a substantial risk of death, a pregnancy miscarriage, severe disfigurement, or long-term loss or impairment of the function of a body part or organ. A beating that causes severe bruising and even a fracture of bones in the face, for example, does not constitute serious bodily injury in Wyoming unless it causes permanent, visible disfigurement of the victim’s face or creates other life threatening complications such as a serious head injury. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §6-1-104.)
Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Battery in Wyoming
- Aggravated assault and battery – up to ten years imprisonment
- Aggravated assault and battery against a detention or corrections officer – up to five years imprisonment or a fine up to $5,000, or both
- Aggravated assault and battery against a detention or corrections officer by an offender with a communicative, life threatening disease – up to ten years imprisonment, and
- Strangulation of a household member – up to five years imprisonment.
A person convicted of aggravated assault and battery in Wyoming must pay restitution to the victim, which involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling, and repair or replacement of damaged property. The sentencing court can waive this requirement only if the court finds that the offender is and will be unable to pay because of lack of resources.
Deferred sentence, suspended sentence, and probation
Wyoming law provides certain alternatives to a jail sentence for a person charged with or convicted of aggravated assault and battery or other felony battery charges.
Deferred sentence. When a court defers a sentence, sentencing is postponed for a period of time on the condition that the defendant successfully complies with the conditions of probation, such as no new arrests or criminal offenses during the conditional period, completing psychological treatment, doing volunteer work in the community and not leaving the state of Wyoming. A defendant may obtain a deferred sentence only once.
If the defendant satisfies all the court’s requirements, the court will discharge the defendant and dismiss the case. The arrest and deferred sentence will be part of the defendant’s criminal record but there will be no conviction on his record. If the defendant fails to satisfy the court’s requirements, the court will order that the case proceed to trial, enter a conviction if the defendant pleads guilty, and impose a sentence.
If a defendant charged with strangulating a household member has no prior felony convictions and no prior domestic violence convictions, the court can defer sentencing before or after the defendant has gone to trial or plead guilty, and place the defendant on probation for up to five years. A deferred sentence is not available to a defendant charged with aggravated assault and battery.
Suspended sentence. If a defendant is convicted of aggravated assault and battery or strangulation of a household member, the court can impose a prison sentence and suspend all or a portion of the sentence, as long as the defendant successfully completes probation and any other conditions the court imposes. A person on supervised probation must meet with a probation officer and comply with conditions of probation such as treatment, maintaining employment and avoiding any further criminal activity or arrests.
Another form of suspended sentence available under Wyoming law involves no prison time but allows the court to impose a fine and place the defendant on probation.
The Value of Good Representation
If you are charged with aggravated assault and battery in Wyoming, the consequences are serious if you are convicted. You will be a convicted felon, and if you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior felony conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. In addition, a conviction for a violent crime can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment. A convicted felon also loses the right to vote and possess firearms, and can lose certain professional licenses. An experienced attorney can determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal of the charges against you, explore plea options, or represent you at trial.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.