Wyoming Domestic Violence Laws

Learn how Wyoming defines domestic abuse and what the penalties are for domestic assault, battery, and related crimes.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated May 03, 2024

In Wyoming, acts of domestic violence can result in criminal penalties, restraining orders, warrantless arrests, and firearm restrictions, among other penalties. This article will discuss Wyoming's criminal penalties and policies that aim to prevent and punish domestic violence crimes and protect victims.

What Is Domestic Abuse in Wyoming?

A person commits domestic abuse by harming, threatening to harm, or attempting to harm a "household member." These can be acts of physical or sexual harm, acts that unreasonably restrain another's personal liberty, or acts that cause another to fear imminent physical harm.

Household members include:

  • current and former spouses
  • persons who live or have lived together as if married
  • adults sharing common living quarters
  • parents and their adult children
  • persons who share a child together, and
  • current and former dating partners.

Anyone suffering domestic abuse can ask the court for an order of protection that directs the abuser to refrain from contacting or harming them.

(Wyo. Stat. §§ 35-21-102, 35-12-105 (2024).)

What Are Domestic Violence Crimes in Wyoming?

Wyoming has several crimes specific to harm committed against a household member, including domestic assault, domestic battery, strangulation, and violation of an order of protection. Other crimes commonly associated with domestic violence include stalking, false imprisonment, and reckless endangerment, to name a few. When committed against a household member, these crimes count as domestic violence offenses for purposes of enhancing future charges (see Domestic Assault and Domestic Battery penalties below).

Below are summaries of common domestic violence crimes and their penalties in Wyoming.

What Are the Penalties for Domestic Assault in Wyoming?

A person who unlawfully attempts to injure a household member commits domestic assault. So, if a husband takes a swing at his wife but misses, he has committed domestic assault. (To be an assault, the offender must have the ability to cause another harm.)

Domestic assault carries misdemeanor penalties of up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. If the defendant has a prior domestic violence conviction, the possible jail sentence increases to one year. The law allows a judge to place a defendant on probation but with an extended term of up to three years (rather than one year).

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-510 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Domestic Battery in Wyoming?

Domestic battery charges apply if a person uses physical force against a household member and causes bodily injuries. Bodily injuries include pain, bruises, swelling, cuts, abrasions, burns, temporary disfigurements, and physical impairments.

A first conviction for domestic battery is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. If it's a defendant's second domestic violence conviction in five years, the possible jail sentence increases to one year and the fine to $1,000. A third conviction in 10 years makes it a felony with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $10,000. Similar to domestic assault, judges who allow probation can extend the typical one-year term to three years.

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-511 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Battery in Wyoming?

A prosecutor can file charges for aggravated assault and battery if a defendant:

  • causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injuries to another under circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life
  • causes or attempts to cause bodily injuries to another with a deadly weapon (including a firearm)
  • threatens to use a brandished deadly weapon against another (not in self defense), or
  • causes bodily injuries to a pregnant woman.

A person convicted of aggravated assault and battery faces up to 10 years in prison.

Bodily injuries include pain, bruises, swelling, cuts, abrasions, burns, temporary disfigurements, and physical impairments. Serious bodily injuries are those that create a substantial risk of death or cause any of the following: severe and prolonged physical pain, severe disfigurement, prolonged loss of a body function, unconsciousness, second- or third-degree burns, or a significant fracture or broken bone.

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-502 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Strangulation of a Household Member in Wyoming?

A conviction for strangulation carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. This crime occurs if a person tries to impede the normal breathing or blood circulation of a household member by applying pressure to their throat or neck or blocking their nose and mouth.

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-509 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Violating an Order of Protection in Wyoming?

Any person restrained from contacting or harming a household member under an order of protection commits a crime by violating the terms of the order. A willful violation is a misdemeanor with a possible six-month jail sentence and a $750 fine.

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-4-404 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Stalking Crimes in Wyoming?

Stalking crimes generally involve repeated harassing conduct targeting a specific victim. The harassing conduct can be verbal or written threats, vandalism, nonconsensual physical contact, or anything the defendant knows or should know would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or fear for their safety, another's safety, or destruction of their property.

A person who engages in this harassing conduct by repeatedly making, sending, or posting communications or by following, monitoring, or tracking another commits stalking. A stalking conviction carries misdemeanor penalties of a year in jail and fines, unless any of the following apply—the defendant:

  • has a prior stalking conviction
  • caused serious bodily injuries to the victim
  • violated an order of protection, or
  • violated a condition of bail, probation, or parole.

These stalking offenses carry up to 10 years of prison time.

(Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-506 (2024).)

Arrest and Firearm Restrictions for Domestic Violence Cases in Wyoming

In addition to possible incarceration and fines, Wyoming law imposes the following conditions for domestic abuse cases.

Warrantless Arrests in Domestic Violence Cases

Wyoming police officers can make a warrantless arrest if they have probable cause to believe a suspect committed a domestic assault or battery or violated an order of protection. The officer doesn't need to witness the crime to make the arrest. Upon arrest, the officer can bring the person into custody to await seeing a judge for pretrial release decisions.

(Wyo. Stat. § 7-20-102 (2024).)

Firearms Restrictions in Domestic Violence Cases

Anyone subject to a final order of protection cannot possess a firearm while the order is in effect. A violation is a crime under federal law. Possessing a firearm may also violate the order of protection.

A judge can restrict the ability to possess firearms as a condition of bail or pretrial release. Violating this condition can result in arrest, detention, bail revocation, and additional criminal charges.

Finally, anyone convicted of a felony will be a prohibited person under state and federal laws. Penalties vary depending on the violation.

(Wyo. Stat. §§ 6-8-102, 35-21-105 (2024); Wyo. R. Crim. P. 46.1 (2024); 18 U.S.C. § 922 (2024).)

Talk to a Lawyer

If you face charges for domestic violence or were served with an order of protection, talk to a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and what's at stake, as well as defend your case.

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