10 Things You Need to Know About Domestic Violence Charges
October 9th, 2023
Domestic violence charges are serious, and a conviction could have lifelong consequences, including fines and jail time, and a profound effect on your family and your life. Once the police have been called to a domestic dispute, prosecutors are unlikely to dismiss the case, even if the victim later decides they do not want to pursue it.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important that you understand the penalties involved and the impact a domestic violence conviction can have on your family and your future.
#1 How Wyoming Defines Domestic Violence
In Wyoming, a person is guilty of domestic violence if they “knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another household member by the use of physical force.” In most cases, domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor. But when domestic violence involves a weapon or strangulation, it can be charged as a felony.
#2 How Domestic Violence Charges Start
Domestic violence cases typically start in one of two ways. Either the alleged victim files a request for a restraining order, or the police were called to your home because of a domestic dispute. If the victim requested a protective order, you will be prohibited from contacting the victim and might be prohibited from returning to your home. If the police were called, you were likely placed under arrest and will be subject to a protective order.
#3 Understanding Who Is a “Household Member” Under Wyoming’s Domestic Violence Statute
For purposes of Wyoming’s domestic violence statute, a “household member” includes:
- A current or former spouse;
- People who currently or previously lived together in a romantic relationship;
- Adults who share living quarters;
- Parents and their adult children;
- People who are currently dating or previously dated;
- People who have a child together.
#4 Penalties for Domestic Violence Assault
Domestic violence assault occurs when a person unlawfully attempts to cause bodily injury to a household member.
A first-time conviction for domestic violence assault carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $750.
If you have been convicted of domestic violence assault within the previous five years, the penalty increases to up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $750.
#5 Penalties for Domestic Violence Battery
Domestic violence battery occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to a household member using physical force.
A first-time conviction for domestic violence battery carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $750.
If you have been convicted of domestic violence battery within the previous five years, the penalty increases to up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have been convicted of domestic battery twice within the past ten years, you face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
#6 Strangulation of a Household Member
Strangulation of a household member occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to another person by impeding their breathing or circulation by applying pressure to their throat or neck or blocking their nose and mouth. Strangulation of a household member is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
#7 Courts View Repeat Offenses as a Pattern of Behavior
After a first-time domestic violence charge, courts will view any repeat offenses as a pattern of behavior. They are more likely to be skeptical of any defenses you raise and will be more likely to impose more severe penalties to protect the community from future domestic violence.
#8 Why You Need a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Prosecutors take allegations of domestic violence seriously, and the penalties for a conviction are severe. Even if you think the case has no merit, you should contact an experienced domestic violence defense team and begin mounting your defense.
#9 Defenses to Charges of Domestic Violence
Common defenses to charges of domestic violence include:
- The accusations are false;
- Your actions do not constitute domestic violence;
- Alternate explanations for the victim’s injuries;
- The violence was a result of the victim’s behavior;
- Self-defense or defense of others; or
- Reasonable doubt.
#10 What to Do After a Domestic Violence Charge
If you have been charged with domestic violence, protect yourself and your rights by:
- Complying with the terms of the protective order;
- Understanding your rights;
- Addressing underlying issues such as substance abuse or anger management;
- Only discussing your case with your lawyer.
Contact Just Criminal Law for Aggressive Defense Against Allegations of Domestic Violence
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Wyoming, you need help from an experienced criminal defense team. We will conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the charges against you, explore potential defenses, and mount an aggressive defense.
To learn more, contact us today to schedule your personalized case review and strategy session.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.
Categories: Domestic Violence Charges