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A Wyoming Domestic Violence Conviction Could Mean Loss of Gun Rights

A Wyoming domestic violence charge can be frustrating, and can trigger a complex set of emotions that include anger, fear, and embarrassment. In addition to the emotional consequences of domestic violence allegations and the very real fear of facing possible jail time, you also risk losing your Second Amendment right to bear arms. Find out if a domestic violence conviction could mean loss of gun rights in your case.

What Are the Penalties for a Wyoming Domestic Violence Conviction?

Wyoming domestic violence laws apply to a person who commits an assault or battery against a member of the same household.

Assault occurs when a person attempts to cause physical injury to another person, while a battery is when someone causes injury to another person through the use of physical force.

If this is your first time facing allegations of domestic violence, you will likely be charged with domestic assault or domestic battery, both of which are misdemeanors.

A conviction for domestic assault carries a fine of up to $750. If you have a prior conviction for assault, battery, child abuse, or reckless endangering you also face up to six months in prison.

If you are convicted of domestic battery you face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $750, or both. If you have prior convictions for assault, battery, child abuse, or reckless endangering within the last five years you face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Even though convictions for domestic assault or domestic battery are misdemeanor crimes punishable by less than one year in prison, you also risk losing your Second Amendment right to own or possess a firearm.

Misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are the only type of misdemeanor conviction that take away a person’s constitutional rights.

Does a Wyoming Domestic Violence Conviction Mean I Lose My Right to Own a Gun?

In 1996 Congress expanded the federal law that prohibits convicted felons from owning firearms. Under the expansion, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes are also prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

Victims’ rights advocates who supported the law cite statistics showing that a domestic abuser who owns a gun is five times more likely to kill their victim than when the abuser does not own a gun.

Under federal law, crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors if they:

  • Are defined as a misdemeanor under federal or state law
  • Involve the use of physical violence or force, or include threats made with a deadly weapon, and
  • Were committed by a current or former spouse, a parent or guardian of the victim, a person with whom the victim shares a child, a person living with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or a person who has a similar relationship with a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

The state crime does not need to specifically mention the phrase “domestic violence” to be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor. Rather, courts will focus on the relationship between the victim and the offender in order to determine whether the crime is a domestic violence misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of a Wyoming domestic violence crime, there is a good chance that you will lose your right to own a gun.

Gun Ban for Domestic Violence Offenders Upheld in 2016

In June 2016 the US Supreme Court upheld the 20-year-old federal law that prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges from owning or purchasing a gun.

During oral arguments on the case, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke 10 years of silence on the bench to question whether it was fair to deprive people who are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence of their constitutional right to bear arms.

Gun rights advocates argue that a person should not lose their constitutional right to bear arms for a misdemeanor conviction, and note that a domestic violence conviction is the only misdemeanor that carries the added consequence of losing a constitutionally protected right.

If there is a silver lining, it is that Wyoming allows people convicted of domestic violence to apply for an expungement no less than 5 years after the conviction and request that their gun ownership rights be reinstated.

Wyoming Domestic Violence Charge? The Wyoming Criminal Law Group Can Help

If you are facing charges of Wyoming domestic violence, you risk losing your right to bear arms. Wyoming attorney Christina L. Williams and her team of criminal defense professionals at The Wyoming Criminal Law Group, P.C. can help. Contact us today by calling 307-686-6556, email us at inquiry@wyocriminallaw.com, or by completing our online form.

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.

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