Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession. There are a few places where you can find this information:
- first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Wyoming have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
- second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted a protective order. Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- You might want to inform your employer, clergy, family members, and/or your closest friends that you have a protective order in effect so that they can be aware of the restrictions on the abuser.
- Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions about Safety Tips. Advocates at local resource centers can help you design a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. You can find an advocate in your area on the WY Advocates and Shelters page.
I did not get an order of protection. What can I do?
If you are not granted an order of protection, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You will find a list of Wyoming resources on our WY Places that Help page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Safety Tips page.
You may also be able to reapply for an order of protection if you have new evidence to show the court that domestic abuse did occur, or if a new incident of domestic abuse happens after you are denied the order.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
You can call the police immediately, even if you think it is a minor violation. The “willful violation” of a temporary or final order of protection can be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $750.00, or both.1
The abuser can also be held in contempt of court for violating the court order and punished by the judge. To file for contempt, you would file a motion and affidavit for an order to show cause in the court that issued the order of protection.
1 Wyoming Code §§ 35-21-106(c); 6-4-404
Can I change, cancel or extend my order?
Either you or the abuser can file in court to modify (change), terminate (cancel) or extend the order.
To change or cancel your order, either you or the abuser can return to the court that gave the original order and ask a judge to change or cancel it. You or the abuser will have to explain to a judge why the order should or should not be changed or canceled. If the abuser asks to have the order changed or canceled, there will be a hearing. You should go the hearing and explain why a judge should not change or cancel it.
The order may be extended multiple times once upon a showing of “good cause” for additional periods of time, not to exceed three years (for each extension).1 If you would like to extend your order, you will need to return to the court clerk’s office to file for an extension before your order expires.
1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-510, 35-21-106(b)
What happens to my protection order if the abuser goes to jail or prison?
In Wyoming, if during the time that you have a protection order, the judge sends the abuser to jail or to prison; the length of time that the order is in effect gets extended. If the abuser goes to jail partway through the effective length of an order, then the remaining length of the order is paused until the abuser is released. Once the abuser is released, the order will be in effect for the remaining amount of time set out in the order, or for one year, whichever is longer.1 For example, let’s say you get a three-year protection order and then six months later the abuser is sent to prison for five years. When the abuser gets out of prison, your order will still be valid for another two years and six months.
1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-510; 35-21-106(b)