What is the legal definition of stalking in Wyoming?
Stalking is when, with the intention to harass you, the stalker commits acts (engages in a “course of conduct”) that is reasonably likely to harass you.1
“Harass,” in this context, means committing repeated actions that are directed at a specific person, such as verbal threats, written threats, lewd or obscene statements or images, vandalism, physical contact without your consent, or other actions. The stalker must know (or should know) that these actions would cause a “reasonable person” to suffer one of the following:
- substantial emotional distress;
- substantial fear for one’s own safety or for the safety of another person; or
- substantial fear for the destruction of one’s property.2
The “course of conduct” that the stalker must commit includes, but is not limited to, any combination of the following:
- in a harassing manner, communicating with you (or causing someone else to communicate with you) verbally, electronically, mechanically, by telephone, or in writing - this includes anonymous communications;
- following you;
- placing you under surveillance by waiting outside your home (unless you live with the stalker), school, workplace, vehicle, other place where you are; or
- committing other repeated acts that harass you.1
1 Wyoming Code § 6-2-506(b)
2 Wyoming Code § 6-2-506(a)(ii)
What is the legal definition of sexual assault?
For the purposes of getting an order of protection, sexual assault is defined as committing, attempting to commit or conspiring with another person to commit any of the following:
- sexual assault (in the 1st degree or 2nd degree);
- sexual abuse of a minor (in the 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree or 4th degree); or
- soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations.1
1 Wyoming Code § 7-3-506(a)(3)
Who can file for an order of protection against stalking or sexual assault?
A petition for an order of protection based on stalking or sexual assault can be filed by:
- the victim;
- the district attorney on behalf of the victim, with the victim’s consent; or
- any person with legal authority to act on behalf of the victim if the victim is:
- a minor;
- a vulnerable adult, as defined by law; or
- any other adult who, because of age, disability, health or inaccessibility, cannot file the petition.1
Note: You can file for this order regardless of whether or not you reported the stalking or sexual assault to the police. The abuser does not have to be arrested, charged or convicted for you to file for (and receive) an order of protection.2
1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(a)
2 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(e)
What protections can I get in an order of protection?
An ex parte temporary order or a final order can order the abuser to:
- not commit any further acts of stalking or sexual assault involving you or any other person;
- stay away from your home, school, business, workplace, or any other location;
- not intimidate, threaten, or otherwise interfere with you, your family or household members, or other specific person(s) named in the order; and
- not contact you, your family or household members, or other specific person(s) named in the order through telephone calls, mail, e-mail, texting, fax, social media, or any other form of communication.1
1 Wyoming Code §§ 7-3-509(a); 7–3–508(b)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.