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Legal Information: Wyoming

Restraining Orders

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November 17, 2020

What types of orders of protection are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders of protection against stalking or sexual assault, an ex parte temporary order and a final order.

If a judge believes there exists a clear and present danger of further stalking, sexual assault, or of serious adverse (negative) physical consequences to you, s/he can issue an ex parte temporary order of protection.1 “Ex parte” is Latin for “from one side,” which means that the abuser is not notified ahead of time that the order is being issued and is not present in court. This temporary order will last only until your full court hearing when the abuser has an opportunity to tell his/her side, usually within 72 hours.2

A final order of protection lasts for up to three years . In addition, it can be extended more than once. See Can I change, cancel or extend my order? for more information.

To get a final order, you will have a hearing in front of a judge. Both you and the abuser will have an opportunity to tell your sides of the story at this hearing.

1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–508(b)
2 Wyoming Code § 7–3–508(a)
3 Wyoming Code § 7-3-510(b)

Does it cost anything to file or serve the order? Do I need a lawyer?

There is no fee to file the petition nor a fee for service of process (serving the petition upon the abuser).1  Although you do not need a lawyer, it could be helpful to have one if the petition is not being filed on your behalf by the district attorney.  If you are low-income (indigent), the judge may appoint an attorney to represent you – or you can have your own attorney or you can appear on your own (pro se).  To find contact information for legal services organizations, go to our WY Finding a Lawyer page.  If you are representing yourself, go to our At the Hearing section for tips on how to represent yourself. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.

1 Wyoming Code § 7–3–507(c),(d)

You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.

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 upon a showing of “good cause” for additional periods of time, not to exceed 1 year (for each extension). You must be able to allege specific facts that will convince the judge that a clear and present danger to you continues to exist.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

What is the penalty for violating the order of protection?

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 However, if an abuser is charged with violating the order and proves that you “requested” that the abuser violate the order, this can be a defense to being found guilty.1 For example, if you call the abuser or ask him/her to come over, s/he may not be found guilty of violating the “no contact” or “stay away” provisions.

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 Statutes § 7-3-510(c)
2 Wyoming Statutes § 7-3-509(c)