Wyoming is possessed of uniformly excellent self-defense laws, including a robust stand your ground statute.
Citizens in Wyoming may use force and self-defense, including deadly force, so long as it is reasonably necessary to stop a corresponding level of unlawful force used against them, or the commission of certain forcible felonies, namely home invasion, carjacking, and kidnapping.
Read on it to get the full scoop concerning Wyoming’s stand your ground law and be sure to check out the exact text of the state statutes at the end of this article.
What You Need to Know
Citizens in Wyoming are permitted to use force in self-defense, including deadly force so long as it is necessary to stop the threat of death or great bodily injury.Citizens who use force in self-defense have no duty to retreat so long as they are in any place they lawfully have a right to be.Defenders are presumed to have had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury in case an intruder is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering their home or habitation or such an unlawful entry had already occurred.
There is much to like about Wyoming’s laws governing self defense, namely the fact that they are clear, strongly worded to support the side of the defender and contain a strong stand your ground and castle doctrine statute.
In short, citizens in Wyoming may use force to protect themselves or someone else from harm, and deadly force may be used in self-defense in case there is a reasonable fear that they or someone else could be facing death or serious bodily injury.
Deadly force may also be used to protect someone’s occupied home or other dwelling and the defender is further presumed to have had a fear of death or great bodily injury in case an intruder is both unlawfully and forcefully entering said dwelling, or had already entered said dwelling accordingly.
Even better, citizens have no obligation to retreat from any place they have a legal, lawful right to be.
As might be expected, the use of force and self-defense cannot be claimed as justification in case a citizen is the initial aggressor or antagonist in the encounter, is present anywhere unlawfully or where they do not have a lawful right to be or is committing or furthering the commission of any crime.
Wyoming’s self-defense laws greatly favor the defender. Citizens have no duty to retreat when using force in self-defense so long as they are in any place they have a right to be, and proportional force may be used against unlawful force, up to and including deadly force.
Relevant Wyoming Use of Force Statutes
(a) As used in this act, unless otherwise defined:
(i) “Bodily injury” means:
(A) A cut, abrasion, burn or temporary disfigurement;
(B) Physical pain; or
(C) Impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty.
(iii) “Criminal negligence” is defined as the following conduct: A person acts with criminal negligence when, through a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the harm he is accused of causing will occur, and the harm results. The risk shall be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation;
(iv) “Deadly weapon” means but is not limited to a firearm, explosive or incendiary material, motorized vehicle, an animal or other device, instrument, material or substance, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used is reasonably capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
(v) “Occupied structure” means a structure or vehicle whether or not a person is actually present:
(A) Where any person lives or carries on business or other calling;
(B) Where people assemble for purposes of business, government, education, religion, entertainment or public transportation;
(C) Which is used for overnight accommodation of persons; or
(D) In which a person may reasonably be expected to be present.
(vii) “Person” includes an individual, partnership, corporation, joint stock company or any other association or entity, public or private;
(viii) “Property” means anything of value whether tangible or intangible, real or personal, public or private;
(ix) “Recklessly” is defined as the following conduct: A person acts recklessly when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the harm he is accused of causing will occur, and the harm results. The risk shall be of such nature and degree that disregarding it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation;
(x) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which:
(A) Creates a substantial risk of death;
(B) Causes severe protracted physical pain;
(C) Causes severe disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function;
(D) Causes unconsciousness or a concussion resulting in protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty;
(E) Causes burns of the second or third degree over a significant portion of the body; or
(F) Causes a significant fracture or break of a bone.
(xi) “Vehicle” means any device by which persons or property may be moved, carried or transported over land, water or air;
(xii) “Violent felony” means murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first or second degree, robbery, aggravated assault, strangulation of a household member, aircraft hijacking, arson in the first or second degree, aggravated burglary, a violation of W.S. 6-2-314(a)(i) or 6-2-315(a)(ii) or a third, or subsequent, domestic battery under W.S. 6-2-511(a) and (b)(iii);
(xiii) “Torture”, “torment” or “cruelty” means every act, omission or neglect whereby the willful and malicious infliction of pain or suffering is caused, permitted or allowed to continue when there is a reasonable remedy or relief;
6-1-204. Immunity from civil action for justifiable use of force; attorney fees.
(a) Except as provided by W.S. 6-1-103(a), a person who uses reasonable defensive force pursuant to W.S. 6-2-602 is immune from civil action for the use of the force.
(b) In a civil action filed against a person related to the person’s use of defensive force, the person may file a motion with the court asserting that the person used reasonable defensive force under W.S. 6-2-602. Upon the filing of the motion the court shall hold a hearing prior to trial and shall grant the person’s motion if he proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he used reasonable defensive force under W.S. 6-2-602.
(c) A court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation for any loss of income and all other expenses incurred by a person in defense of any civil action arising from the person’s use of reasonable defensive force pursuant to W.S. 6-2-602 if the court finds that the defendant is immune from civil action under subsection (a) of this section.
6-2-602. Use of force in self defense; no duty to retreat.
(a) The use of defensive force whether actual or threatened, is reasonable when it is the defensive force that a reasonable person in like circumstances would judge necessary to prevent an injury or loss, and no more, including deadly force if necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the person employing the deadly force or to another person. As used in this subsection, “necessary to prevent” includes a necessity that arises from an honest belief that the danger exists whether the danger is real or apparent.
(b) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury to himself or another when using defensive force, including deadly force if:
(i) The intruder against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, another’s home or habitation or, if that intruder had removed or was attempting to remove another against his will from his home or habitation; and
(ii) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring.
(c) The presumption set forth in subsection (b) of this section does not apply if:
(i) The person against whom the defensive force is used has a right to be in or is a lawful resident of the home or habitation, such as an owner, lessee or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;
(ii) The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(iii) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a peace officer or employee of the Wyoming department of corrections who enters or attempts to enter another’s home or habitation in the performance of his official duties.
(d) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter another’s home or habitation is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
(e) A person who is attacked in any place where the person is lawfully present shall not have a duty to retreat before using reasonable defensive force pursuant to subsection (a) of this section provided that he is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in illegal activity.
(f) A person who uses reasonable defensive force as defined by subsection (a) of this section shall not be criminally prosecuted for that use of reasonable defensive force.
(g) As used in this section:
(i) “Habitation” means any structure which is designed or adapted for overnight accommodation, including, but not limited to, buildings, modular units, trailers, campers and tents, but does not include the inmate housing area of a jail, state penal institution or other secure facility under contract with the department of corrections to house inmates;
(ii) “Home” means any occupied residential dwelling place other than the inmate housing area of a jail, state penal institution or other secure facility under contract with the department of corrections to house inmates;
(iii) “Deadly force” means force that is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.