Just Criminal Law's Christina Williams talks about your second amendment rights, Wyoming's self-defense law, and the castle doctrine.
Hey everybody, Christina Williams here from Just Criminal Law. It's all we do.
Today, I'd like to continue the series on Is That Constitutional? And let's talk about the Second Amendment, Wyoming’s self-defense law, and the Castle Doctrine.
We value all of our constitutional rights, but the Second Amendment here in Wyoming is highly coveted.
Whether you're an avid hunter or you just want to protect yourself or your family,
our citizens value their right to own a gun.
Unfortunately, some criminal convictions can cause you to lose this right, and only a court-ordered expungement can get it back.
Stay tuned, and in an upcoming video, I'll share how we can get that right back for you.
The debate over self-defense and gun laws got a lot of attention this year in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. If you recall, Mr. Rittenhouse was found not guilty after shooting three people and killing two.
Under the law of all 50 states, we are allowed to defend ourselves.
When someone dies in a situation like this, oftentimes, the prosecutor doesn't want to decide if it was justified, so the matter goes to trial.
To alleviate some of the decision-making process, the Wyoming legislature has carved out an
It's long been held that a person's home is their castle, and you're allowed to defend your home. Unfortunately, if you shoot an intruder who's attempting to break into your home or who has broken into your home, you can still face a criminal prosecution and possibly have to go to trial.
Here's how self-defense works, generally if you're not in your home facing an intruder. First, the force you use must be proportionate. That is, if somebody punches you in the arm, you can't turn around and use deadly force on them. That's not proportional.
Second, the threat must be immediate. The person who gets punched in the arm can't
leave the fight, plan their revenge, and then return and initiate a fight again with the initial aggressor.
Third, generally, the person that punched you in the arm can't later claim self-defense if that person gets beat up. You can't initiate the fight and then later claim self-defense.
These principles are not applied if you're facing a home intruder. If someone is attempting to break into your home, and the homeowner uses deadly force, the law presumes that the homeowner was in fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury. Wyoming's Castle Doctrine allows the homeowner who is in this situation and finds him or herself being prosecuted criminally to have a pre-trial hearing.
At this pre-trial hearing, a defense attorney puts on evidence of what happened prior to the intruder being shot. Then, the prosecutor must put on a greater amount of evidence showing
that the homeowner was not acting in self-defense.
If the court finds that the prosecutor did not put on enough evidence, the court can actually dismiss the charge.
This is highly unusual because a court is not usually put in a position to decide whether or not to
This just goes to show you how much Wyoming really values the doctrine that your home really is your castle.
If you, a friend, or family member is facing a criminal charge, plead not guilty until you have the opportunity to talk to a lawyer.
I know after defending people for 15 years, you really only get one shot at justice, one opportunity to make sure your rights are protected.
For a free initial consultation, click the link associated with this video.