Consent Laws
Wyoming

Last Updated: March 2020
Defining Consent Answer

How is consent defined?

Consent is not defined by statute. However, case law suggests that in order for a person to consent to sexual intercourse, the person must be in a position to exercise independent judgment about the matter. Wilson v. State, 655 P.2d 1246 (Wyo. 1982).

Does the definition require "freely given consent" or "affirmative consent"?

No.






Capacity to Consent Answer

At what age is a person able to consent?

17 years old. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-316.

Does difference in age between the victim and actor impact the victim's ability to consent?

Yes, depending on the age difference between the victim and actor, the actor may be guilty of sexual abuse of a minor in varying degrees:

    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree if:
      • Being 17 years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is 13, 14 or 15 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor;
      • Being 16 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact of a victim who is less than 13 years of age;
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than 18 years of age and the actor is the victim's legal guardian, an ancestor or descendant or a brother or sister of the whole or half-blood; or
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than 16 years of age and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-315.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree if:
      • Being 16 years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than 13 years of age;
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than 18 years of age, and the actor is the victim's legal guardian or an ancestor or descendant or a brother or sister of the whole or half-blood;
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than 16 years of age and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-314.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-316.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree if:
      • Being 17 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is 13, 14 or 15 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor;
      • Being 20 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual intrusion with a victim who is either 16 or 17 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor, and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim;
      • Being less than 16 years of age, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than 13 years of age, and the victim is at least 3 years younger than the actor; or
      • Being 17 years of age or older, the actor knowingly takes immodest, immoral or indecent liberties with a victim who is less than 17 years of age and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-317.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree if:
      • Being less than 16 years of age, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years of age, and the victim is at least 3 years younger than the actor; or
      • Being 20 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is either 16 or 17 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor, and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.

Does elderly age impact the victim’s ability to consent?

No.

Does developmental disability and/or mental incapacity impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, any actor who inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim commits a sexual assault in the first degree if the actor knows or reasonably should know that the victim through a mental illness, mental deficiency or developmental disability is incapable of appraising the nature of the victim's conduct. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-302.

Does physical disability, incapacity or helplessness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, any actor who inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim commits a sexual assault in the first degree if the victim is physically helpless, and the actor knows or reasonably should know that the victim is physically helpless and that the victim has not consentedWyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-302.

“Physically helpless” means unconscious, asleep or otherwise physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-301.

Does consciousness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person who is unconscious is deemed to be “physically helpless” and not capable of consenting. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-302; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-301.

Does intoxication impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, if the intoxication makes the victim “physically helpless” or have a mental illness, mental deficiency or developmental disability that makes them incapable of appraising the nature of their conduct. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-301; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-302.

Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, there are special rules for persons deemed to be in a “position of authority” over the victim that will impact the victim’s ability to consent.

Position of authority” means that position occupied by a parent, guardian, relative, household member, teacher, employer, custodian or any other person who, by reason of his position, is able to exercise significant influence over a person. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-301.

Depending on the age difference between the victim and actor, an actor in a position of authority over a victim may be guilty of sexual abuse of a minor in varying degrees:

  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-308.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree if:
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than 16 years of age.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-315.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree if:
      • Being 18 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is less than 16 years of age.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-316.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree if:
      • Being 20 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual intrusion with a victim who is either 16 or 17 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-317.
    • An actor commits the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree if:
      • Being 20 years of age or older, the actor engages in sexual contact with a victim who is either 16 or 17 years of age, and the victim is at least 4 years younger than the actor.





Defenses Answer

Is consent a defense to sex crimes?

Yes, provided that:

  • (a) the victim voluntarily consented to the act by word or conduct, and the victim had the present ability to consent; or
  • (b) the defendant could not reasonably have known that victim lacked that ability. Wilson v. State, 655 P.2d 1246 (Wyo. 1982).

Also, 

  • Marriage - The fact that the actor and the victim are married to each other is not by itself a defense.
  • and Consent is not a defense to sexual assault in second and third degree if spouses. W.S.1977 § 6-2-307

Is voluntary intoxication a defense to sex crimes?

Not specified.









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