Rule 3 of the Wyoming Criminal Procedure offers details on indictment, the filing of a declaration and citations. It states that generally, the legally preferred mode for the prosecution of offenses is through an indictment, the filing of an accusatory affidavit or a citation in case of minor offenses.
An indictment: This refers to a session held in front of the grand jury where the prosecution presents its case against an accused. The jurors are to decide on the culpability at this point not so that the alleged offender may be punished but to ensure that there is enough merit in the case to bring in the prosecution power of the state.
A complaint: This is the term used to indicate the declaration filed in court when seeking Wyoming arrest warrants. It will help to understand here that arrest warrants can not only be sought after the due process of determining probable cause but also a detention directive may be requested at the return of indictment and before it, if law enforcement feels that letting the accused roam about in the community may endanger the victim or the society at large or that there is a risk of this offender absconding before trial is initiated against him.
When a complaint is brought before the tribunal, the magistrate carefully studies the evidence presented in writing and if need be also the witness testimony to ascertain that there is enough ground to hold the accused culpable for the crime defined in the charge sheet. Only after this deliberation phase can an active warrant be released.
Citation: These are orders for appearance that are generally issued by law enforcement agents. When a peace officer is a witness to a minor misdemeanor, he can issue a citation to order that the accused present himself in court or arrest this person on the spot. A citation is generally issued when the cop knows with reasonable certainly that the offender will honor the citation and appear in court.
Bench warrants: These are arrest orders which are issued without a probable cause affidavit. Generally brought into use by civil tribunals, bench warrants are frequently used against offenders who are in contempt of court. To explain this further, bench orders for arrest are used when the terms of bail are violated or the defendant does not obey a court order.
Summons: These are court issued appearance directives. Summonses are granted in criminal matters at the discretion of the magistrate. These orders are typically released when there is considerable certainty that the accused will appear in court of his own volition without having the need to order his arrest.
Subpoenas: Also, orders for appearance, subpoenas are issued in the name of the witnesses and not the accused. Subpoenas get released by the office of the clerk of court or the prosecution's attorney.
Search warrants: These are orders that allow police officers to enter a privately owned property to either search it or to arrest an offender who is hiding in the premises and there is a warrant to take this person in. Search warrants are always released on the basis of a probable cause instrument filed in court.
Active warrants for arrests can be served in any part of the state and by any police officer, not just those who are named in the order. In fact, if the crime is particularly heinous, the warrant can be served by any peace officer in the country. Law enforcement agents are allowed to forcefully gain entry into a property to effect such arrests.
Also, they can go beyond the geographical boundary of their own county and request the assistance of another sheriff's department in their pursuit of the offender. Arrests under criminal warrants can occur at any time of the day or night and these can take place in a public place or a privately owned property.
Wyoming is a closed records state; what this means is that only certain employers and law enforcement agencies can get access to crime history data. As far as civilians interested in a warrant search are concerned, they can only request information on personal crime history and not that of a third party.
You can, however, get access to the court dockets database held by the clerk of court's office. This repository can prove useful when looking for information on civil court records. Yet, it would be futile to try to find a criminal warrant through this system.
If you need a personal background report, you can get in touch with Attorney general's Office of Wyoming. A $15 fee is charged for a state wide report and another $24 is applicable if you need FBI results as well. To initiate the inquiry, you will need to send fingerprint cards to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, 315 West 22nd Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002 with the $15 check or money order.
For information on how to get yourself fingerprinted, visit the agency website at http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/dci/chc.html. If you are a victim of a crime, you can keep a tab on the movement of the perpetrator through the state correctional system by writing to the DOC at 1934 Wyott Drive, Suite 100Cheyenne, WY 82002. Not even the most wanted list for the state or county is made accessible to the public, so if you need details on arrest records and warrants in WY, you will need to connect with an online information vendor that is privately owned and operated.