Nouha Dicko made the breakthrough for Kenny Jackett's side after 48 minute before an embarrassing own-goal from goalkeeper Lee Grant sealed Derby's fate.
Wolves captain Danny Batth was fortunate to escape a red card for a first-half foul on Derby striker Darren Bent and they rubbed salt into the wounds by extending their opponents' winless run to six matches.
Jackett's men are now outside the play-off places on goal difference only, and sit just two points behind Steve McClaren's stuttering Derby.
Tom Ince found himself at the centre of controversy this week for rejecting an England Under-21 call-up but the Derby midfielder almost made headlines of a more pleasing nature when he arched a fine 25th-minute attempt against the crossbar.
Tomasz Kuszczak saved well from Ince and Jesse Lingard as County started to establish control of the contest, and the Wolves goalkeeper was involved in a pivotal moment five minutes before half-time.
Batth pulled back Bent as he bore down on goal - the striker going to ground but recovering to net after Kuszczak made a hash of his clearance.
Referee Keith Stroud brought the play back for a free-kick and elected not to send off Batth, much to the fury of Derby manager McClaren.
The ex-England boss would have felt a heightened sense of injustice when Craig Forsyth carelessly gave away possession to Kevin McDonald and midfielder fed Dicko to drive home left-footed.
And Wolves' crucial second arrived in bizarre fashion midway through the second half as Forsyth sliced a clearance high into the air and Grant misjudged the spinning ball, punching into his own net.
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