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Domestic Battery by Strangulation

Although any allegation of domestic battery is serious, an accusation for trying to strangle or suffocate another person comes with the harshest penalties. In many of these cases, there is little physical evidence to support the allegation. Nevertheless, officers in the field are trained to make the arrest, even if the officers have doubts about the veracity or credibility of the alleged victim.

Victim advocates point out the difficulties faced by law enforcement officers when investigating cases of strangulation or suffocation because the victims often have no visible injuries whatsoever.

"Many domestic violence offenders and rapists do not strangle their partners to kill them; they strangle them to let them know they can kill them—any time they wish. Once victims know this truth, they live under the power and control of their abusers day in and day out."

Domestic Violence Report 19 (6): 81–100. August–September 2014.

Many of these cases are funneled to specially trained prosecutors in Miami-Dade County who are experienced in prosecuting felony charges for violent crimes, especially when the alleged victim and defendant were previously in an intimate relationship with each other.

In some cases, the prosecutor can even charge the crime as an attempted homicide, particularly when the defendant admits to committing the act of strangulation. The charges can also be upgraded when the victim has well documented internal injuries such as orthopedic injuries, neurological system injuries, vascular injuries, digestive tract injuries, or laryngo-tracheal injuries.

Attorney for Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Miami, FL

E.J. Hubbs can help you find counseling so that you never put yourself back into a position where a false allegation can be made or a conflict will result in an act of violence. He will also reach out to the complaining witness to find out that side of the story.

If you were charged with any form of domestic violence, including domestic violence by strangulation in Miami, FL, or the surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County, then contact a criminal defense attorney at Hubbs Law. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Penalties for Strangulation Domestic Battery in Florida

The crime of domestic battery by strangulation has a Level 6 offense severity ranking under the Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. It is charged as a third degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The court might also impose a requirement that the defendant successfully complete mandatory counseling called the Batterers Intervention Program which lasts for 29 weeks.

Like any crime of domestic violence, the offense cannot be sealed or expunged, even if the court withholds adjudication and a felony conviction is avoided. You are also prohibited from possessing any firearm or ammunition while on probation. Your concealed weapons permit will be revoked if you are convicted of this or any other domestic violence crime.

Florida Statute 784.041(2) sets out the elements of "Domestic Battery by Strangulation" as follows:

  1. intentionally and knowingly impeding the blood circulation or normal breathing of another person against their will;
  2. the act of applying pressure on the neck or throat of the other person or by the blocking of the person's nose or mouth;
  3. the act causes the breathing or circulation impediment created a risk of, or caused, great bodily harm; and
  4. the victim of the act is a family member, household member or dating partner of the defendant.

As the elements of the offense show strangulation is different from choking. The term choking is defined as the blocking of air flow by food or a foreign object in the trachea. On the other hand, strangulation is defined by either reduced blood flow or air flow because of an intentional external compression of the airway or blood vessels in the neck.

Most of these cases involve "manual strangulation" using the hands to squeeze the neck or throat. In some cases, the alleged victim will claim that the defendant used a ligature such as a belt or rope.

Additional Resources

Impact of Strangulation Crimes - Visit the website for the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, a program of Alliance for Hope International. Find information on why strangulation is the most lethal form of domestic violence. With a person is strangled, unconsciousness can occur within seconds and death within minutes. Find studies showing that the odds of becoming a victim of attempted homicide increase seven times for women who have been strangled in the past by their partner. Find the latest statistics available on felony legislation and health consequences. Also find links to scholarly articles on the dangers from strangulation in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence Unit of the Miami Police Department - Visit the website of the Miami Police Department to learn more about the Domestic Violence Unit within the Investigation Division's Criminal Investigations Section. The unit investigates both misdemeanors and felonies involving a family or household member committed by another past or present family or household member. From the website you can download a Victim Rights Brochure in English, Spanish or Creole.

Finding a Strangulation Domestic Violence Lawyer in Miam-Dade County, FL

Strangulation is defined as a form of asphyxia or lack of oxygen to the brain characterized by closure of the blood vessels and/or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck. In recent years, victim advocates have focused on reforming the laws for the crime of strangulation.

Although the penalties are harsh, when the is weak, prosecutors are often forced to drop the charges. In some cases, the prosecutor might consider a pre-trial diversion program so that the defendant does not have to enter a plea in front of the judge and the charge is eventually dropped by the State Attorney's Office in Miami-Dade County, FL. 

For many of the people that contact E.J. Hubbs, the only acceptable outcome is fighting the cases so that the person accused is completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. E.J. Hubbs also represents clients on related charges for aggravated battery on a pregnant female, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault.

If you were charged with a crime of violence, including domestic violence battery by strangulation or suffocation, then call an attorney at Hubbs Law to discuss the facts of your case. Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself against this serious accusation of domestic violence battery.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. 

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