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Domestic Violence Strangulation

Strangulation and suffocation are serious because the symptoms of brain damage can take hours, days or even weeks to develop. As one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence, unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death within minutes.

For years, prosecutors failed to treat strangulation batteries as serious crimes, usually because of the lack of physical evidence. Over the last few years, officers and prosecutors have started to obtain specialized training to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

In 2007, Florida put a special emphasis on non-fatal strangulation and suffocation assaults, by enacting S184(2007-133) / H807. The new legislation provided harsh penalties when strangulation occurs within a domestic relationship.

The problem with strangulation allegations is that there is often a complete lack of evidence to support the allegation. How does the court know whether the victim was strangled or suffocated – if most victims have no visible injury?

Equally important, without any visible injury or other evidence to substantiate the allegation, how does the system people after a false allegation?

Attorney for Strangulation Domestic Violence in Pasco

If you were accused of the serious felony offense of strangulation, then contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in New Port Richey fighting cases throughout Pasco County, FL.

We know that in some of these cases, serious false allegations do occur. False allegations have far-reaching consequences. If you were falsely accused, we can help you gather evidence showing that the allegations are false or exaggerated. 

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the consequences of the strangulation accusation and the best defense that can be used to aggressively fight a false allegation.

Call (813) 250-0500.


Elements of Domestic Violence by Strangulation – Section 784.041(2)(a)

Florida Statute Section 784.041(2)(a) prohibits domestic violence strangulation. To be convicted of the offense at trial, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  • the defendant acted knowingly and intentionally; 
  • against the will of another; 
  • to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood;
  • of a family or household member or a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship;
  • so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by;
  • applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person.

The crime of domestic violence by strangulation does not apply to any act of medical diagnosis, treatment or prescription which is authorized under the laws of this state.


The Difference Between Strangulation and Choaking

Although some people use the terms “strangulation” and “choking” interchangeably, these terms mean different things.

Choking occurs when airflow is blocked by food or a foreign object in the trachea. On the other hand, strangulation involves the reduction of airflow or blood flow to the brain by some external compression of blood vessels or the airway in the neck. 

Strangulation usually occurs manually when a person grips the neck or throat of another person with their hands. Other forms of strangulation involve using a ligature such as a belt or rope.


Penalties for Domestic Battery by Strangulation

The criminal offense of “Domestic Battery by Strangulation” is charged as a third-degree felony which is punishable by a $5,000 file and up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. The crime has a severity ranking of Level 6 for purposes of Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.

The lesser included offense includes either simple battery or domestic battery, a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 12 months in jail.


What Should Happen During Criminal Investigations for Strangulation?

Officers that investigate allegations of strangulation rarely ask the right questions to determine whether strangulation actually occurred in Pasco County, FL. 

Although officers in Pasco County, FL, have special training to investigate these types of cases, they don’t always use that training properly. For

For instance, the officers in Pasco often fail to use specialized documentation forms that prompt them to ask the right questions. Those questions include:

  • How were you strangled?
  • With one hand, two hands, forearm, knee or foot?
  • Was a ligature used?
  • How long did the strangulation occur?
  • Were you also smothered?
  • From 1 to 10, how hard was the suspect’s grip?
  • From 1 to 10, how painful was it?
  • Were multiple attempts made to strangle you?
  • Were multiple different methods used to strangle you?
  • Is the suspect left handed or right handed?
  • Was your held being pounded against the wall, floor or ground?
  • What did the victim think was going to happen?
  • How or why did the suspect stop the strangulation?
  • What was the suspect’s demeanor?
  • What did the suspect’s face look like during the strangulation?
  • Describe any prior incidents of strangulation or domestic violence?

When these types of questions were not asked, important evidence that would support or disprove the allegations is lost.


Additional Resources

Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention – Created in October of 2011 by Alliance for HOPE International, the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention Institute provides training and technical assistance to officers, prosecutors, and judges through web-based education programs and a directory of national trainers and experts.

The Dangers of Strangulation – The article explains that strangulation is serious because the symptoms of brain damage can take hours, days or even weeks to develop. When a person is strangled, unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death may occur within minutes.


This article was last updated on Friday, August 17, 2018.

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