What Is Domestic Violence by Strangulation?
The state of Florida recognizes a variety of offenses related to domestic violence, each one with its own definitions and penalties. "Strangulation" is defined as the reduced flow of air or blood due to an intentional external compression of the neck or throat. You may either be accused of manual strangulation (using your hands) or using a ligature (such as a rope) to compress the victim’s airway or blood vessels.
To prove Domestic Battery by Strangulation under Florida Law, the prosecution must show that you:
- Intentionally and knowingly impeded the blood circulation or normal breathing of another person against their will
- Applied pressure on the neck or throat of another person or blocked off their nose or mouth
- Risked or caused great bodily harm by impeding someone’s breathing or circulation
- Committed an act of strangulation against a family member, household member, or dating partner
How Does Strangulation Affect a Domestic Violence Case?
Domestic Violence by Strangulation is an entirely separate criminal offense from regular Domestic Violence. As a form of Domestic Violence Battery, your case will likely be assigned to a specific division that only handles domestic violence charges.
Strangulation accusations can also lead to:
- Pre-trial conditions. Due to the high risk of injuries and fatalities in these cases, the State may try to restrict your movements before your case goes to trial.
- Higher penalties. Prosecutors fight aggressively against defendants accused of Domestic Violence Battery, pushing for jail sentences and long probations even for first-time offenders.
- Upgraded charges. If the alleged victim suffered significant injuries from strangulation, a prosecutor might charge the crime as attempted murder.
Penalties for Domestic Violence by Strangulation in Florida
Domestic Battery by Strangulation is charged as a third-degree felony and carries a significant jail sentence. In comparison, Domestic Violence Battery that doesn’t involve strangulation is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months of probation.
If you are convicted or plead guilty to the offense, you could be facing:
- Up to five years in a Florida state prison
- Up to five years of probation
- A fine of up to $5,000
- Mandatory completion of a Batterer’s Intervention Program lasting 29 weeks
- Inability to possess a firearm or ammunition while on probation
- Permanent loss of any concealed weapons permits
- Protection orders barring you from going back to your home or making contact with your children or the alleged victim
- Inability to seal or expunge the offense from your criminal record
Are There Any Defenses Available to Strangulation Charges?
Depending on the circumstances of the incident, there could be several defenses to a charge of Domestic Battery by Strangulation. Common defenses include:
- You were acting in self-defense or defending someone else from being attacked
- The alleged victim is making a false allegation due to hurt feelings, divorce proceedings, spite, or other reasons
- The alleged victim’s injuries were caused by something or someone else
- Your actions that gave rise to the charges were unintentional
- The alleged victim suffered minor injuries that don’t meet the standard of Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Let Us Help Build Your Best Defense
If you think you may be facing a charge of Domestic Violence by Strangulation in Florida, you should speak to a board-certified criminal trial attorney as soon as possible. At Flaherty and Merrifield, we offer free consultations and convenient payment plans to give all defendants a chance to get justice. Call (850) 403-6835 today or fill out our contact form to learn more.