If you face a strangulation charge, you should consider an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you.
Strangulation is a serious felony charge in Nebraska.
It carries a harsher penalty than other kinds of domestic assault, which are misdemeanor crimes.
Strangulation causing serious bodily injury is in the same class of crimes as manslaughter and assault in the second degree.
In addition, strangling an intimate partner is a federal felony. Because a strangulation charge can seriously threaten your liberties, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What Is Strangulation?
It only takes 11 pounds of pressure placed on both carotid arteries for 10 seconds to cause unconsciousness. Only 33 pounds of pressure is required to close off the trachea completely.
When cut off from oxygen, brain death can occur within four to five minutes. Strangulation can cause permanent trachea damage, soft tissue damage, seizures, or changes in behavior.
Internal injuries can become life-threatening even days after the incident.
Although people commonly use “choking” to mean the same thing as “strangulation,” choking legally occurs when a foreign object enters the throat and blocks the airway.
On the other hand, strangulation is an assault on another person from pressure applied to the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth.
To convict a person of a felony strangulation charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:
- Knowingly or intentionally;
- Caused bodily injury to another;
- By impeding the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying pressure to the throat or the neck or by blocking the nose or mouth.
The state can convict for strangulation even if no visible injury occurred, which is typical. If the state proves all three elements, the conviction is a Class IIIA felony.
The maximum punishment is three years imprisonment and 18 months post-release supervision, or a $10,000 fine, or both. Additionally, the state may order you to pay restitution to the victim.
It is also common for the state to charge you with other crimes in addition to strangulation, such as assault, or false imprisonment.
What Is Aggravated Strangulation?
A strangulation charge in Nebraska can become a Class IIA felony if the state finds aggravating factors were present during the crime. The state recognizes these aggravating factors:
- Using or attempting to use a dangerous instrument;
- Causing serious bodily injury; or
- Having a previous conviction for strangulation.
A Class IIA felony carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Nebraska defines serious bodily injury as “bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, or which involves substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body.”
Remember, any act that impedes normal breathing or restricts blood flow is enough for the state to find criminal strangulation.
Domestic Violence Strangulation Charges
Of all women reporting domestic violence between 1960 and 2014, 3.0% to 9.7% reported that an intimate partner had strangled them.
As part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Congress added strangulation of a domestic partner to the definition of federal criminal assault.
Under this law, “strangling” includes impeding the normal breathing or blood circulation by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly applying pressure to the throat or neck, regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is any intent to kill or protractedly injure the victim.
The term “suffocating” means:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing of a person;
- By covering the mouth of the person, the nose of the person, or both;
- Regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is any intent to kill or protractedly injure the victim.
The maximum penalty for “strangling, suffocating, or attempting to strangle or suffocate” a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner is a fine of $250,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.
In addition, the federal government punishes domestic violence that does not result in serious injury with a maximum jail sentence of five years.
Further, Nebraska has domestic violence charges beyond a misdemeanor if serious bodily injury occurs.
Peterson Law Office Is Here to Guide You Through the Legal System
Unfortunately, criminal strangulation is extremely common in the U.S. All 50 states currently have some form of criminal law regarding strangulation.
States see strangulation as a serious crime because statistics show that non-fatal strangulation victims are 700 percent more likely to become victims of domestic homicide.
If you’re facing a strangulation charge in Nebraska, Peterson Law Office can help.
When you call our offices for a free consultation, we’ll listen to your story. We’ll explain the charges, penalties, defenses, and possible outcomes for your case.
If someone has wrongly accused you, we will fight aggressively for your defense.
Tom Peterson has handled over 7,000 cases and focuses exclusively on criminal defense. Tom has a record of getting criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
If you’re ready to have Tom take care of your criminal charges, call the Peterson Law Office today.
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