Strangulation

Contact an experienced New York City strangulation crime lawyer immediately if you or a loved is accused of this crime. The Strangulation statute was added to the New York Penal Code only a few years ago. It was formed because legislators believed there was a loophole in the Penal Code that didn't account for certain violent and scary behavior. New York's Assault statute is codified in Article 120. In just about every Assault charge, there is a legal requirement that a person suffer "physical injury" or "serious physical injury" as a result of the perpetrator's actions. However, the purported victim of a strangulation often may show no injuries. Therefore, the Assault statute is not applicable. So in a situation where someone is arrested for choking someone else for a few terrifying seconds, prosecutors were historically stuck between charging Attempted Assault in the Third Degree for the attempt to cause physical injury or Attempted Murder, for the intent to kill the person. Attempted Assault in the Third Degree is a B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Attempted Murder can be punishable by up to 25 years. There was no middle ground. Strangulation allegations occur frequently in the domestic violence situations. The lack of a law that dealt with strangulation specifically was particularly vexing for prosecutors in these situations. Now, prosecutors have this middle ground in situations where a person chokes another person. That middle ground is the strangulation statute.

There are three degrees of Strangulation. The first is Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation (Penal Code Section 121.11). This is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. A person is guilty of this charge when: "with intent to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, he or she either (i) applies pressure on the throat or neck of such person or (ii) blocks the nose of mouth of such person.

The next highest level crime is Strangulation in the Second Degree (Penal Code Section 121.12). A person is guilty of this crime when he commits the crime of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation as it is defined in the above paragraph and when he causes: "stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment." This crime is a class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in jail.

The most serious level of of crime under this statute is Strangulation in the First Degree (Penal Code Section 121.13). A person is guilty of this crime when he commits the crime of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation and when his actions cause "serious physical injury" to the other person. This is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

For any subsection of this crime, there is an affirmative defense that the person who committed the act did so for a legitimate medical or dental purpose.

Strangulation, in all its forms, is a serious accusation. Contact John Buza for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused of this crime.