Battery by Strangulation
The offense of battery by strangulation is taken seriously by St. Petersburg prosecutors. Domestic battery by strangulation is defined as an incident in which a family member or romantic partner chokes a victim with whom there is a domestic relationship. Sometimes victims decide to call the police and press charges, but don’t realize what will happen next. After the police are called, the victim loses control of the situation. The prosecutor will have the power to determine whether criminal charges should be pursued in a domestic battery situation. In Florida, this type of offense is pursued aggressively. A skilled St. Petersburg domestic violence attorney can help you understand and protect your rights.Battery by Strangulation
Domestic battery by strangulation is a crime under Florida Statutes section 784.041(2). It is a third degree felony. To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements: (1) you knowingly and intentionally, (2) prevented the normal blood circulation or breathing of a family or household member or a romantic partner (3) by pressing or otherwise putting pressure on the neck or throat or blocking air to the nose or mouth, such that great bodily harm was risked or caused.
In contrast, a felony battery conviction can be obtained if the prosecutor proves you: (1) intentionally, actually touched or struck, (2) somebody else, (3) against his or her will. Alternatively, this offense can be charged if you caused permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or great bodily harm.
A conviction of battery by strangulation can result in a sentence that involves a maximum of five years of incarceration, five years of probation, and a $5000 fine. It can also include mandatory incarceration where injuries were inflicted, mandatory counseling, and a permanent criminal record. This type of conviction is not eligible for expungement or sealing, and it can haunt you for the rest of your life since criminal records are accessible by members of the public, including prospective employers and landlords. Moreover, there are a number of collateral consequences you could face, including immigration and family law consequences. In addition, you will need to complete a 29-week battering program, your concealed weapons permit will be revoked, and you will have forfeited the right to have a gun while on probation even for a misdemeanor.Defenses
Often there are complex reasons behind a charge of domestic battery by strangulation. Battery by strangulation can be the result of a mutual altercation, or it can arise out of substance or alcohol abuse, quarreling over child custody, injunction proceedings, pending divorces, mental health problems, or vindictive family or friends. It’s important to take a careful approach to domestic battery by strangulation charges because the criminal and collateral consequences are very significant.
It’s important to realize that in a criminal case, the prosecutor bears the burden of establishing the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. A conviction is not assured, but the prosecutor has the full weight and resources of the government behind him or her, making it advisable to find an experienced criminal defense attorney. Sometimes you can raise reasonable doubt about one or more elements of a battery by strangulation charge. For instance, it can be challenging for a prosecutor to establish that your actions were knowing and intentional beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in other cases, you may have more substantive defenses to raise such as challenges to witness credibility, self-defense, defense of others, the victim being mistaken about your identity, the injuries being too trivial to warrant this serious charge, or the injuries being the result of an accident. For example, if a fight arose between you and your spouse, and she came at you with a frying pan, and you were defending yourself by putting your hands against her neck and wound up with a battery by strangulation charge, you might be able to use a self-defense argument.Retain an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you are concerned about charges of battery by strangulation in a St. Petersburg criminal case, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can assess your case. At Hanlon Law, our founder Will Hanlon has provided strong strategic defenses to the accused since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at (727) 897-5413 or via our online form.