Strangulation Charge Defense in New York City
Accused of Strangulation? Get an NYC Criminal Lawyer!
The New York State Legislature has addressed the issue of strangulation by making it a new crime under New York Penal Law §121.12 in November 2010.
This law makes it a felony offense to choke another person (or strangle them) with the intention of halting their ability to breathe, or impeding their blood flow to the point of putting the victim into a stupor, or otherwise causing any type of physical injury.
This crime under the new law came into existence through heavy lobbying by domestic violence advocates who maintained that during a domestic dispute,
if choking or strangling took place, the individual who committed the strangulation could get away with only a misdemeanor charge if the alleged victim did not lose their lives.
New York - Misdemeanor & Felony Strangulation
As the law currently stands, there are 3 degrees of the crime. The first level is a Class A misdemeanor. These are cases in which it is alleged that an individual is guilty of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and no damage has taken place to the alleged victim.
When the crime involves the loss of consciousness (for any period of time), stupor, or any physical injury or impairment, the crime will be filed as a class D felony, and is called "strangulation in the second degree."
Strangulation in the first degree is a hate crime specified offense, (increased penalties) and is when there has been a serious physical injury or impairment as the result of the act of strangulation, and is a class C violent felony offense.
There is one other part of the law in which a valid defense is that the strangulation was for a medical or dental purpose.
Until recently there had been no felony trials in New York for strangulation, but recently the New York City criminal defense law firm H. Benjamin Perez & Associates, P.C. successfully defended what is believed to have been the first New York felony trial under the new law.
There are countless cases pending, and many are facing very serious penalties if they do not manage to find a lawyer that knows how to defend against this type of crime in court.
There were over 2,000 arrests in the state under the new strangulation charge in the first 15 weeks that the law was enacted. Strangulation has become a common criminal charge in domestic violence cases, and the penalties are now far more severe than those that were imposed prior to the change in the law.
What to Do if Accused of Felony Strangulation in NY
Searching for an attorney for a strangulation case in New York City? You can expect to spend a lengthy sentence in state prison for this felony if you are found guilty. You can lose access to your home, your personal possessions, and your children.
The impact on the life of the accused is often extensive, even prior to the trial taking place.
How your case is managed is extremely important, and at our firm you can expect to have legal representation that takes your case seriously and will do everything possible to assist you, both in negotiations with the prosecuting attorney and at trial.
We are NYC criminal defense lawyers, and will carefully evaluate every piece of evidence, and if your case makes it to court, you can expect that your rights will be zealously protected and that an effective defense strategy will be in place throughout the proceedings.
We believe in our clients and we are on their side. We know how to fight, and are prepared to do so when we represent a client charged with any degree of strangulation.
Can a Strangulation Charge be Dropped?
If you or someone you know has been charged with strangulation in New York, it may be possible to have the charge dropped under certain circumstances.
One potential defense is that the alleged victim was not strangled. This may be the case if the victim has a medical condition that can mimic the symptoms of strangulation, such as a panic attack or asthma. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to impede the victim's breathing or blood circulation. The charge may be dropped if the prosecution cannot establish this element of the offense.
Another potential defense is that the defendant acted in self-defense or defense of others. To use this defense, the defendant must have reasonably believed that they or someone else was in imminent danger of physical harm and that using force was necessary to protect themselves or others.
In some cases, a plea bargain may be negotiated with the prosecutor. This may involve the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for dropping the strangulation charge. However, it is essential to note that this option may only be available in some cases. The defendant should carefully consider the potential consequences of a plea bargain before agreeing to one.