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Under the statute that took effect in 2010, the charge of “criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation” can be charged as a felony when it is alleged that the strangulation caused physical injury or serious physical injury. See Penal Law § 121.12 and 121.13. Strangulation can involve either applying pressure to the throat or neck of another person or blocking the nose or mouth of another person with the intent “to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood” of that person. See Penal Law § 121.11.

Garden City Strangulation Lawyer

If you are charged with the felony version of the statute for attempted strangulation causing physical injury, then contact an experienced Garden City domestic violence defense attorney at The Law Offices of Stephanie Selloni. We also represent clients in a wide variety of domestic violence charges including assault, and obstruction of breathing and blood circulation. We represent clients charged with a domestic violence throughout Long Island, including the counties of Nassau and Suffolk. Contact us at (516) 972-1212.

Strangulation Information Center for New York Charges

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Impact of the New Law for Strangulation

Strangulation or choking charges are common in domestic abuse cases, although the offense just became a separate crime in New York in late 2010. In the first fifteen weeks after the new statutes for strangulation took effect, more than 2,000 people were arrested for obstruction of breathing or obstruction of blood circulation either with or without any physical injury.

Approximately 60% of those arrests were made in New York City between November 11, 2010, and February 22, 2011. The vast majority of the charges were filed against men. The vast majority of people arrested were in their 20’s. More than 94% of the people arrested were men. The vast majority of the cases (81%) were for misdemeanor charges of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation while 19% of the cases were for felony versions of the strangulation statute. 

Prosecutors complained that prior to the new law taking effect, when the alleged victim did not have any noticeable injuries or bruises, prosecutors were often forced to drop charges or reduce them to less serious charges such as a non-criminal count of harassment. The misdemeanor version of the new statute does not require any physical injury. Although not usually required in misdemeanor cases, anyone convicted of obstructing breathing or blood circulation must submit a DNA to the police.

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Different Types of Strangulation Charges

  • Penal Law Section 121.12 for Strangulation in the Second Degree – Strangulation in the second degree is a class D felony. It provides that “[a] person is guilty of strangulation in the second degree when he or she commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, as defined in section 121.11 of this article, and thereby causes stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment. The statutory maximum penalty for the offense is up to 7 years in prison.
  • Penal Law Section 121.13 for Strangulation in the First Degree – Strangulation in the first degree is a class C felony. It provides that “[a} person is guilty of strangulation in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, as defined in section 121.11 of this article, and thereby causes serious physical injury to such other person. The statutory maximum penalty for the offense is up to 15 years in prison.

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Definition of Physical Injury and Serious Bodily Injury

Definitions that apply to the attempted strangulation statute include:

  • Physical Bodily Injury under P.L.  § 10.00(9) is defined as the impairment of a physical condition or substantial pain. The statute also provides that causing a stupor or loss of consciousness can also elevate the charge to a felony. 
  • Serious Physical Injury under P.L.  § 10.00(10) is defined as physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes death or serious protracted disfigurement, impairment of health, or loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

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Additional Information for Strangulation Charges

Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bulletin on Strangulation– this article from the Spring of 2012 features frequently asked questions about New York’s new law enacted in 2010 against obstruction of blood circulation and breathing (often called “strangulation”). 

A New Crime [for Strangulation], but Convictions are Elusive – article in the New York Times dated February 16, 2013, telling the story from a juror’s perspective of a trial for misdemeanor assault and felony strangulation. 

New York Law Now Makes Choking a Crime, Results in 2,000 Arrests – article dated April 7, 2011, explaining the impact of the new laws against the misdemeanor or felony versions of strangulation and a discussion of recent crime statistics discussing the number of arrests and conviction rates.

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Fighting Attempted Strangulation Charges in Nassau County

If you were charged with obstruction of breathing, obstruction of blood circulation or attempted strangulation in Long Island, then call us about help you fight those serious criminal charges. At the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni, we understand how important it is to quickly begin an aggressive defense. We work hard to protect our clients. Call us at (516) 972-1212 to discuss your charges today for any case in Nassau County, Suffolk County, or the surrounding areas of Garden City.