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Domestic Battery by Strangulation

Domestic violence defense attorney Tallahassee, Florida

Domestic abuse is a problem that impacts families and couples throughout the country. The type of abuse that is punishable by law can be mental or physical, and often have long lasting effects. In Florida, the violent crime of domestic battery by strangulation is a felony offense that occurs when a family or household member strangles or stops the breathing of a victim.

The crime of domestic battery by strangulation comes with serious direct and indirect consequences. If you are convicted, there could be a lifetime of repercussions, including difficulty finding a job. Even if the court withholds adjudication, the offense is not eligible to be sealed. The only way to expunge the arrest record is if the charges are dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court. While you are on probation, you forfeit your right under both state and federal law to possess a firearm or ammunition. Getting caught in the possession of a firearm post-conviction could result in a felony weapons charges under state or federal law.

The reality of domestic violence cases is that false accusations are more common than most would think. In many of these cases, there is little physical evidence that is left behind. These charges are particularly common when a couple is fighting over money or children. Law enforcement officers often make the arrest based on nothing more than the allegations of the alleged victim. The bright side is that a defense attorney experienced in domestic violence cases can help you combat the charge and avoid a conviction.

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee

Domestic abuse charges carry severe consequences and steep penalties. If you were charged with domestic battery by strangulation, you need an experienced Tallahassee domestic violence attorney fighting to protect your rights. Attorneys at Pumphrey Law will collaborate with you to ensure the best possible outcome.

Contact an attorney at Pumphrey Law Firm by calling (850) 681-7777 to discuss your domestic abuse case. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Tallahassee, Leon County, and the surrounding areas, such as Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Monticello in Jefferson County, Quincy in Gadsden County and Bristol in Liberty County.

Information About Domestic Abuse by Strangulation in North Florida

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Domestic Violence in Florida

Florida’s definitions regarding crimes of domestic violence are defined under Statute Section 741.28:

Domestic Battery by Strangulation Defined by Florida Law

Domestic battery by strangulation is classified as a crime of domestic violence which can apply to individuals who are married, in a dating relationship but never lived together or had a child together, or by a household member.

Florida Statute Section 784.041 explains that domestic battery by strangulation is committed when an individual knowingly and intentionally, and against the will of another person, impeded the normal breathing or circulation, to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by applying pressure on the throat or neck of another person, or by blocking the victim’s nose or mouth.

Important: The law exempts any act of medical diagnosis, treatment, or prescription authorized under Florida law from criminal prosecution.

The following is an example scenario of a domestic battery by strangulation offense:

John and Anne are in a romantic relationship and reside in the same household. One day John comes home to find Anne’s phone display a message from another man. In an enraged state, John grabs Anne by the neck and squeezes enough to block her breathing. Right before Anne passes out from lack of oxygen, John flees their house.

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Elements of Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Tallahassee

Provided by Florida’s Criminal Jury Instructions, a charge for domestic battery by strangulation requires the proof beyond a reasonable doubt for the following elements:

  • The defendant knowingly and intentionally stopped the normal breathing or circulation of blood of the victim and against the victim’s will by either applying pressure on the throat or neck, or by blocking the victim’s nose or mouth;
  • In doing so, the defendant created a risk of, or caused great bodily harm to the victim; and
  • The defendant was either a family member, household member, or a person who was in a dating relationship with the victim.

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Penalties for Domestic Battery by Strangulation

Florida law classifies the offense of domestic battery by strangulation as a third-degree felony. If the defendant receives a conviction, the resulting penalties are as follows:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five (5) years in prison.

In addition to the statute-specific penalties, a person convicted of this crime can also be ordered to complete the following:

  • Attend and complete an anger management course;
  • Attend and complete domestic violence awareness programs and counseling; and
  • Year-long probation period.

If you have any questions about the charges against or the potential penalties for domestic battery by strangulation, consult with a Tallahassee defense attorney.

Defenses to a Domestic Battery by Strangulation Charge

There are several defenses that may be applicable to a domestic battery by strangulation charge:

  • Self-defense of self or others – A defendant who was acting in self-defense of themselves (if the alleged victim caused them harm first) or if the defendant acted to protect another person from harm, it could be used as a defense.
  • Consent from alleged victim – If the alleged victim consented to the defendant putting their hands directly on the victim’s neck, or if the alleged victim ordered the defendant to do so, it could help prevent a conviction.
  • False allegations – The alleged victim could be making false allegations of violence against the defendant for reasons such as marital disputes, divorce proceedings, custody battles, out of spite, or other reasons.
  • Factual disputes – When a crime of domestic violence is reported, there may be factual disputes from both parties and any witnesses which can make securing a conviction more difficult.
  • Absence of injuries on alleged victim – One of the elements to prove the crime of domestic battery by strangulation is that the defendant created a risk of or caused severe injury. It could be difficult for the prosecution to prove the offense if the victim lacked any signs of injury or serious harm.
  • Abuse or addiction – In some cases, the alleged victim may have been under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances at the time of the incident, which could potentially alter their memory of what occurred.

Crimes that fall under domestic violence can be confusing and nuanced. When faced with this type of charge, it is in your best interest to create a defense strategy to fight against a conviction. The defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm can answer any questions you have during our free consultations.

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Finding a Domestic Battery Defense Attorney in Tallahassee

It’s important to understand that after an allegation of domestic violence, the stakes are high, and Florida law provides for harsh penalties. Even after the fines have been paid and a sentence is served, the indirect consequences of a conviction also can be serious. Given that this is a case that often involves family members and current or past partners, dealing with this type of case can be difficult and nuanced. Your best shot at coming out of this scenario without a criminal conviction on your record is by ensuring the best possible legal defense for your case. The Tallahassee criminal defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience handling cases of domestic violence and will make it our top priority to get you the most optimal outcome. 

If you have been charged with any crime of violence involving a wife, girlfriend, or domestic partner, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. With offices in Tallahassee, Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout Leon County and the surrounding areas. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule your free consultation.

Page Updated March 6, 2024

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