Assault by Strangulation

Although it carries heavy penalties, assault is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Texas. Thanks to the vague statutory language, thousands of people are falsely accused and charged with assaultive offenses every year in Texas. Not only that, but it can be incredibly difficult to defend an assault charge since most of the evidence is likely to be testimony-based.

Some assault offenses carry heavier penalties because of the high risk of possible serious injury or death such as assault by strangulation. You can be charged with assault by strangulation if you impede another person’s air flow or block circulation of their blood for a period. In many cases, assault by strangulation cases are simply a misunderstanding. Especially when the “suffocation” is done in a sexual nature. However, because of the possible risks associated with suffocation the state of Texas has implemented enhanced penalties for offenders charged with assault by strangulation.

It can be difficult to convince a jury you didn’t mean to “suffocate” someone, especially if there’s little evidence. For that reason, we highly advise you to seek legal representation if you were charged with assault by strangulation.

Strangulation Defense Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Often assault by strangulation cases are simply domestic incidents that got out of control. It’s typically a nonviolent crime with little harm done to the alleged victim. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the crime has light penalties. Due to the serious risk strangulation poses, the Texas Penal Code has deemed assault by strangulation a felony offense. Because of this, we strongly urge you to gain trusted legal counsel if you’ve been charged with strangulation.

Contact [frim] now for effective and efficient legal counsel. Our managing attorney Brian Benken has years of experience handling violent crime cases, including assault by strangulation. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout all regions of Harris County and the state of Texas.

Overview of Assault by Strangulation in TX

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Statistics for Strangulation Cases in Texas

Texas enacted the new assault by strangulation provision in 2009 as a response to the growing number of strangulation cases reported by law enforcement. Many advocates for tougher domestic violence laws after statistics showed a correlation between reports of strangulation, choking and suffocation with an increased risk of lethality. These statistics were reported by the Texas Council on Family Violence and can be found listed below.

  • Ten percent of violent deaths in the United States are attributed to strangulation;
  • There are six female victims of strangulations to every male victim;
  • Family violence victims who have been strangled are nine times more likely to be killed;
  • Strangulation is one of the top five risk factors for family violence homicide; and
  • Often strangulation doesn’t display visible injuries, but substantial internal injuries

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What Does Assault by Strangulation Mean Under Texas Law?

According to Texas law, assault is when a person harms or threatens to harm another person. If strangulation, choking or suffocation was involved during the commission of the crime, then you should expect to face much harsher penalties than a standard assault offense. However, the only way you can be convicted of assault by strangulation is if the prosecution proves certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements include:

  • You intentionally, recklessly or knowingly:
    • Impeded the normal breathing of the alleged victim;
    • Impeded the normal circulation of the blood of the alleged victim by applying pressure to their neck or throat; OR
    • Impeded the normal breathing or circulation of the alleged victim by blocking their nose or mouth

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Is Strangulation a Felony in Texas?

A standard assault offense is normally a class A misdemeanor if no aggravating factors were present during the commission of the crime. Unfortunately, if there is evidence that strangulation was involved during the assault, then you’ll be charged with a felony instead. Strangulation by assault is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

It’s important to note that if you’re convicted of assault by strangulation it could affect criminal charges in the future. If you have a prior conviction for strangulation and find yourself charged with standard assault, then you won’t face a standard class A misdemeanor. Instead you will be charged with a third-degree felony, which can result in the following:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

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What Are the Signs of Strangulation?

It’s common for an assault by strangulation charge to stem from a wellness check by an officer. Many people accused of strangulation were charged after law enforcement came by to visit their home due to a disturbance or emergency call. When this happens, the officers will typically assess all parties at the home to look for signs of assault. If the alleged victim has ulterior and malicious motives, it could be hard for officers to determine what the truth is. This can be especially difficult to explain when the strangulation incident was sexual in nature.

Common signs of strangulation a police officer may look for include:

  • Headaches;
  • Involuntary urination;
  • Involuntary defection;
  • Small red spots on the neck or face known as petechiae;
  • Sounding out of breath;
  • Abrasions under the chin;
  • Injuries if an object was used to strangle the victim;
  • Difficulty speaking;
  • Sore throat;
  • Dizziness;
  • Psychosis or amnesia;
  • Headaches;
  • Blood shot eyes from burst capillaries;
  • A raspy voice;
  • A stiff neck or pulled muscle; and
  • Swollen neck

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Additional Resources

Texas Strangulation Laws -View the Texas Statute regarding assaultive offenses to read more about assault by strangulation. Access the website to learn more about the specifics on assault by strangulation, what the adjoining penalties are, and other assaults defined under Texas Law.

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Assault Defense Lawyer for Strangulation in Houston, Texas

An assault should of course be taken seriously, but when it involves strangulation you cannot waste a single moment. Assault by strangulation is a felony crime in Texas that can result in disastrous consequences including years in prison. Protect your future instead by securing experienced and skilled legal counsel with The Benken Law Firm. Attorney Brian Benken has taken off various domestic violence and strangulation cases with success. He can tackle your case and disclose to you all your legal options.

Set up your first consultation by calling The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051. At the appointment we will discuss the particular facts of your case and how to fight these allegations. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout all parts of Harris County and the state of Texas such as Houston, Pasadena, Bellaire, Deer Park, South Houston, Tomball, Webster, and Missouri City.

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(713) 223 - 4051
Benken Law