Strangulation can cause serious internal damage, including brain damage and even death. In fact, it is widely considered one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. Strangling can lead to a loss of consciousness in seconds and can cause death in just minutes.
Strangling is considered a domestic violence “red flag” because of the high risk of disabling injury or death. It is also linked to an overall escalation in violent behavior.
Oklahoma recently increased the penalty for this type of felony spousal abuse by adding it to a list of criminal charges classified as violent crimes. House Bill 3251, which went into effect on November 1, 2020, changed the punishment for domestic assault and battery by strangulation to a maximum of 10 years in prison. Previously, there was a maximum sentence of just three years. House Bill 3251 also requires individuals to serve at least half of their term before they are eligible for parole.
In addition to time behind bars, a conviction for domestic assault and battery by strangulation may lead to a loss of gun rights, a loss of voting rights, a potential loss of your professional license, and a loss of child custody. You’ll also face the stigma of a serious criminal record.
How Oklahoma Law Defines Strangulation
Strangulation is discussed in 21 OK Stat § 21-644. The statute says, “Strangulation means any form of asphyxia; including, but not limited to, asphyxia characterized by closure of the blood vessels or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck or the closure of the nostrils or mouth as a result of external pressure on the head.”
This definition applies to both manual strangulation (gripping the victim’s throat with your hands) and ligature strangulation (using a belt, scarf, or another object to restrict the victim’s breathing). There is no requirement that the victim shows visible evidence of strangulation, such as bruises or scratches, because strangulation often results in more subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, and difficulty swallowing.
It is also important to note that Oklahoma domestic violence charges don’t only involve spouses or romantic partners. You can face domestic violence charges for strangulation or attempted strangulation against:
- A current or former spouse
- A present spouse of a former spouse
- A former spouse of a present spouse
- Parents, siblings, or any family related by blood or marriage
- A person with whom the defendant is or was in a dating relationship
- An individual with whom the defendant has had a child
- A person living in the same household as the defendant
- A person who formerly lived in the same household as the defendant
Defending Against Domestic Violence by Strangulation
If you have been charged with domestic assault and battery by strangulation, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Berlin Defense’s practice focuses on domestic violence charges and other cases that involve elements of coercive control in intimate partner relationships.
Even if you believe the alleged victim suffered no permanent injury and does not wish to press charges, this legal matter must be immediately addressed. The state has full authority to continue with the case regardless of whether the alleged victim cooperates. When you work with Berlin Defense, you can be assured that you’ll have an advocate on your side who will fight to provide the best possible outcome for your case while giving you an opportunity to tell your side of the story.
To learn more, request our free guide, Domestic Violence Charges in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know. This easy-to-understand resource provides an in-depth look at what to expect after you’ve been arrested and how to avoid common mistakes that limit your ability to mount an effective defense.
Have You Been Charged With a Domestic Assault and Battery Crime in the Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic assault and battery in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.