Battery differs from assault in that actual physical contact is made between the alleged offender and the alleged victim. In Florida, strangulation is the most common act of battery that occurs during domestic violence disputes. Domestic violence strangulation is an act of abuse is classified as its own offense in Florida, and it is treated harshly by the state.
A person who has been accused of strangulation could face a lengthy battle with the courts and could possibly spend a considerable period in jail, along with steep fines and other possible penalties. This crime is considered a third-degree felony meaning that if you face charges, you are encouraged to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What is strangulation?
Strangulation is the act of cutting off air and blood flow, impeding the normal breathing or circulation of another in such a way that creates a risk of considerable harm. Pressure is applied to the throat or neck, or the nose or mouth are blocked so that the victim cannot breathe.
Not all instances of strangulation are considered domestic violence offenses. For this particular offense, there must be proof of an established relationship between the alleged abuser and the alleged victim. Under Florida law, they both must be family or household members, meaning they must be or have been spouses, related by blood or marriage, or presently residing together. A couple sharing custody of a child, regardless of whether they have been married or not, also meets these requirements.
Consequences of a Domestic Battery by Strangulation Conviction
As a third-degree felony, penalties for domestic battery by strangulation should be taken seriously. A felony conviction could make it near impossible to secure basic necessities, such as a stable job and place to live, that are crucial to getting with your life after you have paid your dues. A felony conviction for a violent criminal offense will also strip away your gun rights, meaning that possessing a firearm after such a conviction could lead to further legal issues if discovered. You can also lose your voting rights, not to mention a mere accusation of a domestic violence offense could strain the relationships you currently enjoy with friends and family. A conviction of a domestic battery by strangulation may lead to up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and may not be sealed nor expunged in Florida.
Defenses to Domestic Battery by Strangulation
Lack of Risk of Great Bodily Harm or Actual Great Bodily Harm
Many strangulation cases have viable defenses. In a case of domestic battery by strangulation, we can often claim that there was no risk of great bodily harm or actual great bodily harm. If the State cannot prove a risk of great bodily harm or that great bodily harm occurred, they have no case.
No Evidence to Support Guilt
The State must prove that a person is guilty of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt can arise from the lack of evidence that the defendant committed a crime. In the case of an alleged domestic battery by strangulation, lack of evidence could be the alleged victim lacking physical injuries, no independent witnesses, and the victim’s failure to cooperate with the prosecution. If there is reasonable doubt that the offense took place, the defendant may avoid a conviction.
Evidence that Supports Innocence
There may be evidence that supports a defendant’s innocence or shows that a victim, police officer, or witness is not being truthful during the investigation. Such evidence may exist in the form of recordings, witness testimony, photos, physical evidence, or anything that disputes the testimonies of the State’s witnesses.
Defendant Acted in Self-Defense
Domestic violence often arises from a mutual argument. Sometimes, one or both parties involved in the argument is under the effects of alcohol. In some cases, it is the victim who claims they were the aggressor in the argument and that the person charged was acting in self-defense. In other cases, the alleged victim claims that it was a mutual argument in which both parties were under the influence of alcohol. There is often evidence that the defendant was acting in self-defense against the alleged victim, who was really the aggressor.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers Can Protect You
Each and every citizen in the United States has the right to competent legal representation in court. When you seek experienced legal counsel from The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, you work with dedicated and compassionate legal staff that has been fighting for the rights of the criminally accused for more than 30 years in Palm Beach County and surrounding areas. Attorney Brian Gabriel has defended numerous domestic violence cases and can prepare a solid defense. He is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer with the National Trial Lawyers. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.