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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / What Is Domestic Strangulation?

What Is Domestic Strangulation?


There are quite a few ways that a person can commit domestic violence, but Florida state law recognizes a specific crime of domestic battery by strangulation, because it is seen as such a potentially dangerous offense. If you have been accused of this offense, know that while there are defenses, it will generally take the help of a dedicated West Palm Beach domestic violence defense attorney to have a chance to prevail at trial.

Strangulation Is Particularly Serious

The definition of domestic violence in Florida is fairly wide-ranging, applying not only to spouses or people in a dating relationship, but also to ex-spouses, people who are (or have been) residing together as a family, and co-parents. It includes any criminal offense that causes injury or death to a “family or household member” (though certain crimes are named in the statute), committed by another family or household member.

Battery is one of the named offenses in the statute which defines a crime of domestic violence, and the subset of domestic battery is specifically a battery committed by (and suffered by) people who qualify under the statute. Strangulation is seen as a particularly heinous crime because of its immediacy and its easy possibility to transform from battery into homicide, and the legislature saw fit to create a new offense to underline that fact.

Possible Defenses

It may feel particularly difficult to defend against charges of domestic battery by strangulation because strangulation is such an immediate and specific intent crime; after all, one can hardly strangle a person ‘accidentally.’ The specific wording in the relevant law states that it is an offense to “knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impede the breathing or circulation.” However, you have the right to defend yourself and have your day in court, regardless of how a charge may appear.

The two most common defenses to this type of charge are (1) self-defense, arguing that your alleged victim either attacked you or you had a reasonable fear that they were going to; or (2) consent. It is not uncommon in this day and age for couples to explore this type of behavior in their private life, and sometimes one partner may consent to be temporarily deprived of breath. It is also possible to argue that there was no significant risk of bodily harm created by your alleged conduct.

Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

Strangulation is seen as a serious crime, because of how great the risk of substantial bodily harm can be. If you have been charged with domestic battery by strangulation, a West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can ensure that your rights are protected. Call our offices today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.



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