In 2009, the Texas Legislature modified the state’s assault statute such that domestic violence offenses in which alleged offenders strangled or suffocated alleged victims would now be charged as felonies instead of misdemeanors. Prior to this change, prosecutors would only be able to pursue felony charges against if such cases constituted aggravated assault.
The modified statute, however, now allows alleged offenders to face more serious criminal charges even when the allegations are false and there is no evidence to support the accusations. As a felony offense, a conviction for assault by strangulation carries not only the possibility of imprisonment and fines, but also severe long-term consequences.
Attorney for Assault by Strangulation Arrests in Georgetown
If you were recently arrested in Central Texas for allegedly committing an assault that involved strangulation or suffocation of the alleged victim, it will be in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Price & Twine, PLLC will fight to protect your rights and may be able to get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Georgetown who defends clients accused of domestic violence crimes in communities throughout Williamson County and Bell County, including Killeen, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Temple, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and many others. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (512) 354-1880 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Assault by Strangulation in Texas
- Which kinds of alleged victims can lead to a person being charged with this crime?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of an assault involving strangulation or suffocation?
- Where can I find more information about assault by suffocation in Georgetown?
Simple assault is classified as a Class A misdemeanor under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a) 1 when an alleged offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor if the alleged offender:
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
The crime of assault becomes a third-degree felony offense, however, if the alleged offender had dating relationship with the alleged victim or the alleged victim is a family or household member and the alleged offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the alleged victim by applying pressure to the alleged victim’s throat or neck or by blocking the alleged victim’s nose or mouth. The three relationships that can constitute victims of this crime are defined as follows:
- Dating Relationship — Under Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), a dating relationship is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a dating relationship.
- Family — Under Texas Family Code § 71.003, family includes individuals related by consanguinity (one is a descendant of the other or the two individuals share a common ancestor) or affinity (they are married to each other or the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual), individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together; or
- Household — Under Texas Family Code § 71.005, a household is defined as a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
Assault by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the alleged victim by applying pressure to the alleged victim’s throat or neck or by blocking the alleged victim’s nose or mouth is typically classified as a third-degree felony. A conviction may be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Assault by strangulation or suffocation can become a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of any of the following offenses against an alleged victim that person had a dating relationship with or an alleged victim who was a family or household member:
- Any assaultive offense listed under Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code;
- Any criminal homicide offense listed under Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code;
- Aggravated kidnapping; or
Family Violence Strangulation in Texas | Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) — The TCFV is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that claims to be one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation. In this PDF version of TCFV literature, you can read about how strangulation is different from suffocation, review signs and symptoms advocates should ask about and document, and find facts related to strangulation cases. You can find additional information about the organization itself on the TCFV website.
A closer look at strangulation cases | Texas District & County Attorneys Association — Read this 2014 article written by a district attorney to get a better understanding of factors that prosecutors consider in their handling of these cases. The article discusses the dangers of strangulation, compares visible evidence to non-visible evidence, and touches on the use of experts. The article also touches on how prosecutors should present these cases to juries.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Georgetown Assault by Strangulation Defense Lawyer
Have you been charged with committing an alleged assault against a significant other or family or household member by strangulation or suffocation in Central Texas? You should avoid making any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Contact Price & Twine, PLLC today.
Georgetown criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price represents individuals in Hutto, Belton, Harker Heights, Leander, Taylor, and many surrounding areas of Williamson County and Bell County. Call (512) 354-1880 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.