Clearwater and St. Petersburg Domestic Violence and Domestic Battery by Strangulation: Do you have a Defense?

July 27, 2012

domestic-violence.jpgRecently the Florida Legislators enacted new legislation prohibiting someone from cutting off the airways of another or strangling them. It is a felony charge carrying a maximum penalty of five years in Florida State Prison if a person knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of a family or household member or a person whom he or she is dating. This is a very serious charge and it often charged by Florida State Attorney Office if there is any allegation of a battery around the neck and face area. Additionally, prosecutors take a very aggressive approach to prosecuting these types of crimes. Even if the victim does not wish to prosecute or go forward with the charge, the State Attorney's Office will often move forward if there is a witness of a 911 call. However, there are many defenses to these allegations and an experienced trial attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. can successfully navigate you through the process.

Under Florida Statute 784.041 that took effective October 1, 2007, (2)(a) a person commits domestic battery by strangulation if a person chokes or causes great bodily harm by applying pressure on the throat or neck of another person or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person. In plain language, if a person intentionally tries to keep a person from breathing , and they are in a relationship, that person is at risk for prosecution.

handcuff1.jpgEach accusation is different and can be defendant in many ways, however, there are some important key elements that must be proven beyond every reasonable doubt by every Florida Prosecutor. A person accused of this crime must be in a "Dating Relationship" or by a "Family or household member" The Florida Legislator defines dating relationship as a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The Florida Legislator defines family or household member as a spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family, or have children in common. Under Florida Statute 741.28(3) to be eligible for a family or household member you must be currently or in the past lived together in the same single dwelling unit. Therefore, for example, if you get into a fight with your neighbor and allegedly choke him or her, this statute would not apply to you and be a legitimate defense to your charge. Additionally, if you are accused of chocking a close friend but have never lived together, that would be a valid defense to the charge of domestic battery by strangulation. If a person accidently chokes a person in the fog and confusion of the situation, that would be a valid defense to an accusation of domestic battery by strangulation. Certainly, if an individual agrees or consents to be choked, no crime has accused and is a defense to this charge.
In addition to all the situations above, often times persons find themselves arrested for a Domestic Battery by Strangulation when they were merely acting in self-defense. If you were not the primary aggressor and were defending yourself against an attack, this could be a valid defense to your charge.

These are examples of just some of the possible defenses to domestic battery by strangulation. If you or a loved one is accused of this crime, you need to sit down with an experienced criminal trial attorney who specializes in this area of the law

The lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. were former prosecutors specializing in domestic violence. They have encountered thousands of these types of crimes. They use their knowledge prosecuting these types of crimes to get the best possible result in every accusation. Call now for a free consultation. Don't wait, the earlier the lawyers can defend you, the better your chances of success against false accusations.