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Strangulation or Suffocation

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Hampshire Strangulation & Suffocation Defense Lawyers

Reputable & Persuasive Representation for Defendants in Franklin, Hampden, & Berkshire Counties

Strangulation or suffocation is a crime that entails interfering with another person’s circulation of blood or breath. If you have been accused of such a crime in Massachusetts, do not hesitate to reach out to Jesse Adams Law Firm LLC for legal representation immediately. Attorney Jesse Adams is a well-known and aggressive defense attorney with a strong reputation among the legal community, and he provides persuasive representation rooted in 15 years of professional defense work. He prioritizes the best interests of his clients and will do his best to provide effective trial advocacy that can get you a favorable plea deal. 

Contact Jesse Adams Law Firm LLC today for more information on your legal options.

Legal Definitions of Strangulation & Suffocation

Mass. General Laws Chapter 265, § 15D specifies the legal definition of what constitutes a crime of strangulation or suffocation, which is a felony. 

To prove strangulation, the following must be proven:

  • the defendant applied substantial pressure on the throat or neck of the alleged victim;
  • the pressure, without excuse, interfered with the alleged victim’s circulation of blood or breathing; and
  • the defendant acted intentionally.

To prove suffocation occurred, the following must be proven:

  • the defendant blocked the nose or mouth of the alleged victim;
  • the act of blocking, without excuse, interfered with the alleged victim’s circulation of blood or breathing; and
  • the defendant acted intentionally.

Strangulation or suffocation is often a crime associated with attempted murder, and death is not a required element of strangulation or suffocation. 

In the presence of aggravating factors like the following, the offense may result in enhanced penalties:

  • The strangulation or suffocation caused serious bodily injury (e.g., impairment or loss of a bodily function, organ, or limb; permanent disfigurement; or creating a substantial risk of death)
  • The defendant knew or should have reasonably known that the alleged victim was pregnant
  • The defendant had been previously convicted of strangulation or suffocation
  • The alleged victim had an effective restraining order against the defendant at the time

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Penalties & Sentencing Upon Conviction

Being convicted of strangulation or suffocation will result in a series of penalties involving jail time and fines, depending on the circumstances of the offense. Typically, an offense will result in up to five years in prison, 2.5 years in jail, or up to $5,000 in fines. If the alleged victim was a pregnant woman or protected by a valid restraining order, the penalties will enhance to 10 years in prison or $10,000 in fines. The same enhanced penalties will be ordered if the defendant caused serious bodily injury or has prior convictions for strangulation or suffocation.

In cases where the strangulation or suffocation was committed in the context of domestic violence, the convicted defendant may also be required to complete a certified batterers’ program, which typically takes a year to complete.

Defending Against Your Charges

There are several defense options a defendant and their attorney can pursue in a strangulation or suffocation case. 

Some examples include arguing:

  • Self-defense: The defendant must show that they were being attacked first, and they choked (strangled, suffocated) the other person in an effort to protect themselves.
  • Bias or retaliation: The defendant may claim that the alleged victim is lying based on revenge or bad blood between them, such as in the context of domestic violence.
  • Lack of technical requirements (e.g., visible injuries) to constitute a charge: The defendant may argue that there are not any visible bruises or marks on the alleged victim’s neck or face that prove they applied a large amount of force to commit strangulation or suffocation.

Contact an experienced defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one has been accused of strangulation or suffocation. Attorney Jesse Adams can take a closer look at your charges and strategize an effective defense that will achieve your goals and needs as a defendant.

Schedule a free consultation with Jesse Adams Law Firm LLC to learn more about your next steps in the legal process.

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