Choking first became a separate criminal offense just fifteen weeks ago. And in just those few short months, New York police have made over 2,000 arrests for the new offense. Acting commissioner for the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services calls the number “absolutely unprecedented and staggering” according to Reuters.
Choking is a common offense in domestic violence situations. But prior to the offense becoming law, authorities were rarely able to press forward with anything more than a harassment charge, simply due to lack of evidence.
A highly dangerous assault choking cuts off crucial blood supply to the brain which can cause a victim to pass out and potentially even kill them. The choking law defines it as obstruction of breathing or circulation and allows this to be proven through witness testimony.
Ninety-four percent of the arrests were for men and most were young, in their twenties. Sixty percent occurred in NYC.
A national problem, domestic violence often carries a serious stigma for both the victim and the alleged perpetrator. For the victim, coming forward can be the most difficult thing to do, accusing a loved one of hurting you. For the accused, your lost temper could cost you your freedom and your relationship.
It’s estimated that 10% of violent deaths in the United States every year are due to strangulation, with women being the overwhelming majority of victims. More than likely, most of these cases were domestic in nature.
The law in New York allows for choking to be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. If the victim loses consciousness or there is a physical impairment, it is a Class D felony carrying up to 7 years in prison. If the injury resulting from the strangulation is severe, the charge is elevated to a Class C felony, also punishable by 7 years.
But domestic assault charges can have many effects beyond the prison sentence. To know exactly what you are facing when being charged with a domestic violence offense, a consultation with a criminal defense attorney is needed. If you’re facing such charges, contact our New York criminal attorneys today for a free consultation on your case.