Domestic Assault by Strangulation

Domestic assault by strangulation is a felony offense that occurs when the defendant assaults a family or household member by strangulation, which is defined as:

Intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.

Minn. Stat. Sec. 609.2247.

The maximum penalty is 3-years in prison and a $5,000 fine. But, the statutory presumptive sentence is 12-months and 1-day if the defendant has a criminal history score of 0. As such, there is a good chance that the defendant would be placed on probation and ordered to complete a number of intermediate sanctions, rather than an extended period of time locked up. Such intermediate sanctions likely would include completing domestic abuse and/or anger management programming, paying any restitution, performing community service, having a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order and/or No Contact Order put in place, and even having a stay away from a specific residence put in place as well.

These criminal consequences are only part of the story. With any felony conviction, there are a number of collateral consequences that can be just as punishing. For instance, you lose your civil liberties – such as your right to vote – while on probation. A felony conviction may cost you your job and will certainly impact your ability to find future jobs and housing. And you could lose your right to possess firearms.

Anyone facing these charges should be aggressive in fighting them. Proving domestic assault by strangulation oftentimes comes down to the existence of physical evidence – such as bruising or marks around the neck area, lightheadedness, and/or shortness of breath. If the State cannot produce such evidence, its case becomes much more difficult.

Further, the alleged victim must have a consistent story every time. The story may change during the course of the  investigation and/or pending criminal case, which indicates weakness in the State’s case. And, a good and thorough investigation may reveal a motive behind the allegations if the victim claims the abuse out of spite or revenge – or it could even be related to a family law matter, such as trying to improve an underlying child custody dispute.

If you face these charges, it is critical that you hire a Minnesota domestic assault by strangulation attorney that will not hesitate to challenge the State’s case and fight for you. You need someone that is willing to do a thorough investigation into the allegations. And you need someone that is Not Always Minnesota Nice to your benefit.