Not all physical attacks on another person are felonies, but strangulation is one of them. It’s a class six felony. And given the value of your time and freedom, it is a charge you don’t want to face.
If you’ve been arrested for felony strangulation or another crime, Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico is here to ensure you understand your rights are obtain the best possible resolution. Domestic violence and assault cases can be incredibly stressful.
Strangulation Under Virginia Law
Felony strangulation is defined by state statute as:
“Any person who, without consent, impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck, resulting in wounding or bodily injury, is guilty of strangulation, a Class 6 felony.”
If you or a loved one are accused of strangulation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you:
- Acted knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully: This couldn’t be an accident
- Didn’t have the other person’s consent: This might be an issue if it happened during sex
- Stopped blood circulation or prevented them from breathing
- Applied pressure to a person’s neck: Shown through testimony, bruises, or injuries
- Caused bodily injury or a wound: There must be evidence of an injury, but it does not need to be severe
What’s the Penalty for Strangulation?
A Class 6 felony, strangulation can be punished in Virginia by a state prison term between one and five years. A jury or judge can also elect up to a year-long jail term and/or a max fine of $2,500.
After you serve your sentence, you’ll have a felony conviction on your criminal record. You may need to disclose this on job applications, and you’ll be unable to vote or legally own a firearm.
How Can You Fight a Strangulation Charge?
In addition to forcing the prosecution to meet its burden, there various defense options to a strangulation charge. Depending on the circumstances:
- The prosecution’s case may have weak evidence. A judge or jury may feel there’s reasonable doubt you committed the crime.
- The victim or others may have misidentified you. If this is an alleged random attack, the victim may not clearly remember his or her attacker. They later saw you or your photo and falsely believe you’re the assailant. Alibi evidence that you were someplace else at the time could be critical. Additionally, if the two of you knew each other, the relationship might have soured, and now you’re falsely accused
- The police or prosecutors may have violated your rights during the investigation. This may lead to charges being withdrawn or dismissed. Important evidence may be excluded from the trial because it was improperly obtained
If You’re Facing Charges, Get Help From an Attorney
Being arrested and going through the criminal justice system can impact the rest of your life. When it comes to assault and domestic violence charges like felony strangulation, you don’t want that stigma attached to you forever.
You’re in a situation that needs to be handled properly so you get the best possible outcome. Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico will explain what you’re facing, how to deal with strangulation allegations in Roanoke and fight for you.