Top-Flight Criminal Lawyer For A Domestic Battery by Strangulation Charge In Fort Walton Beach, Destin Or Anywhere In Okaloosa County
Florida Statutes, under section 784.041(2), defines the crime of Domestic Battery by Strangulation as when a person:
- Intentionally impedes the normal breathing or blood flow/circulation of another person against their will.
- Does so by physically applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person or by covering or blocking their nose and mouth. To which, these actions caused great bodily harm, or created the risk of great bodily harm.
The crime is categorized as “Domestic Violence” if the person involved is a family member, household member, or a person with whom the defendant is in a dating relationship.
A Domestic Violence arrest for Battery by Strangulation is the “go-to” charge for police officers in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and elsewhere in Okaloosa County in dealing with an alleged domestic disturbance. It is by far the most common way to get a DV case into felony court.
The officers will ask leading questions in order to frame the case into the “strangulation” category for their report. They know that it is more difficult to get a felony battery charge reduced or dismissed than a misdemeanor battery.
While they collect statements during the investigation phase of the case, they will often incite the side of the alleged victim in order to get a report that is more favorable to the prosecution and more damaging to the defendant because any fact pattern that involves the act of choking is deemed to be one step away from Attempted Murder, and that is exactly how prosecutors treat Battery by Strangulation cases.
All the police may ask is: “Were you touched near your head or neck region?” A “yes” response yields a DV Battery by Strangulation charge.
While there are some legitimate strangulation cases, the vast majority of these arrests are because of up-charged misdemeanor Domestic Violence Battery cases. The bad news here is that a conviction can result in penalties that can be downright brutal:
- Possible Minimum Guideline Score Sheet with Mandatory Prison Sentence
- Additional Prison Exposure based on Victim Injury Point Calculations that could even exceed the Statutory Maximum Sentence
- Criminal Record that is Permanent and not eligible for Seal or Expungement
- Possible Designation as Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern
- Mandatory Probation with six months of Batterer’s Intervention Classes and Individual Anger Management Counseling
- Possible Permanent Injunction (No-Contact Order) with partner/spouse
- Possible Shelter (No-Contact Order) with your children
- Loss of Gun Rights
Domestic Battery by Strangulation Defenses
There are always ways to defend any type of Battery charge and it starts with questioning the actual evidence, (or lack thereof) as well as examining the potential affirmative defenses: self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, etc. Additional strategies are formed on a case by case basis because of the individual people involved–including the Defendant and Alleged Victim as well as other possible independent witnesses. However, generally speaking, there are almost always internal and external motivations when the 911 call is placed. Some of these motives include:
- Alcohol, Drug, or Substance Abuse Issues
- Psychological or Mental Health Issues
- Set the Stage for Restraining Order / Domestic Violence Injunction Proceeding
- Set the Stage for Department of Children and Families Involvement
- Preparation for Divorce Proceedings
- Child Custody Disagreements
- Financial Disagreement
- Accused Adultery or Cheating on Partner
- Hateful Neighbors or Family Members
A solid strategy would almost always involve some level of mitigating circumstances. Because the remedial action of a Defendant is not admissible in a criminal proceeding, sometimes voluntary entry into a psychological counseling session, drug/alcohol awareness class, or anger management seminar may appeal to the prosecutor making decisions on the case.
If you or a family member has been arrested for Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Fort Walton Beach, Destin or elsewhere in Okaloosa County, give me a call for a free consultation at (850) 362-6655.