In Tulsa during 2019, there were 701 reported domestic strangulations—which equates to about two reports per day. This is concerning because strangulation has long been considered to be one of the most problematic forms of domestic abuse. It takes as little as 10 seconds of pressure on the carotid artery in the neck to make a person lose consciousness, and brain death can occur within a few minutes.
Oklahoma law has harsh punishments for domestic assault and battery by strangulation. If you’ve been accused of this crime, you need to seek assistance from an attorney immediately. Your freedom and your future are at stake.
Terms to Know
It is a common misconception that charges of domestic abuse only involve a spouse or romantic partner. Domestic assault and battery charges can involve any of the following individuals:
- Your current or former spouse
- The present spouse of your former spouse
- The former spouse of your present spouse
- Your parents
- Your foster parent
- Your child
- A person otherwise related by blood or marriage
- A person with whom you’ve been in a dating relationship
- A person with whom you share a child
- A person who formerly lived in the same household as you
- A person presently living in the same household as you
Under Oklahoma law, strangulation is defined as any form of asphyxia, including, but not limited to, asphyxia characterized by closure of the blood vessels or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck or the closure of the nostrils or mouth as a result of external pressure on the head.
Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery by Strangulation
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on May 18, 2020, that reclassed several types of domestic abuse charges as violent crimes. This includes domestic abuse by strangulation, as well as domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon, domestic assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
House Bill 3251 goes into effect on November 1, 2020. It changes the punishment to a maximum of 10 years in prison, as opposed to the three years in prison outlined under the previous law. Subsequent offenses now result in a maximum of 20 years in prison, as opposed to the previous maximum of 10 years in prison. House Bill 3251 will also require offenders to serve at least half of their term before they are eligible for parole.
As with other forms of felony domestic violence, a conviction for domestic assault and battery by strangulation will also:
- Strip you of your gun rights
- Leave you with a criminal record that can make it harder to find housing and employment
- Limit your ability to practice in certain professions requiring licensure, including dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and cosmetology
- Prevent you from running for office within 15 years of completing your sentence
- Potentially prevent you from fostering or adopting a child
- Potentially lead to deportation if you are not a US citizen
You Need Legal Help Now
When you’re facing charges for domestic assault and battery by strangulation, the worst thing you can do is hope the matter resolves itself. Even if you believe the situation is the result of a misunderstanding, and the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges, the state has the full authority to continue with the case.
Since there have been multiple cases throughout the United States of people accused of strangulation who later murdered their victims, the court prefers to err on the side of caution and push for the harshest possible sentence. Failing to be proactive about building your defense is likely to leave you sitting behind bars.
We explain why it’s important to take all forms of domestic violence charges seriously in our free guide, Domestic Violence Charges in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know. This guide provides an in-depth look at what to expect after you’ve been arrested and how to avoid common mistakes that limit your ability to mount an effective defense. Request your copy today, then contact The Berlin Law Firm to schedule a consultation.