In order for the state to prove the charge of assault by strangulation, the state must be able to prove in court, without reasonable doubt, that:
- The accused committed a battery on the accuser. (A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of another person or something closely connected with that person).
- The touching was in fact assault with intent to cause great bodily harm, not accidental, and it must have been against the accuser’s will. It doesn’t matter whether the touching caused an injury.
- The battery the defendant committed was by strangulation or suffocation.
Assault by Strangulation Michigan
If the accused chooses to go to jury trial on the charge of assault by strangulation or suffocation, Jury Instruction 17.35 will be read to the jury at the end of a trial.
It is very common for the charge of assault by strangulation or suffocation to be accompanied by an other violation or charge, i.e. domestic violence or criminal sexual conduct.
- Strangulation or Suffocation means intentionally impeding normal breathing or normal circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.
While injuries or great bodily harm less than murder are not required to charge the accused with assault by strangulation or suffocation, certain injuries caused by applying pressure on the throat or neck, or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person, may help prove that assault by strangulation or suffocation occurred.
The accuser typically will have pictures of the alleged injuries or great bodily harm less than murder taken by either themself, the police officer and/or the detective involved, or from a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse.
What is a sexual assault nurse examiner? A SANE nurse is specially trained in dealing with sexual assault care. A SANE nurse will provide a detailed document referring to everything that was said, done, and discussed when the accuser was treated.
Assault by strangulation or suffocation may be considered life-threatening because strangulation can cause death. In other words, if the state can present certain factors to show that the assault by strangulation was life-threatening to the accuser, they will push for a higher sentence.
The charge of assault by strangulation requires an assault with intent to do great bodily harm on behalf of the accused. That means that the touching must have been intended by the accused, not accidental. The touching must be against the accuser’s will.
Assault by strangulation is considered a felony punishable by imprisonment, and can be found under MCL 750.84(1)(b).
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT WILL THE STATE LOOK FOR IN DETERMINING IF I SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE AND WHAT DEGREE?
- The state will look at: Was petechiae present around his/her eyes? (Petechiae is a phenomenon that results from an extended period of strangulation and is the result of increasing venous pressure in the head and anoxic injury to the vessels)
- The state will look at: Was there external and/or internal bruising to his/her throat? This would assist the state in showing that there were extended periods during which his/her airway was shut down, depriving his/her brain the normal circulation of oxygen.
- The state will look at: The severity of the injury. Example: Losing control of his/her bowels; Lost consciousness.
If found guilty, assault by strangulation is a felony punishable by prison time for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
One of the main defenses in strangulation cases is that the defendant did not strangle the accuser. In other words, if the defendant covered the accuser’s face, but did not block the airway, this would not be strangulation.
Another defense to strangulation is that the accused was acting in self-defense or defending a child.
Hire Blank Law, PC
Michigan criminal defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker, of Blank Law, PC, has over 20 years of experience in criminal law. Her practice has been focused solely on sex crime cases, making her a powerhouse in the field.
Nicole’s 20+ years of experience, thousands of jury trials under her belt, and her previous role as the Chief of the Sex Unit proves that she is fully capeable of handling all sexual assault and assault by strangulation or suffocation cases.
Nicole also prides herself on forming an excellent attorney-client relationship to help put your mind at ease during these stressful times.
If you or someone you know is being investigated by a detective or charged with an assault with intent crime, you must call attorney Nicole Blank Becker now at the Blank Law, P.C. valid phone number: (248) 515-6583, for your free consultation.
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