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In order for the state to prove the charge of Assault by Strangulation, the state must be able to prove:

  1. 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)
  2. The touching was intentional by the accused, not accidental, and it must have been against the accuser’s will. It doesn’t matter whether the touching caused an injury.
  3. The battery was committed by Strangulation or Suffocation.

Assault By Strangulation Michigan

Assault By Strangulation Michigan

 

JURY INSTRUCTION

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 is accompanied by one or more other charges.

DEFINITION

ASSAULT BY STRANGULATION or SUFFOCATION

  • Strangulation or Suffocation means intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood or breathing by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.

While injuries are not required to charge the accused with Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation, certain injuries caused by 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 taken by either herself, the police officer and/or the detective involved or from a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse. 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, the state will push for a higher sentence.

The charge of Assault by Strangulation requires an assault with intent 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).

 

Rapist Being Arrested with Handcuffs

 

COMMON QUESTIONS

ASSAULT BY STRANGULATION or SUFFOCATION

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 of oxygen.

⚬    The state will look at: The severity of the injury. Example: Losing control of his/her bowels; Lost consciousness.

PENALTY

ASSAULT BY STRANGULATION or SUFFOCATION

Assault by Strangulation is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

DEFENSES

ASSAULT BY STRANGULATION or SUFFOCATION

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.

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