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What are the Penalties for Strangulation When Charged With a Domestic Assault and Battery in Massachusetts?

A charge of Strangulation will accompany a charge of domestic assault and battery it is an enhanced charge based on the nature of the incident. This charge is a felony offense.

Will the case be handled differently if I am charged with Strangulation?

A strangulation charge will make the underlying cases harder to resolve; the district attorney's will be less likely to reduce or agree to any dismissal of the charge given that the legislation passed this law to enhance penalties for domestic assault and battery. This law was passed in 2014.

Under the new law strangulation is defined as the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying substantial pressure on the throat or neck of another. M.G.L. Ch. 265, § 15D(a). Prior to the new law when faced with an alleged victim who had said they were strangled, the prosecutor had to choose to charge the defendant with either attempted murder or simple assault and battery. Attempted murder charges are difficult to prove and require that the prosecutor prove a specific intent to kill. A simple assault and battery is a misdemeanor. The prosecutors were left with choosing between an extremely difficult case to prove or a much less serious charge.

The new law allows prosecutors to charge the defendant with a felony for first offense strangulation. The penalties for strangulation under the new include up to five years in state prison or two and a half years in the house of corrections. A felony has life long consequences. A convicted felon is ineligible for certain jobs and must submit a DNA sample.

If the offense is charged as a second offense , if the strangulation results in serious injuries, if the strangulation is charged in violation of an active restraining order or if the alleged victim is pregnant the defendant faces up to ten years in state prison or two and a half years in the house of correction.

While a Strangulation charge could be brought over an Attempted Murder, in many cases it will be a way to overcharge a domestic assault and battery. It may also be used to bolster the charges. For example the prosecution may add it as an incentive for the defendant to plea to the domestic to avoid the strangulation charge. The law is still new so we have yet to see which way it will be used. For now it is important to understand that the law exists and could lead to a felony charge.

If you have questions about a Strangulation charge or any domestic assault and battery, feel free to call Attorney DelSignore or Attorney Julie Gaudreau at 781-686-5924.

To read more about defending domestic assault and battery case, visit these pages for further reading.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
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