Domestic Strangulation is a Serious Form of Domestic Violence
A person charged with domestic strangulation faces an uphill battle in court. It takes a strong, well-respected lawyer to level the playing field.
Michigan Domestic Strangulation Law
Michigan law states that anyone who assaults another person by strangulation or suffocation is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, five (5) years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000. The law defines “strangulation or suffocation” as “intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or blocking the nose or mouth of another person.” Unfortunately, many false allegations of domestic assault result in felony domestic strangulation charges.
It is possible to avoid prison on a domestic strangulation charge.
Domestic violence cases frequently involve allegations of strangulation or suffocation. Because of the serious nature of these allegations, Michigan law provides for a maximum possible prison sentence of 10 years and up to 5 years of probation. A Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer may be able to help you avoid jail, prison, and maybe even a felony domestic strangulation charge. The ways top defense lawyers achieve outstanding plea bargains, dismissals, and sentence reductions are as follows:
- thorough and meticulous review of the government’s evidence
- investigation of all facts and evidence supporting potential defenses and mitigating factors
- building a strong, respected reputation in the legal community
- consistently winning trials and evidentiary hearings
- fearlessly fighting every case to protect and defend the client
- skillfully negotiating with judges for lenient sentences and rehabilitative programs
- convincingly advocating with prosecutors for dismissals and reduced charges
An injury is Not Necessary for a Domestic Strangulation Conviction
Defendants frequently cite a lack of injury as a defense to domestic strangulation charges. Under the law, a complainant doesn’t need to suffer any actual injury for the State to charge a person with assault by strangulation. Furthermore, an aggressor’s intent – which must be proven for a defendant to be found guilty – may be inferred simply from the use of physical violence. Suppose there is no injury, witnesses, or evidence other than the “victim’s” word. Under Michigan law, the government does not need evidence other than the testimony of the victim to secure a conviction if the jury believes what they say. How can a defense lawyer help? A skilled, experienced defense attorney will know how to identify inconsistencies in the victim’s statements, expose untruthful or exaggerated claims, and locate evidence of innocence, even when the police failed to collect or discover it.
What must a prosecutor prove to get a conviction on felony domestic strangulation charges?
Every crime in Michigan is made up of parts called elements. The three required elements of Domestic Strangulation are as follows:
- The defendant committed a battery on the complainant. A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of another person or something closely connected with that other person.
- The defendant must have intended (not accidentally) the unconsented touching. It does not matter whether the touching caused an injury.
- The battery was committed by strangulation or suffocation. Strangulation or suffocation means intentionally impeding the normal circulation of blood or breathing by applying pressure on the throat or neck or blocking the nose or mouth.
If the prosecutor cannot prove the defendant guilty of domestic strangulation beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must be found not guilty. If the defense can credibly and persuasively demonstrate to the government that the client is not guilty or they might be unable to prove their case, the prosecution will agree to a plea bargain and possibly the dismissal of charges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Domestic Strangulation
What Evidence Can Be Challenged in Court? Defense counsel can challenge any of the following types of evidence in court:
- Testimony – Testimonial evidence can be challenged on the basis of credibility, inconsistency, hearsay, relevance, and competence.
- Physical Evidence – Physical evidence can be challenged based on chain of custody, authentication, damage or degradation, contamination or alteration, and relevance.
- Prejudice – The defense can challenge all evidence, including but not limited to testimonial, physical, and expert evidence.
- Documentary, Business and Public Records, and Electronic/Digital Evidence – Written or documentary evidence, whether public or private, can be challenged based on hearsay, authentication, relevance, and prejudice.
- Expert Testimony – The prosecution frequently attempts to admit expert testimony in domestic strangulation cases. An expert’s testimony can be challenged based on hearsay, lack of qualifications, credibility or bias, relevance, and undue prejudice.
- Character Evidence – The prosecution doesn’t get a free pass to attack the defendant’s character. The proposed evidence must be relevant, not more prejudicial than probative, and permissible under the Michigan Court Rules and Rules of Evidence.
How Does the Prosecution Prove Domestic Strangulation? Typical evidence in these cases is the alleged victim’s testimony, medical records, out-of-court statements admissible under the hearsay rule exceptions, third-party witness accounts, and documentation of injuries.
What Should I Expect During Court Proceedings? All domestic strangulation cases in Michigan commence in a district court with a charge and arraignment. The district court judge must decide at a preliminary examination whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant is guilty. If the prosecution fails to admit sufficient evidence, the case gets dismissed. If probable cause is established, any future proceedings\, including plea bargaining, evidentiary hearings, trial, and sentencing, occur in a county circuit court.
How can an experienced and effective lawyer help?
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending domestic violence charges, including assault by strangulation or suffocation. Defenses include innocence, mistake, accident, insanity, false allegation, identity, and more. Even in those cases where the defendant made a terrible mistake and put their hands on another person, a respected lawyer can frequently work with the prosecutor to get a plea to a reduced charge or get an agreement from a judge for no jail or prison. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to speak with you, answer your questions, and address any concerns. We will find a way to help you!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.