Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer

Domestic Violence by Strangulation

Domestic violence is a painful and horrific crime that affects thousands of Floridians every year. For those who are married to their abusers, leaving is only the first step. All divorces are challenging, but they can become even more taxing when allegations of domestic violence are involved. That is why it’s important to understand the role that domestic violence can play in a divorce proceeding.

Though domestic violence charges are generally brought as assault and batteries, there are some instances of domestic violence that are particularly violent and dangerous. Under Florida law, domestic violence by strangulation involves the following elements:

  • – The accused must knowingly commit the act with intent;
  • – The action must occur against the will of the victim;
  • – The accused must apply pressure on the throat or neck of the victim or;
  • – The accused must block the nose or mouth of the victim;
  • – The application of pressure must cause bodily harm;
  • – The action must impede the normal breathing or flow of blood; and
  • – The victim must be a family member.

Domestic violence by strangulation is a felony battery, with a third degree classification. It carries a possible maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Strangulation is an extremely painful occurrence for the victim, eventually leading to a loss of consciousness and lack of oxygen to the brain. According to reports, only 11 pounds of pressure to the neck area for a period of ten seconds can lead to unconsciousness. Only 33 pounds is needed to completely restrict the trachea and brain death can occur after four minutes of continuous strangulation.

Seeking Strangulation Charges

If you have been strangled by a romantic partner or family member, it is important that you notify law enforcement and seek criminal charges. According to reports, this method of battery is responsible for about 10% of all violent deaths in this country. Additionally, it affects women at a much higher rate than men, with six female victims to every one male victim. For those who survive their attack, health problems may persist and experts report that strangulation often leads to even more violent behavior by the offender in the future.

Unfortunately, many victims face challenges when trying to pursue a strangulation charge, from doubting law enforcement agents to state’s attorneys who are not willing to prosecute. This is often due to a lack of physical evidence. Law enforcement looks for bruising or lacerations around the neck area, but these signs may not appear evident in every victim. Other signs may include:

  • – Difficulty swallowing;
  • – Hoarseness in the voice;
  • – Nausea or dizziness; and
  • – Breathing difficulties.

For victims seeking a divorce from their abusive spouse, a strangulation conviction may assist with the determination of property distribution and even child custody. If this is a potential issue in your divorce proceeding, be sure to seek advice from a knowledgeable attorney.

At Vanessa L. Prieto, LLC we care about the well-being of you and your family. We will work to help you through the conflicts of domestic violence and divorce. Located in Fort Lauderdale, our office serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Call us today at 954-800-2362 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.