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New York Penal Code %c2%a7 121 13 Strangulation First Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 01:11 pm

New York Penal Code §121.13 Strangulation First Degree – What You Need to Know

Strangulation is a serious crime in New York that can lead to felony charges and significant jail time. New York Penal Law §121.13 covers strangulation in the first degree, which is the most serious strangulation offense under New York law. This article will provide an overview of the law, penalties, and defenses.

What is Strangulation First Degree?

Strangulation first degree occurs when someone commits criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation against another person, and causes serious physical injury as a result[1].

To break it down:

  • Criminal obstruction of breathing means intentionally blocking someone’s airway by applying pressure to their throat or neck, or blocking their nose or mouth[1]. This is sometimes called “choking.”
  • Causing serious physical injury means the victim suffered an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes death, extended disfigurement, or impairment of health or an organ[4].

So strangulation first degree is choking someone in a way that blocks their breathing or blood flow, and causes really serious injury or death.

Elements of the Crime

For a strangulation first degree conviction, prosecutors have to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt[1]:

  • The defendant applied pressure to the victim’s throat, neck, nose, or mouth
  • They intended to block the victim’s normal breathing or blood circulation
  • The victim suffered serious physical injury as a result

The injury has to go beyond just a minor bruise or cut – it must be something with long-term or life-threatening effects like brain damage, permanent scarring, or organ failure[3].

Penalties and Sentencing

Strangulation first degree is a Class C felony in New York[1]. Here are the potential penalties:

  • Up to 15 years in state prison[2]
  • Minimum 3.5 years in prison (probation not allowed) [2]
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Restitution up to $15,000

So even a minimum sentence means years behind bars. These are very serious consequences.

Defenses to Strangulation First Degree

Some possible defenses to fight a strangulation first degree charge include[4]:

  • No serious injury occurred – The injury doesn’t meet the “serious” threshold under the law’s definition. This could lead to a lesser charge.
  • Accident – You didn’t intend to choke or harm the victim at all. It was an accident.
  • Self-defense – You were protecting yourself from an attack and had to use force.
  • False allegations – The alleged victim is lying or exaggerated about what happened.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence and determine the best defense strategy for your specific case.

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

Strangulation often occurs in domestic violence situations. If that’s the case, there may be additional penalties like mandatory domestic violence counseling, or orders of protection prohibiting contact with the victim[5].

Violating an order of protection leads to additional charges and possibly pre-trial detention. It’s critical to avoid any violation.

Facing criminal charges is extremely serious, so don’t go through it alone. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. A knowledgeable attorney can argue to get charges reduced or dismissed, pursue defenses, and negotiate better outcomes. Without proper representation, the consequences could follow you for life. Don’t leave your future to chance – get legal help now.

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