Domestic Battery by Strangulation

Domestic battery by strangulation is a serious offense that can have lasting physical, emotional, and psychological consequences for the victim. A victim of strangulation can become unconscious in less than ten (10) seconds and die within minutes. For these reasons, this criminal charge comes with severe consequences.

Section 784.041, F.S., prohibits strangulation domestic battery. The crime is classified as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five (5) years in prison or probation and a $5,000 fine.

Florida Statute Section 784.041(2)(a) includes an exception for any act of medical diagnosis, treatment, or prescription which is authorized under Florida law.

Attorney for Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Pinellas

If you were charged with domestic battery by strangulation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. With offices located in Clearwater, FL, just a short distance from the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) Courthouse, we can help.

During the free consultation, we can discuss the charges pending against you, the elements of the crime, common defenses, and the best ways to avoid the typical penalties.

Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.

Elements of Domestic Battery by Strangulation in Florida

At trial, the crime of battery by strangulation requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt of the following elements:

  • the defendant acts knowingly and intentionally by:
    • applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person; or
    • blocking the nose or mouth of the other person;
  • to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood;
  • creating a risk of great bodily harm or actually causing it;
  • against the will of another who is either:
    • a family or household member; or
    • a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship.

Definitions for Crimes of Domestic Violence by Strangulation

The term “family or household member” is defined in Section 784.041(2)(b)1., F.S., as having the same meaning as in s. 741.28, F.S.

Section 741.28(3) defines the term “family or household member” to include current and former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who have resided together as a family, and parents who have a child together regardless of whether they have been married.

The family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit (unless they qualify as parents who have a child in common).

Section 784.041(2)(b)2., F.S., defines the term “dating relationship” as a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

Florida Supreme Court Cases on Domestic Battery by Strangulation

In Johnson v. State, 969 So. 2nd 938, 956-957 (Fla. 2007), the Florida Supreme Court held that strangulation of a conscious victim transforms a murder into a death penalty offense because it is per se “heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

In Lopez-Macaya v. State, 278 So. 2d. 248 (Fla. 2019), the Florida Supreme Court held there is no need to prove that victim suffered actual great bodily harm. Instead, it need only be proven that the actions created a risk of great bodily harm.

What is the minimum sentence for Domestic Battery by Strangulation?

The crime of Domestic Battery by Strangulation is classified as a third-degree felony. In Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, the crime has a severity ranking of Level 6.

The same penalties apply to felony battery charges under Section 784.041(1) when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Read more about domestic violence battery crimes prosecuted in Pinellas County, FL.

Additional Resources

What Judges Should Know About Battery by Strangulation – Visit the Florida Court’s website for a bench card explaining what judges should know when faced with non-fatal strangulation. The bench card described Florida law for non-fatal strangulation charges, the correct terminology to use in these cases, why the victim might lack visible injuries, brain and neurological impact, why strangulation is a high-risk factor for lethality and the reasons why the victim might recant.

This article was last updated on Monday, July 3, 2023.