Strangulation or Felony Choking Charges in Texas
Family violence assaults can be enhanced by an allegation that the assault was “strangulation” – which means choking or “impeding breath or circulation.”
Choking allegations can be among the most difficult to defend because the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office regularly prosecutes choking (also called strangulation cases) when there are no visible injuries. They also prosecute cases that the alleged victim has no desire for the prosecution to go forward.
What is Choking, Strangulation, or Impeding Breath in Texas?
Assault, including Assault by Choking, is defined by Penal Code Section 22.01. Choking means intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to a person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.
If a person is accused of having impeded the breath or circulation of a family member or dating partner, that case is going to get filed as an Assault Family Violence – Choking charge. In Tarrant County, these cases are generally handled by the Felony Family Violence Unit.
Choking allegations range from manual strangulation (using hands) to strangulation using other objects (such as rope, cords, etc.).
In some cases, the defense of consent might be raised, particularly if the choking took place in a consensual BDSM relationship.
What if the Alleged Victim in an Impeding Breath Case had No Injuries?
The law does not require bruises, marks, burst capillaries in the eyes (petechiae), or any other type of visible injury for the state to proceed on this charge. In fact, most Family Violence choking cases prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office do not have any visible injuries.
What Level Offense is Choking, Strangulation, or Impeding Breath?
In Fort Worth, an allegation that a person intentionally, knowingly, or even recklessly impeded the breath or circulation of blood of someone who is considered a family member will give rise to a third-degree felony charge of Assault by Choking or Impeding Breath. This is a third degree felony, unless the person has a prior family violence conviction in which case it is enhanced to a second-degree felony.
Is Choking, Strangulation, or Impeding Breath a “3g” Offense?
Assault by Impeding Breath or Choking is not a 3g offense. Click here to learn more about 3g offenses. However, the State may allege the item that was used, whether it was hands or rope or some other object, was a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon paragraph, if found to be true, will make the offense a 3g offense.
Build a Defense Again Assault by Choking Allegations in Fort Worth
If you are facing allegations of assault by choking in Fort Worth, call our experienced lawyers to discuss your legal rights and options. We have decades of experience and proven results. Call today for a free consultation. (817) 203-2220.
Affidavit of NonProsecution Form 2020