Being charged for a crime with a domestic violence enhancement in Colorado is not something anyone wants to deal with. Still, there are charges that can be even worse: domestic violence accusations that involve strangulation. If you are accused of domestic violence involving strangulation, then you need to seek out immediate representation by an experienced attorney for help.
Cases involving domestic violence can be very complicated, and officers are required to arrest anyone they have probable cause to believe has perpetrated a crime involving domestic violence.
Strangulation is a serious charge, particularly when involved in a domestic violence crime. Here is what you need to know about how strangulation can impact your charges and the penalties if you are found guilty in Colorado.
Strangulation in Colorado
Under Colorado law, strangulation that is involved in incidents of domestic violence makes a case an automatic felony. Under the law, a person can commit two types of strangulation. They are:
Manual means that the strangulation was committed with both hands, forearms, or kneeling on a person’s neck.
For ligature strangulation, a device with a band is used to strangle a person by tightening it. This can include cords, bedding, belts, clothing, and rope.
Domestic assault by strangulation is typically charged in situations where the act is perpetrated against someone who is a current or former spouse, a blood relative, someone you are dating or have dated, anyone you share a child with, or anyone you have or currently share a dwelling with.
It’s important to note that strangulation laws in Colorado are incredibly serious. Both first and second-degree assaults in our state can be charged in strangulation cases.
To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that you intended to cause bodily injury to another person and applied sufficient pressure to their neck to restrict blood circulation or their breathing.
Bottom line? Even if the situation doesn’t involve domestic violence, attempting to strangle another person is a serious crime in the state.
Penalties Associated with Strangulation in Colorado
Domestic violence in and of itself in Colorado has penalties associated with the underlying crime perpetrated. So, for example, assault penalties will depend on the seriousness of the injury, the actions taken during the assault, and any criminal history or history of domestic violence on the part of the defendant.
The most serious charge is assault in the first degree, which is a Class 3 felony. It can result in as many as 32 years in prison with fines of as much as $750,000. Third-degree assault, on the other hand, can result in 18 months of incarceration with fines of $1,000.
In the eyes of the law in Colorado, assaults that involve strangulation are simply more serious, so more severe penalties will be handed out. Additionally, cases involving domestic violence can include other orders by the court to complete a domestic violence treatment program, be subject to restraining orders, have a requirement to participate in alcohol or drug counseling, and include restrictions on the ownership and possession of firearms.
How To Defend Yourself Against CO Strangulation Charges
If you are involved in a case that includes domestic violence and strangulation, then you need the help of an experienced attorney to guide you. One of the things your attorney can do is help you to formulate a strong defense against the charges.
While each case is different, some common ways people attempt to defend themselves from charges involving strangulation. These include:
If you were attempting to defend yourself against an attack by the person you are accused of strangling, that may be a good affirmative defense if you can show evidence that you were acting in self-defense.
It Was an Accident
If the incident that occurred was not intentional and was merely an accident, and you have evidence to support this assertion, then you may be able to claim this type of defense and be successful.
The Allegations are False
If you didn’t strangle anyone and can back up your claims with evidence, this is a workable defense of innocence. Make sure to tell every detail to your attorney so they can help you to expand this type of defense and show you are innocent of the charges against you.
If you are accused of strangling someone in addition to committing a crime with a domestic violence enhancement, then you need an attorney on your side.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.