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Strangulation Defense Attorneys in Sussex and Warren County NJ

Belvidere Attorneys Defending Domestic Violence Choking and Airway Obstruction Offenses

IExperienced Defense for Second Degree Strangulation Charges in Warren County NJ n 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation making strangulation in a domestic violence incident a second degree crime. Previously, this crime had been a third degree crime without a presumption of incarceration. New Jersey legislators and Governor Murphy had put forward this law in order to alleviate the rising numbers in domestic violence serious injuries. Victims in domestic violence incidents could be strangled and their attackers could literally be back home after a brief arrest and possible release. Now, the new law changes this, protecting thousands of victims throughout the state.

The 2021 law makes the strangulation in a domestic violence incident a crime of the second degree. The purpose of making this specific crime a second degree crime instead of a third degree crime was to protect the victims of domestic violence. Much research went into the new legislation. For example, it was determined that strangulation in a domestic violence is the biggest indicator of the victim suffering a fatal injury in the future. As previously mentioned, a victim could be strangled, or choked, one day and call the cops. Now, the accused faces five to ten years in state prison and a presumption of incarceration if convicted. But what about the accused in a strangulation case? Who advocates for their rights and protects their innocence? We do.

Our experienced Sussex County and Warren County criminal defense lawyers will negotiate on your behalf and explore viable alternatives to prison such as diversionary programs. If you are facing a strangulation charge, you are not considered eligible for a diversionary program like the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, but the right attorney can possibly secure permission from the prosecutor for you to apply. In some cases, our criminal defense lawyers can negotiate the charge to a lesser charge such as simple assault to avoid a prison sentence. In other cases, we can show issues with the alleged victim’s credibility, or show that this charge is simply an argument that got out of hand and the state does not have the evidence necessary to satisfy all of the elements for a conviction. In these cases, the charges are likely dismissed.

Contact our criminal attorneys to discuss your strangulation case in Newton, Vernon, Belvidere, Frankford, Hopatcong, Lopatcong, Sparta, Phillipsburg, and other Warren and Sussex County areas today. You can reach us anytime, day or night, at 973-755-1695 for a free initial consultation.

Defining Domestic Violence Strangulation: Aggravated Assault in the Second Degree in New Jersey

Technically, strangulation is when a person obstructs the breathing or blood circulation of another person. In terms of the statute, the perpetrator must also “knowingly” manifest an “extreme indifference” to the “value of human life”. When thinking about what those words actually mean, you can feel chills. The statute is saying that when strangling someone, the perpetrator must knowingly do so in a manner that displays that the perpetrator does not care if the victim lives or dies. Contextually, that means the perpetrator strangles the victim in a domestic violence incident without any care for the victim’s life. If the victim dies, then so be it. That is the thinking that parallels the perpetrator’s behavior. This is reprehensible behavior and it is a wonder that it wasn’t treated as such before 2021.

What Needs to be Proven in NJ Strangulation Cases?

For a conviction of NJSA 2c:12-1(b)(13), or strangulation in the course of a domestic violence incident, three essential elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The first element is that the defendant must have “obstructed the breathing or blood circulation of the victim”.  The second element is that the defendant acted knowingly or showing that they had an “extreme indifference to the value of human life”.  Typically, the conduct must be such that shows the defendant knew there would be a negative effect on the victim’s breathing. The third element is that the victim is considered to be a domestic violence victim as it is defined in NJSA 2C:25-19.

Do You Get Bail for Strangulation Assault Offenses in NJ?

Ways to Defend Strangulation Assault Cases in Sussex County NJSince the bail reform act in 2017, the bail system in New Jersey has dramatically changed. There is no cash bail for crimes in New Jersey anymore. Therefore, when someone is arrested, they undergo a Public Safety Assessment (PSA) that tests various factors in order to suggest detention of the individual for the next court hearing, or release with or without conditions. For strangulation cases, there is a high likelihood for a motion to be filed by the prosecution for detention, which means they are requesting that the defendant continue to be held while the case is ongoing. At a domestic violence detention hearing, it is the duty of the prosecutor to show why the defendant must be detained. For crimes like strangulation in a domestic violence incident, it is crucial to have an attorney representing you to argue for your release and convince the judge that there is no need to hold you in jail in order to protect the victim from what might be an inevitable injustice and injury.

Am I Going to Jail for a Strangulation Charge in New Jersey?

Second degree crimes in the State of New Jersey carry with it significant penalties. Defendants convicted of second degree crimes are exposed to 5-10 years in a state prison, and $150,000.00 in fines. This is also a crime that falls under the No Early Release Act (NERA) which means that the convicted defendant must serve 85% of their sentence in order to be considered for parole.

Strangling Someone as Grounds for a NJ Restraining Order

Restraining orders are different in that they are a civil remedy to victim protection. When a domestic violence incident takes place, the perpetrator can be charged with a crime such as strangulation, but the victim also has the option to file a restraining order in family court in order to prevent contact with the perpetrator. The initial restraining order is temporary until a final restraining order hearing takes place and the temporary order becomes final which is indefinite. If the perpetrator violates the restraining order, they are charged with a separate crime of the fourth degree, namely criminal contempt.

The Victim Doesn’t Want to Move Forward, Will the Aggravated Assault Strangulation Charges Get Dropped?

Even though the victim has significant weight as to the conviction of the defendant, if they choose not to proceed, it doesn’t matter. The State is who presents these charges, and the prosecutor determines how the case will proceed. It would be hard to do without the victim’s cooperation, but the State prosecutor can still decide to pursue a conviction against the perpetrator.

Contact Frankford Strangulation Assault Lawyers for a Free Consultation

When faced with serious charges such as these, it is more than important to hire an attorney who has experience defending against felony strangulation domestic violence charges. Many times, these are trumped up charges and false. This happens for a variety of reasons, such as a bad argument. Either way, it matters who you hire because they will be your only hope at not going to prison for 5-10 years.

If you value your freedom, it is imperative to hire an attorney who has successfully defended against these charges in the past. Contact The Tormey Law Firm to speak with a criminal defense attorney handling domestic violence strangulation, choking, and obstructing breathing charges in Hackettstown, Andover, Greenwich, Allamuchy, Franklin, Mansfield, Pohatcong, Stillwater, and other communities in the Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey area. We offer free consultations at your convenience.

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Our attorneys serve clients in Allamuchy, Andover, Belvidere, Frankford Township, Greenwich, Franklin Borough, Hackettstown, Hopatcong, Lopatcong Township, Newton, Mansfield Township, Sparta, North Warren, Vernon, Phillipsburg, Wantage, Pohatcong Township, Stillwater, Washington Borough, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County, New Jersey.


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