A brief report from the Houston Chronicle this week indicates that more people in the area are being charged with choking since a change to the law in 2009 made the act a felony.
According to the Chronicle, 10 people have been charged in Harris County this week alone. The majority of them are accused of choking a spouse or partner, though some stand accused of choking other family members.
Choking was once charged as an assault, which could have been classified as a misdemeanor, carrying no jail time. Now, however, it is considered a felony.
If a suspect has never been charged with choking before, it’s a 3rd degree felony, carrying 2 to 10 years in prison. If, however, they’ve previously been convicted of choking, they face a 2nd degree felony and up to 20 years in prison.
The law change was needed because choking often precludes even greater violence. Though it often doesn’t leave lasting marks or scars, like beatings and other assaults can, the dangers of choking are very real.
Restricted air flow to the brain can cause loss of consciousness in the short-term, but brain damage and even death in the long-term.
All domestic assault charges are potentially serious, leading to dramatic legal repercussions for the suspect and personal consequences for everyone involved.
You could be facing charges of domestic assault and numerous years behind bars. In addition, you will be named in an a protective agreement and, if convicted, be forced to disclose that information on future job applications and lease agreements.
When awareness of a specific issue—like choking—is raised as it was when the 2009 law was passed, it makes sense that more cases would come to light.
“As people become more aware of the dangers of cutting off a person’s air supply, it is more likely that victims will report this offense, police will arrest defendants, and prosecutors will file these charges,” says Donna Hawkins, a spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The local prosecutors and courts are serious about penalizing people who are suspected of offenses like this. When you are accused of domestic violence, it’s completely normal to feel like no one is on your side, like no one cares about what you have to say.
Fortunately, your criminal defense attorney is your advocate within the system. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help you avoid a conviction on your record.