Domestic Assault by Strangulation in Minnesota is a felony. It is essentially a heightened version of domestic assault where the physical act used is strangulation. To be found guilty, a person has to allegedly assaulted a family or household member with the use of strangulation. The charge most commonly results as Second-Degree Assault.

What Constitutes Strangulation?

This is the most important factor and it is why this version of domestic assault is separate from the standard crime of domestic assault. Strangulation occurs when someone intentionally impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person. This means that strangulation can occur even if the person is still able to breath or talk, because only a person’s normal breathing needs to be interfered with. Choking someone with your hands, pushing on someone’s neck with your knee, or covering someone’s face with a pillow or bag can all be considered strangulation.

What Constitutes Assault?

Assault can be difficult to understand but generally it consists of either an intentional infliction or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another or an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death. In the context of domestic assault by strangulation you really are looking at an intentional infliction of bodily harm upon another. Specifically, the intentional infliction of harm by strangulation.

What Constitutes a Family or Household member?

While this seems very straightforward and easy to understand the term “family or household member” goes beyond the simple common-sense definition. The term includes spouses, former spouses, parents, children, relatives by blood, people you currently live with or have lived with in the past, someone whom you share a child with, people you have a significant or sexual relationship with, and if a woman is pregnant either the woman or the alleged father.

What are the Possible Consequences for Domestic Assault by Strangulation?

As a felony a person found guilty is looking at a maximum consequence of three years, a fine of $5,000, or both. It is important to note though that in Minnesota felony convictions are subject to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. This means that the amount of prison time a person must do is determined by looking at a person’s prior criminal history score. The period of time is not always the final amount, as a deviation from the sentencing guidelines can be requested by a motion to the court. When a departure motion is filed, a Judge can decide to sentence lower than what the guidelines dictate for that specific situation. Therefore, while the guidelines typically determine the maximum, the maximum does not always apply.