Justia Lawyer Rating
Super Lawyers Badge
Avvo Badge
Massachusetts Bar Association
Top-Rated Lawyer

Strangulation or Suffocation

Strangulation or suffocation became a distinct crime in Massachusetts in 2014. Prior to that, a defendant accused of strangulation or suffocation would be charged with assault and battery or attempted murder. Assault and battery is a misdemeanor and attempted murder is a serious felony requiring proof of specific intent to murder. The crime of strangulation or suffocation, a felony that is not as difficult to prove as attempted murder, offered a new charging option. If you have been charged with strangulation or suffocation, you are facing a serious charge and should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

What is Strangulation?

“Strangulation” is defined by statute as “the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying substantial pressure on the throat or neck of another.” Inferences drawn by the jury as to whether a defendant interfered with a complainant’s normal breathing need only be reasonable and possible.

What is Suffocation?

The statute defines “suffocation” as “the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by blocking the nose or mouth of another.”

What is Aggravated Strangulation or Suffocation?

The crime of strangulation or suffocation carries increased potential penalties where certain aggravating factors are present. Strangulation or suffocation is aggravated in cases where: the defendant knew or had reason to know that the victim was pregnant; the defendant knew of a restraining order in effect against the defendant; the strangulation or suffocation caused a serious bodily injury; and the defendant had a prior conviction for strangulation or suffocation. Because the law views these aggravating circumstances as increasing the seriousness of the crime or its consequences, persons charged with aggravated forms of strangulation or suffocation may face an aggressive prosecution and will require the services of an experienced criminal attorney.

What Sentence Do I Face If I Am Convicted of Strangulation or Suffocation?

The crime of strangulation or suffocation is punishable by up to 5 years in the state prison or up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction. Aggravated forms of strangulation or suffocation are punishable by up to 10 years in the state prison. If you are convicted of this offense or if your case is continued without a finding, you will need to complete a certified batterer’s program unless good cause is shown.

How Can I Defend Against Charges of Strangulation or Suffocation?

Though your defense will depend on the unique facts of your case, there are certain common defenses to charges of strangulation or suffocation. It might be argued that the alleged victim is lying or that the defendant was acting in self- defense. A lawyer might argue that the alleged conduct did not meet the statutory definitions of strangulation or suffocation. The victim might have a privilege and the right to refuse to testify, which could result in dismissal of the case. A skilled criminal lawyer will explore all options and mount the best defense possible.

Massachusetts Strangulation Defense Attorney 617-263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with strangulation or suffocation in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. today. You are facing potentially harsh punishments, and it is in your best interest to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Stephen Neyman is known throughout Massachusetts for achieving excellent results for his clients. With decades of experience in criminal practice, Attorney Neyman offers unparalleled knowledge and skill. He works aggressively to protect the rights and futures of his clients. You can reach Attorney Neyman’s office at any time by calling 617-263-6800 or by filling out an online contact form.

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
"I hired him and he got the case dismissed before I had to go into a courtroom. My school never found out and if they had I would have lost my academic scholarships. He really saved my college career." Melissa C. Cold Spring, New York, October 2013
"My union rep told me to call Steve Neyman. From the get go I felt comfortable with him. He took the time to talk to me about my case whenever I needed .... He even gave me his personal cell number and took all my calls. We won the case and I kept my job." Bart L. S.
"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts