Strangulation in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 121.12

Similar to Criminal Obstruction of Breath or Blood Circulation (NYPL § 121.11), this offense involves a person putting their hands around another person's neck or over their mouth or nose. In order to be convicted of Strangulation in the Second Degree, however, the complainant must suffer some sort of physical injury, or must lose consciousness for some degree of time.

Because of the added element of demonstrable injury or loss of consciousness, the punishment for this crime is significantly more severe than Criminal Obstruction of Breath or Blood Circulation (NYPL § 121.11). Strangulation in the Second Degree is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison. This is a very harsh penalty considering how low the bar is for establishing "physical injury." Physical injury is described by the Penal Law as impairment of physical condition or substantial pain. While there is no definition of what makes pain "substantial," New York courts consider this a relatively minor threshold.

During the pendency of an active felony case, it is likely there will be an order of protection signed by a judge prohibiting any and all contact between the defendant and the complainant. In domestic violence situations, which is frequently when Strangulation in the Second Degree is charged, this means that not only has the defendant been arrested, booked, and indicted, but, if an order of protection is in place, the defendant cannot even return home if he lives the complainant. If family or close friends do not live nearby, options quickly become limited.

If you have been charged with Strangulation in the Second Degree, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who understands New York domestic violence cases, and who will fight for your interests. Although these cases do require evidence of some sort of injury or black-out, the underlying facts about the incident still usually come down to a "he said/she said" back and forth. A top New York domestic violence trial attorney will understand that winning this type of case requires investigating every aspect of the prosecution's witnesses to expose bias, past dishonesty, or any motivations to fabricate a story. Discrediting witnesses for the prosecution is the key to winning these cases.

When you have a pending Strangulation in the Second Degree case, the stakes are high: if convicted you could lose your career and your freedom. The experienced New York domestic violence attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have a proven track record with all types of domestic violence matters. Call us today at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.