The biggest difference between simple assault, aggravated assault, and assault by strangulation is how these offenses are graded. What most people do not know is that assault by strangulation, under Section 2718, has harsher consequences than simple assault. While assault by strangulation has harsh consequences, so does aggravated assault without strangulation, because aggravated assault is usually done with a dangerous weapon or against a protected class of individuals.
Navigating the differences between assault charges can be challenging. Talking to a violent crime attorney can help. If you were charged with assault by strangulation, you want an attorney who has experienced defending clients in multiple kinds of criminal charges to fight for your rights.
Contact (610) 436-1410 to learn more about potential defenses. Attorney Michael J. Skinner represents clients accused of misdemeanor and felony assault offenses throughout Pennsylvania in Lancaster in Lancaster County, Media in Delaware County, Norristown in Montgomery County, and West Chester in Chester County.
Assault by strangulation is defined as cutting off someone’s circulation or blood flow. Sometimes even slightly choking someone can result in criminal charges even if no physical injury occurred.
To be convicted of assault by strangulation, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally or knowingly, impeded another person’s breathing or blood circulation by blocking his or her nose and mouth or applying pressure to the neck or throat.
The prosecution does not have to show physical injury, nor is the lack of physical injury a defense to criminal charges.
If a defendant is found guilty of assault by strangulation under Section 2718, then the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to two (2) years in prison and up to 5,000 in fines.
Assault—by strangulation could be subject to enhanced consequences when the assault is against a family or household member, a care-dependent person (by a caretaker) or if it was done in conjunction with sexual violence, stalking, or human trafficking. If the defendant is found guilty, then assault is charged as is a second-degree felony.
Second-degree felonies are punishable by up to ten (10) years in prison and up to $25,000 fines.
An individual is guilty of a first-degree felony if he or she uses an instrument of crime, as defined in §907 of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code in addition to strangulation, or if the defendant has a previous conviction for assault by strangulation.
First-degree felonies are punishable by up to twenty (20) years in prison and up to $25,000 fines.
Consent is an affirmative defense to this charge. Consent is only valid if it is given voluntarily and knowingly.
Unlike the everyday use of words like family or caretaker, for example, the assault by strangulation statute has a specific meaning for these words.
The term Care-Dependent Person is defined as an adult that needs assistance due to physical or cognitive disability or impairment.
The term Caretaker is defined as any person who is an owner, manager, operator, or employee of any one of the following:
The term Family or Household Member is defined as including the following:
Section §2718 – Visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the official website of the Pennsylvania Legislature for the full statutory language of the assault statute, which includes the other assault offenses such as simple assault and aggravated assault.
Being charged with any kind of criminal offense –large or small— can be very scary. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help ease some of those fears. Talk to our attorneys about assault charges and get a better understanding of your rights.
Attorney Michael J. Skinner represents clients accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses throughout the Boroughs of Media in Delaware County, Norristown in Montgomery, County, Lancaster in Lancaster County, and West Chester in Chester County.