Most forms of interpersonal violence are against the law in Pennsylvania, but some of them may result in more significant consequences for an alleged offender than others. Allegations of interpersonal violence or assault in Pennsylvania can lead to someone’s arrest and potentially a criminal trial. Oftentimes, the other party involved in the incident will not be able to prevent the state from prosecuting if there is evidence of what occurred. The actions of the people involved, their relationships to one another and even the consequences of the incident can all influence the charges that someone faces and the penalties that the court might impose in the wake of a conviction.
There are certain elements that can enhance or exacerbate pending assault or domestic violence charges in Pennsylvania. Strangulation – or the use of force around someone’s throat in an attempt to inhibit their respiration – is one of the more common aggravating factors that may influence the outcome of domestic violence allegations in Pennsylvania.
What impact could strangulation potentially have on a pending domestic violence case?
The added element of strangulation will increase the severity of the charges being levied against an alleged offender. Strangulation is often handled as a second charge filed in addition to basic assault charges. In most scenarios, a strangulation offense will be classified as a second-degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania state law. However, if the victim who experienced the strangulation is a relative or someone who lives with the defendant, then the state will likely pursue second-degree felony charges. The pre-existing relationship between the parties involved can also serve as an aggravating factor to assault charges.
If someone engages in an act of strangulation during the commission of another crime, the state could potentially pursue first-degree felony charges against the person accused. It is also very likely that the prosecution will present evidence about the conduct of the defendant generally and the strangulation specifically as a means of driving home the severity of the assault incident. Allegations of strangulation can impact how a jury views a defendant and their chances of seeming sympathetic.
Violent offenses require robust defenses. Those who are facing accusations of a violent criminal offense could potentially end up in state custody, ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and struggling with the lasting consequences of a criminal record. Understanding the rules that can complicate Pennsylvania criminal charges can benefit those who are preparing for a criminal trial with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.