Strangulation in the First Degree: NY Penal Law 121.13

The most serious of all the statutes relating to Strangulation and Related Offenses found in New York Penal Law Article 121 is First Degree Strangulation. As a class “C” felony, New York Penal Law 121.13 is what criminal lawyers legally categorize as a “violent offense.” Unlike non-violent crimes where a potential sentence is indeterminate, meaning a judge will sentence you to a range of incarceration, Strangulation in the First Degree mandates a determinate sentence. If convicted of NY Penal 121.13 be prepared to go to prison for a minimum of three and one half years and as long as fifteen. In the event you have a prior felony conviction or violent felony conviction in the previous ten years, the three and one-half year minimum is increased by statute to five and seven years respectively. While the potential incarceration upon a plea to Strangulation in the First Degree should open your eyes to the severity of an arrest, indictment or trial accusing you of PL 121.13, a conversation with your criminal lawyer will dissuade you of any thoughts otherwise.

First Degree Strangulation: Elements of NY Penal Law 121.13

Somewhat similar to the lesser Strangulation felony, New York Penal Law section 121.13, First Degree Strangulation, dictates that if you perpetrate the crime of Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation by, for example, applying pressure to a person’s throat or neck or by obstructing that person’s nose or mouth with the intent to prevent or inhibit their normal breathing or blood flow, then you are close to committing Strangulation in the First Degree. The additional element that the District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that due to your actions the complainant suffered a “serious physical injury” as defined in the New York Penal Law even if it was not your intent to cause such an injury.

One of the major differences between Strangulation in the First Degree and the lesser Second Degree offense is that the injury sustained by the complainant needs to go beyond physical injury and reach the “serious physical injury” threshold. In this situation, where broken blood vessels, swollen jaw and deep “angry” bruise would likely satisfy NY Penal Law 121.12, it would not be enough for a violation of 121.13. Instead the injury must be of the type that causes impairment to the complainant’s health, disfigurement or similar trauma. Just as with the other related offenses, it is imperative to vet the facts, evidence and nature of the alleged injury to determine whether the prosecution can establish all of the elements of First Degree Strangulation beyond a reasonable doubt and what defense you should consider implementing. Remember, identifying the right defense and the best criminal lawyers to successfully confront the evidence will make the difference not only between incarceration and limited or no imprisonment, but the potential decimation of your career, professional licenses, family, and immigration status.

Whether the crime you face is a class “C” violent felony offense such as Strangulation in the First Degree, a lesser felony or misdemeanor, do not recklessly push forward without the strongest defensive strategy. Because there is no substitute for knowledge, experience and advocacy, know that the criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys at Crotty Saland PC are prepared and ready to represent you in your time of great need.

Call the New York criminal defense lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today

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