The state of Illinois takes a firm stance against all forms of domestic violence. People can face criminal charges for violence against their partner, their parents or their children.

However, there are certain forms of domestic violence that Illinois lawmakers and law enforcement associate with higher risk. Therefore, these particular forms of assault can be much more serious for the person facing allegations of domestic abuse or assault.

In particular, strangulation carries much more significant consequences than a standard domestic violence charge would. The law has not always been that way, but strangulation has received special consideration since 2010. Domestic abuse involving strangulation can result in felony battery charges instead of misdemeanor charges.

Anyone accused of domestic violence needs to inform themselves about their rights as they develop a defense. This is particularly true for those facing the elevated consequences related to allegations of strangulation.

Strangulation has an association with escalating violence

Strangulation is the physical act of compressing or constricting another person’s airway/throat, either with an object or your hands. While it is, of course, dangerous, one could argue that it is no more or less dangerous than many other forms of abuse and assault, such as blows to the face, kicks and other extreme physical violence.

Any of these could prove fatal or result in lasting injuries. However, the harsh stance on strangulation is related not to the inherent risk in the act of strangling someone. Instead, it comes from social evidence that strangulation in assaults is indicative of escalating violence. In a relatively small analysis of Chicago domestic violence murders, researchers found that over 50% of the women murdered by their intimate partners had been the victim of a strangulation assault in the prior year.

By attaching more serious consequences to strangulation, lawmakers hope to protect people from abusers who could continue to escalate and eventually kill someone. However, for those accused of crimes involving strangulation, it means that the criminal record and consequences of such a charge are much more serious than those related to standard assault or battery.

Anyone accused of a crime has the right to a defense

There is a presumption of innocence that protects anyone facing legal charges in the United States of America. You have the right to a defense and to attempt to clear your name if you find yourself facing allegations of domestic assault.

There are many potential options available to help you defend against pending charges, but what works best will vary depending on your exact situation. Sitting down with a criminal defense attorney can help you develop a strategy to minimize the impact of your pending charges.