The criminal charge of Domestic Battery by Strangulation under Florida Statute Section 784.041(2)(a) is a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. The offense also makes it a crime to suffocate a person by blocking the nose or mouth in a way that impedes the person’s normal breathing.

The crime is considered “domestic violence” although the statute also includes not just family or household members but also individuals in a “dating relationships.”

Elements of Domestic Battery by Strangulation

The criminal offense of domestic battery by strangulation or suffocation requires the prosecutor to prove certain elements of the offense beyond all reasonable doubt. The elements of the crime are listed as follows:

  • The Defendant intentionally and knowingly
    • impeded the normal breathing of the victim by blocking the nose or mouth of the victim; or
      impeded the normal circulation of the blood by applying pressure to the neck or throat
    • The act was against the will of the victim;
  • In so doing, the Defendant created a risk of great bodily harm to the victim or actually caused great bodily harm to the victim; and
  • Defendant was in a dating relationship with the alleged victim or was a family or household member of alleged victim.

Definitions in Florida’s Domestic Battery by Strangulation Statute

Florida’s law concerning domestic battery by strangulation or suffocation defines the term “family or household member” to mean a spouse, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.

In order to qualify as a “family or household member the person accused and the alleged victim must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit (except that individuals who have a child together meet the definition even though they may have never lived together).

Florida’s statute for domestic violence by strangulation also applies to individuals who are not “domestically” related, but who nevertheless are in a “dating relationship.” Florida law defines the term “dating relationship” to mean a significant and continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.