Delaware (2010)


(a)(1) A person commits the offense of strangulation if the person knowingly or intentionally impedes the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, strangulation is a Class E felony.

(3) Strangulation is a Class D felony if:

a. The person used or attempted to use a dangerous instrument or a deadly weapon while committing the offense; or

b. The person caused serious physical injury to the other person while committing the offense; or

c. The person has been previously convicted of strangulation.

(b) It is an affirmative defense that an act constituting strangulation was the result of a legitimate medical procedure.

L.R. v. M.R. (2019) WL 7282045

Wife seeks a protection order against husband. Husband responds by seeking a protection order against her. At the hearing, the Commissioner granted the wife’s request and denied husband’s request.  Commissioner grants a 2 year order but wife requested a life time order due to the long history of domestic violence.  Wife appeals and requests the commissioner’s decision be reviewed by a judge. Under Delaware law, a case can be reviewed de novo. On appeal, wife claims there was at least one aggravating factor justifying a life time order.  Not only did the reviewing judge agree, but the judge found three aggravating factors and specifically called out the prior strangulation as a serious physical injury.  The wife/victim had been strangled to the point where she could not breathe, eyes rolled back and urinated. She sought medical attention and called the police.  Husband was in jail and being prosecuted for the offenses.  Judge pointed out in the decision that when Delaware passed their felony stand-alone strangulation law, it recognized the severity of the crime including the fact that strangulation is a leading indicator in domestic violence deaths.

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