He is alleged to have grabbed her, assaulted her and threw her to the ground. Once on the ground, he began to choke her because he could not find her money in her purse, police said.

People inside the restaurant came to the woman’s aid.

The new offense was created as part of an effort to prevent and prosecute domestic violence, although the case against Taylor is not a domestic violence situation.

According to a story in Lawyers Weekly, in addition to boosting prevention efforts and creating a right to domestic violence leave for certain employees, the measure signed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick in August month created a new felony offense of strangulation and suffocation.

The Lawyers Weekly story said the bill amended Chapter 265 to add section 15D, which defines “strangulation” as “the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying substantial pressure on the throat or neck of another,” and “suffocation” as the “intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by blocking the nose or mouth of another.”

Those convicted of strangulation and suffocation face up to five years in prison, twice the maximum sentence for assault and battery. The law provides a stiffer sentence of up to 10 years when serious bodily injury is the result, the victim is pregnant, or the defendant was previously convicted of trying to strangle or suffocate someone, the story said.