By: Ryan Petrovich

WEST VIRGINIA – Earlier this month the crime of strangulation become a felony in our state.

Legislators first passed this during the 2015 regular session, but Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it. A similar bill, however, came about this year and after Tomblin was given more info our governor chose to sign it into law.

Before this became the new rule, often times if somebody strangled someone it wasn’t always considered a felony and the punishments were a lot less severe. Now if any person who strangles another person without consent and causes bodily harm or causes them to pass out, they can be charged with a felony.

If the person’s convicted they can possibly be sentenced to one to five years and given a fine of over two grand. One official told me that if this can save lives and minimize this act of violence, it’s done it’s job.

“Education, I think, is key here in getting the word out and letting folks know first of all how dangerous strangulation is and that there is a new law,” said Joyce Yedlosky, a Team Coordinator for the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Our whole goal is to not lock people up, but to prevent the deaths and prevent strangulation from occurring so if this law can achieve those things then we’ve achieved our purpose.”

When we spoke to a local police chief he said the bulk of situations they responded to where someone has been strangled it’s usually a domestic dispute. He also says there should be stiffer penalties for domestic cases in general.

“Strangulation to the point of incapacitation, you pass out, that’s how far it’ll have to go, but the penalties for domestic battery should be stiffer. Period,” said Craig Cross, Elkins Chief of Police. “If you strangle somebody and cause them to go unconscious it could be an attempted murder.”

Click to See the Full Article Here: Strangulation: A Felony in the Mountain State