The crime of strangulation is a new addition to Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code as of December 27, 2016. In that regard, there’s not a lot of court cases that have interpreted this law.

Strangulation, however, is a crime if a person “knowingly or intentionally impedes the breathing or circulation of the blood of another” in one of two ways:

  • Applying pressure to the throat or neck; or
  • Blocking the nose and mouth of the person

It is not necessary for the government to prove the “infliction of physical injury” to the alleged victim, and the lack of a physical injury is not a defense. However, it is an affirmative defense to a charge of strangulation if the act was consented to by the alleged victim.

Generally, strangulation is graded a second-degree misdemeanor. But it is graded as a second-degree felony if committed—

  • Against a family or household member;
  • By a caretaker against a care-dependent person; or
  • In conjunction with sexual violence, conduct constituting the crime of stalking, or conduct related to human trafficking.
  • Strangulation is graded as a first-degree felony if—
  • At the time of the offense, the person is subject to a protection-from-abuse order that covers the alleged victim;
  • In committing the offense, the person uses an instrument of crime as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 907; or
  • The person has previously been convicted of an offense involving sexual violence or human trafficking.

Accused of a violent crime?

We’re prepared & ready to fight for you from beginning to end.

Schedule a Consultation

or CALL 412-896-1349