A proposed bill in Colorado seeks to formally define strangulation as a felony, and many of the bill’s proponents say it is a necessary step toward protecting domestic violence victims and ensuring their abusers are properly prosecuted. As of right now, Colorado classifies strangling someone as a misdemeanor, one of only 12 states that do so. That means that even those found guilty may not face severe enough penalties to deter them from repeating the offense.
Those pushing for the bill’s passage point out that strangulation is a very personal form of injury, requiring the person doing the violence to use their hands as weapons essentially. Strangulation also poses a major medical risk, with complications including brain damage and death from lack of oxygen to the brain. The bill’s first hearing took place on Feb. 9, but it still has a long way to go before being made into law.
Domestic violence cases are handled by the Colorado family courts, but changes in the criminal law code can affect how these cases are handled as well. While ensuring that the punishment fits the severity of the crime is an important step toward protecting victims, it’s important for victims to also understand that they may be able to get protection or restraining orders to also protect their safety.
Whether you are a victim of domestic violence and trying to get more information on your legal option to protect yourself or you have been accused of abuse and are wondering what the ramifications may be, discussing your situation with a family law attorney is a first step.
Source: CBS Denver, “Domestic Violence Victims Push For Strangulation Felony Classification,” Shaun Boyd, Feb. 05, 2016