Assault of a Family Member by Impeding Breathing

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Fort Bend County Domestic Assault Lawyer James Sullivan Defends Family Violence Cases

Richmond, Texas Assault of a Family Member by Impeding Breathing (Choking) Defense

Assault by Impeding Breathing is a serious felony offense in Fort Bend County. A conviction for assault by impeding breathing (i.e. choking, strangling, suffocating, smothering) can result in severe penalties, including lengthy prison time and a large fine.  Such a conviction can also adversely impact your future, such as by losing many educational, employment, housing and public assistance opportunities.  A conviction for such a crime of violence will also prevent you from ever owning or possessing a firearm.

It is important to hire an experienced Richmond criminal defense lawyer because criminal charges for assault by impeding breathing do not have to result in a conviction and the resulting lifelong consequences.  In order to convict you, the state prosecutor must prove to a jury that you committed every element of the felony offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  With an experienced trial lawyer defending you, this is a very difficult burden to meet, and any reasonable doubt in the mind of any of the members of the jury can result in a not guilty verdict or a hung jury.  Therefore, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal attorney in Richmond who will fight for you.

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of assault by impeding breathing in Fort Bend county or any of the surrounding counties in Texas, contact James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free phone consultation at 281-546-6428.  Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, freedom and future.

One wonders if police officers may suggest to an emotionally distraught woman that she was choked in order to make a felony arrest. This may occur when the woman does not complain of being physically injured or threatened, the reason for most misdemeanor assault arrests. A female who is already mad at her boyfriend or husband may go along with the suggestion, not realizing the seriousness of such an allegation. It does seem odd that in some cases the only so-called objective evidence in the police offense report suggesting that such an assault occurred is the officer’s purported observation of “redness” on the woman’s neck, yet no photos were taken of this redness and the victim refused medical treatment. By the time she realizes the seriousness of her mistake, it is too late. Her boyfriend or husband is in jail on a felony bond and faces an uncertain future in whatever career path he is on. As he may be the only breadwinner, her mistake could ruin the family.

Since the law went into effect in 2009, choking arrests have gone up dramatically. According to a Houston Chronicle blog post by reporter Erin Mulvaney, the number of felony cases filed for Assault Family Member by Impeding Breathing (strangulation) has increased by 40 percent in the first 6 months of 2012 over the same time period as last year.

Assault by Impeding Breathing (choking) in Fort Bend County

According to section 22.01(b)(2)(B) of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with assault of a family member by impeding breathing if they were–

intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth

The law of assault by impeding breathing applies to a person whose relationship to or association with the accused is described as

  • “dating relationship”, a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. Texas Family Code §71.0021(b).
  • “family”, individuals related by consanguinity or affinity (see §573.022 and 573.024, Texas Government Code), individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.
  • “household”, a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.

Punishment for Assault by Impeding Breathing (strangulation) in Fort Bend County

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for assault by impeding breathing in Fort Bend County.

Assault by impeding breathing is usually charged as a third degree felony.  A conviction for such a felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.

Grand Jury Defense for Assault by Impeding Breathing Charges

If you are accused of assault by impeding breathing, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away because he may be able to win your case at the grand jury. Once your felony case has been indicted by the grand jury, this option is no longer available.  Attorney James Sullivan has fought and won many felony cases at the grand jury level over his 20 years of legal practice, including 6 assault by impeding breathing cases as well as over 35 other types of felony cases just since November 2008. When a case is dismissed (no billed) by the grand jury, the accused may have the immediate right to seek an expunction of the felony charge from their record.  Sullivan has been able to do this for many of his clients accused of felony offenses.  One of his many client reviews on AVVO:

Very Strategic Attorney for a Criminal Case

First and foremost, few people ever have to deal with the criminal circumstances in life. Life is uncertain, and unexpected things happen. But if you have attorney like James Sullivan on your side, your anxiety should either lessen or stop all together.
My life shattered into pieces when my wife called the police on me for a small argument. When the police arrived at the house, she falsely accused me of choking her and beating her. I was taken to jail. After I posted bond, the first thing I had to do was to find the” best of the best” attorney in Houston. After careful reviews, I found Mr. Sullivan to be an excellent Attorney choice for my case.
What makes Mr. James (Jim) Sullivan the best –of the best?

I contacted him directly to his personal cellphone. He scheduled me a time slot. Even after the schedule, he was very willing to listen to my side of the story. We spent about 30min discussing the case. When I reached his office the same day for a sit down, he was able to share a lot of his personal detail, which was very nice of him to describe himself and also get to know me better. From our hour long conversation, I came out very confident of my case.
He is a very strategic guy. He suggested various strategies to tackle my case. I followed all his recommendations and he was always there to listen to me. He was available at any time of the day through text, email, and cellphone.
On my case, I was initially assigned a court appointed attorney. After discussing my case with Mr. Sullivan, he took over the case on 23rd of January. With all our team work and his creative mind, he was able to get the case dismissed by the Grand Jury on 23rd of February (one month exactly – Case Dismissed – Outstanding Job – Very Impressive). I am very pleased with Mr. Sullivan’s Work ethics, communication, strategies, and personal skills.
Again, I would like to thank Mr. Sullivan for his help in making my life normal again!!
And out there, whoever is lost deciding an Attorney to choose from a crowd, Pick Mr. Sullivan, and I assure you that he will do his best to give you, your outstanding results.

–Posted by Raj Nepal on February 24, 2017

Contact a Richmond Criminal Lawyer

Attorney James Sullivan is an experienced Richmond Criminal Defense Attorney serving Fort Bend County and Texas since 1994. Sullivan graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, the most selective and prestigious trial advocacy program in America.
Fort Bend County criminal lawyer James Sullivan has successfully represented a number of men falsely accused of the serious felony of assault of a family or household member by impeding breathing (strangulation).  By way of detailed defense packets, Sullivan has persuaded the grand jury to no bill (dismiss) 7 such charges since the law was implemented. Sullivan has also prepared and set such cases for jury trial which the prosecutor then chose to dismiss on the trial setting. Certainly each case is different.  Similar results may not be obtained in your case and past performance is no guarantee of future results.
CRIMINAL OFFENSE
RESULT
CASE #
ALL CASES DISMISSED BY GRAND JURY OR THE STATE WERE BASED ON DEFENSE PACKETS
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHINGNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of suffocating his wife with a pillow)1535634
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHINGNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of choking his immigrant wife, however she actually attacked him and tried to goad him into hitting her. When he refused, she called 911. He believes she did this so she could then claim she was a battered spouse under mmigration law and petition to stay in the U.S. after a divorce)1537660
AGGRAVATED ROBBERYNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of being the driver in an aggravated robbery)1523678
INJURY TO A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of causing bodily injury to her 9 year old daughter. The grand jury agreed that her daughter's injury was the result of being reasonably disciplined)1522880
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (2° Felony)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, a disabled vet, shot and seriously wounded a former friend who was high on drugs, broke in his house right after being ordered to leave the premises and attempted to attack him)1505948
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT in Montgomery CountyNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot and seriously wounded a violent felon who was trying to steal his car at nighttime)16-03-02825
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of throwing a 12 lb glass trophy at his father and hitting him in the back)1480035
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER (Felony Habitual)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY AFTER FACING 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON (Client accused of slashing her ex-girlfriend's face. A witness at the scene supported client's version that her ex-girlfriend attacked her first with a broken wine bottle and cut her wrist and that her ex-girlfriend was accidentally injured in a struggle over the bottle)1478883
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHINGNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of choking his wife during an argument)1479091
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER enhanced with a prior Assault FM caseNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against his 15 year old daughter and was accused of abusing her. She was being rebellious and he spanked her with a belt to discipline her)1459744
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of trying to run her baby's daddy over with her Jeep and with their young son on the front passenger seat and in view of two nearby independent witnesses. In reality, he threw his bicycle in front of her Jeep to cause her to come to a screeching halt and then cursed at her. After she drove off, he lied to the witnesses about what happened)1467006
INJURY TO A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of causing bodily injury to his 10 year old nephew)1446872
SEXUAL ASSAULTCASE CLOSED BY THE STATE (16 year old juvenile client and 17 year old adult client were both accused of raping a 17 year old female friend. After reading the defense packet for the grand jury, the State chose to close the file without any charges being filed)CASE NOT YET FILED
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHING in Montgomery CountyDISMISSED BY THE STATE (Client accused of choking his wife during an argument. The State refused to present the case to the grand jury, dismissed the felony and refiled it as a misdemeanor)14-08-09346-CR
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client shot his brother in the side after his brother stabbed him in the arm. The client's brother was high on synthetic marihuana)1443039
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of shooting another guy's motorcycle twice while the guy was on it after the guy had broken the client's custom table)1431964
AGGRAVATED ROBBERY NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of shooting a gun into the ceiling of a restaurant and robbing patrons of their cell phones)1419975
INJURY TO A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, an officer in law enforcement, used reasonable discipline against his teenage daughter and was accused of abusing her)CASE NOT YET FILED
SEXUAL ASSAULT in Brazoria CountyNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client, an elected official, was accused of sexual assault by his girlfriend)CASE NOT YET FILED
INJURY TO A CHILD in Matagorda CountyNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client used reasonable discipline against her 10 year son and was accused of abusing him after she accidentally slapped him on his side when he was resisting the hand spanking)CASE NOT YET FILED
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD in Montgomery CountyNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of sexually abusing his 16 year old nephew)CASE NOT YET FILED
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHINGNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of choking his girlfriend during an argument)1356656
INJURY TO A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of breaking his infant son’s leg and 3 ribs. The hospital ER physician did not consider other medical disorders as a cause)1340646
ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBER/IMPEDING BREATHINGNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of choking his wife during an argument)1336650
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY MEMBERNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of intentionally trying to drive into and strike her girlfriend)1341002
EVADING BY MOTOR VEHICLENO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of evading police in her car when she drove about ½  mile after the officer switched on his strobe lights)1338389
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of having sex with 16 year old girl who falsely claimed she was 18)1332791
BURGLARY OF A HABITATIONNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused breaking into home while homeowner was home, however client had credible alibi witnesses at the time of the alleged burglary)1321679
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of intentionally driving into and striking the new girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend)1302447
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting man in head with beer bottle outside a bar; client claimed self-defense)1302814
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AGAINST PUBLIC SERVANTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Police Officer shot at 4 unarmed teenagers in a truck and claimed that client pointed a gun at him)1291937
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of hitting other woman in head with metal pole)1281977
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE 2 nd OFFENDER (Felony Habitual)NO BILLED BY GRAND JURY AFTER FACING 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON (Client accused of hitting wife multiple times after both had been drinking)1281428
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)1283460
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of injuring another man, using knuckles)1275771
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of using a knife to threaten another man who the client accused of stealing his property from his apartment)1270564
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)1264919
FORGERY OF A FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of knowingly passing a counterfeit $100 bill at store)1252585
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of molesting his sister-in-law)1241754
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of molesting his sister-in-law)1241755
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILDNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client accused of consensual sex with underage female)1231727
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY1203539
BURGLARY OF A HABITATION WITH INTENT TO COMMIT ASSAULTNO BILLED BY GRAND JURY (Client was accused of breaking into an apartment and attacking the occupants after a drug deal went bad)1182231

You can call James Sullivan and Associates for a confidential free consultation  at (281) 546-6428.