Assault by Strangulation Lawyer Greensboro, NC

Assault by Strangulation is an interesting charge in North Carolina, as our Criminal Lawyers often see this charge with reference to a Domestic Assault. This charge is a higher level charge than Assault on a Female and our Assault by Strangulation lawyers look into issues surrounding these cases and possible defenses below. Let’s get started.

assault by strangulation lawyer

Is Assault by Strangulation a Felony?

Yes, Assault by Strangulation is a Class H felony in North Carolina. To get an idea of what a Class H felony is, it’s important to look at the felony sentencing chart below. Class I is the lowest level felony which would be something like felony possession of marijuana. An NC Assault by Strangulation charge is one level above it, as a Class H Felony.

What is the Sentence for Assault by Strangulation in NC?

The sentence for assault by strangulation varies based on a number of factors, but the one factor North Carolina focuses on the most is your prior record level. The North Carolina Sentencing Chart above shows six separate columns. The first one on the left is for first offenders and the last one on the right is for a Level 6 Offender, meaning they have 18+ prior conviction points in North Carolina.

The conviction point system is fairly complicated in North Carolina but for right now for an assault by strangulation case, you can get probation, you can go to jail, and you can be assigned to complete some sort of domestic violence intervention program, if the charge is domestic in nature.

Can I be sent to Jail for Assault By Strangulation in North Carolina?

The quick answer is yes, jail time is possible for pretty much every felony charge in North Carolina. If you look at the Felony Sentencing Chart above, you’ll see that even as a First Offender which would be the first column on the left a person who is facing a Class H felony, would fall into a C, I, A box. Meaning they could get Community Punishment, Intermediate Punishment and Active Punishment.

What this tells us is that even as a first offender you can get active time, meaning jail or prison time, should the judge decide you’re to go to jail. And as go on from there, any record level above a first offender, also faces active time with a Level 6 felony offender facing an A box, meaning if convicted of assault by strangulation in nc, jail or prison time would be mandatory.

What are the elements of Assault by Strangulation in North Carolina?

A Person is Guilty of Assault by Strangulation when they:

  • Commit an Assault
  • On Another and
  • Inflicts Physical Injury
  • By Strangulation

What type of Physical Injury is required for Assault by Strangulation?

The interesting part of this statute is that physical injury is not defined. But in looking at the way it’s applied in court, it would appear it’s something more than just touching someone’s neck or physical contact. There is a case that gives an idea of what physical injury for assault by strangulation in Greensboro, NC is and we’ll look at it here:

State v. Little – 2008 – victim of assault testified that she received cuts and bruises on her neck as a result of being strangled. There was no physical evidence or pictures to support it. Court found this was enough to establish physical injury.

Another place our Criminal Defense Lawyers often look for the way the court system focuses on in on what constitutes a crime, is law enforcement handbooks. Sometimes these handbooks will shed light on how the state views things such as physical injury. For the charge Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, physical injury is defined as cuts, scrapes, bruises or other physical injuries that do not constitute serious physical injuries.

This kind of gives an idea of what they’re looking for, but the important part is you can’t be convicted of assault by strangulation unless they find that you caused physical injury.

What does Strangulation mean?

Very similar to physical injury above, the statute does not define what it means to strangle someone.  In State v. Little, above, the court said strangulation was the act of wrapping one’s hands around another’s throat and applying pressure until the person loses consciousness.

State v. Braxton – gives a far less stringent definition, merely stating that grabbing the victim by the throat, causing her to have difficulty breathing is enough for strangulation. They also found that the state of North Carolina did not have to prove the victim had a complete inability to breathe.

State v. Williams – this case found that putting your foot on someone’s throat trying to choke them out was enough for strangulation.

The North Carolina Pattern Jury Instructions defines strangulation as an form of asphyxia characterized by closure of the blood vessels and/or passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck Brough by hanging, ligature, or the manual assertion of pressure.

Assault by Strangulation Lawyer Guilford County, NC

Can they Reduce Assault by Strangulation to Assault on a Female?

They can’t reduce it to Assault on a Female but they can to Simple Assault. Assault on a Female is not a lesser included charge but Simple Assault it. The reason is all of the elements necessary to prove Simple Assault are included in Assault by Strangulation, however, because a female victim is not necessary for assault by strangulation but is an essential element for assault on a female.

Can you get a Domestic Hold for Felony Assault by Strangulation Charges?

The answer is yes, if the case is domestic. Domestic holds were put in an attempt to prevent revenge attacks from one person to another after a domestic assault takes place. With a Domestic Hold you cannot bond out, and you would need to wait until a First Appearance for a Judge to set the bond. To learn more about Domestic Holds: Domestic Holds Lawyer


According to Weekly Crime Statistics provided by the Greensboro Police department every week; Domestic Violence, Assault on a Female and related charges are up as of February 2023.

Domestic Violence
North Carolina
Offense Against Family


Simple Assault


Aggravated Assault Domestic






Assault by Strangulation charges should be taken seriously and you should seek out the advice of Assault Lawyers who care about you, about your family, about your job, and about making sure you have the best representation possible when it comes to court.

This is why you should contact our  – Guilford County & Randolph County – Greensboro, High Point & Asheboro Lawyers to help with your Domestic Hold.

Call us at (336) 379-0539  to schedule a free, in-depth consultation with our experienced lawyers.

Assault By Strangulation Lawyer Google Reviews:

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