CO Domestic Violence: Strangulation Can Make Your Case Worse

Domestic violence is a crime taken very seriously in Colorado, but even with the seriousness of these crimes, it can get worse – particularly when strangulation is involved.

Unfortunately, strangulation is becoming more common in situations involving domestic abuse in the U.S. and in Colorado, which is why our lawmakers decided to deal decisively with the topic and make cases involving strangulation a lot more serious when it comes to penalties upon conviction.

Here is what you need to know about strangulation in domestic violence cases in Colorado and how it can impact your domestic violence case.

Domestic Violence in Colorado

Under Colorado law, domestic violence often gets charged as domestic assault. Perpetrated against a member of your family or household, it isn’t always simply having physical contact with another person. Domestic assault can also be an act that puts someone in fear of their life – which means simply making threats can land you with a domestic assault charge.

However, strangulation is a bit of a game changer in domestic violence. That’s because it is considered an aggravating factor and can elevate what might be a misdemeanor charge to a felony.

How Does Colorado Define Strangulation?

Under the law, there are two types of strangulation. They are:


Ligature strangulation occurs when something is placed around the neck and tightened, such as a belt, cord, bedding, rope, or even clothing.


Manual strangulation occurs when the perpetrator places one or both of their hands around the victim’s neck. If they use their forearms or kneel on the neck, that is also manual strangulation.

Being charged with domestic assault involving strangulation means the act was perpetrated a member of your family or household. Under Colorado law, that includes:

  • Anyone you are or have been married to
  • Your parents
  • Your children
  • Anyone you are related to by blood
  • Anyone you share a dwelling with
  • Anyone you have dated or are currently dating

Is Strangulation a Felony in Colorado?

In Colorado, strangulation is a felony that can be added to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge. When you intentionally obstruct another’s windpipe or there are marks for law enforcement to see on the neck of the victim, strangulation can be charged.

Of course, police don’t need a witness statement or marks on the neck to think strangulation has occurred. There are others signs they look for.

Petechiae, which is damaged blood vessels, is often seen in the eyes of the victim. However, it’s important to point out that petechiae can be caused by other things.

The bottom line is that you face serious criminal charges if strangulation is involved in the case against you, which is why you must fight back.

How To Defend Yourself

Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

If you are facing domestic assault charges that involve strangulation, you need an experienced attorney to help. While the defense for your case depends on your individual circumstances, there are common defenses used in cases like this. Some of them include:

  • Acting in self-defense against an attack perpetrated by the alleged victim
  • The allegations against you are false
  • The strangulation was an accident and not done intentionally

Your rights matter, so ensure they are upheld by working with a trusted attorney.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.