Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Dupée & Monroe, P.C., Attorneys at Law
Complimentary Consultations Available 845-294-8900
Home / Criminal Defense / Criminal Obstruction of Breathing

Criminal Obstruction of Breathing: New York Defense Lawyer

In New York, there’s a provision in the penal law for a very specific form of assault that involves depriving a person of air. Criminal obstruction of breathing is the criminal choking or strangulation of another person. Police and prosecutors consider choking to be a very serious crime because it carries the potential for severe injury or death. Depending upon the intent of the defendant and the damage caused to the victim, choking or strangulation can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges.

If you have been charged with a strangulation crime in New York, you need assistance from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. From their office in Goshen, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. help people throughout the Hudson Valley and Orange County who have been charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and other serious charges.  If you have been arrested for obstruction of breathing, assault, attempted manslaughter or other serious crimes, call our zealous, veteran defense legal team for advice and representation.

Criminal Obstruction of Breathing

New York Penal Law section 121.11 defines criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation as occurring when a defendant either (a) applies pressure on the throat or neck of another person, or (b) blocks the nose or mouth of another person, with the “intent to impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood” of that person. The base-level crime is a Class A misdemeanor.


The crime of criminal obstruction of breathing is chargeable as a misdemeanor, but it may be charged as a more serious crime when actual harm is done to the victim. Pursuant to the rest of N.Y.P.L. Article 121:

  • Strangulation in the second degree occurs when the defendant commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing and their actions cause “stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment.” Second-degree strangulation is a Class D felony.
  • Strangulation in the first degree occurs when the defendant commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing and their actions cause “serious physical injury” to that person. First-degree strangulation is a Class C felony.
  • Police officers who commit criminal obstruction of breathing or use an unlawful chokehold and cause serious injury or death may be charged with aggravated strangulation, a Class C felony.

Defending Against Criminal Obstruction of Breathing Charges

All levels of criminal obstruction of breathing require the defendant to have choked the victim with the intent to impede the victim’s breathing or blood circulation. That element of intent is often a key defense in reducing or fighting charges of obstruction of breathing. If the defendant simply intended to quiet a person from speaking loudly, for example, or to calm them down, rather than to impede their breathing or cause injury, then the defendant is not guilty of criminal obstruction of breathing. They may, however, still be subject to lesser assault charges. If the defendant was attempting to render medical aid, then they might have an absolute defense to the charges.

A zealous New York defense attorney may also be able to counter the government’s contention that the alleged victim actually suffered physical injury or lost consciousness as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Depending upon the nature of the proof, it might be possible to reduce the charges and avoid the most serious consequences of a felony conviction.

Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about your obstruction of breathing or strangulation charges to discuss how to build your strongest defense.

Tried and True Help Fighting Choking or Strangulation Charges in New York

The lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have decades of experience helping people like you build the strongest defense possible against charges of criminal obstruction of breathing, strangulation, and other violent crimes. If you have been arrested for criminal obstruction of breathing or other violent offenses in Goshen, Orange County, or anywhere in the Hudson Valley region, reach out to Dupée & Monroe, P.C., for advice and representation from a team of talented New York criminal defense attorneys.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn