Assault by Strangulation

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense

Assault by strangulation is a Class H felony in North Carolina. In North Carolina, there are many different types of assault, ranging from low-level misdemeanors to felonies. One type of felonious assault is assault by strangulation, which is governed by N.C.G.S. 14 – 32.4 

What is assault by strangulation? 

Any person who assaults another person and inflicts physical injury by strangulation is guilty of this crime. In order to be found guilty, the state must prove each element of this crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. All people charged with this crime, or any other crime, are innocent until proven guilty. 

Strangulation typically involves “choking” someone, such as wrapping one’s hands around another person’s throat.  


This crime is punished as a Class H felony. In North Carolina, felonies range in severity from Class A (the most serious) to Class I (the least serious). The penalty that a person may receive depends heavily on their prior criminal history and on aggravating factors and mitigating factors. 

 Upon conviction of this crime, the most severe sentence that a person can face is 25 – 39 months in prison. However, for individuals with little criminal history, a sentence that does not involve active jail time is possible. 

How does this crime differ from simple assault or assault on a female? 

The main difference between this crime and simple assault or assault on a female is that this crime specifically involves assaulting someone and inflicting injury by strangulation. Simple assault and assault on a female are both misdemeanors in North Carolina. 

What if there is serious bodily injury? 

If serious bodily injury results, a person will likely be charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury, which is a Class F felony. Assault inflicting serious bodily injury is more serious than assault by strangulation.  

“Serious bodily injury” is defined as bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious permanent disfigurement, coma, a permanent or protracted condition that causes extreme pain, or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or that results in prolonged hospitalization 

If you or a loved one has been charged with an assault crime or another crime in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us to discuss your options. 

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